They put my shortness of breath to my asthma. Every time I was short of breath, I’d take my inhaler, but it never came right until I came on this programme.
Last year 84 year old Kath didn’t expect to make it to Christmas. Kath was diagnosed with COPD and was recommended to go on the Whaimua Respiratory Programme.
“I’d been coughing for about three or four months – it was awful. It got so bad. When I first came, I didn’t think they’d welcome me because I wasn’t Māori. But I can’t tell you how lovely it is to come to this place for treatment.
They’re all very friendly and lovely and made me feel so much better. I tried different puffers and I’ve improved so much. I got so much from it, I feel stronger. I’m so glad I did it because I thought I was dying. I wasn’t making plans for Christmas. I thought I’d be dead by then.
I will keep making plans – unless I have a heart attack, which I won’t” Kath jokes.
“I live on a farm in a country area so there’s not many people around to talk to, and it creates a sense of isolation.
I found the programme really uplifting and helpful. I felt comfortable because I was with people who had similar health issues and it was an atmosphere where I felt I could belong”.
In 2001, she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after smoking for 40 years. She was prescribed a myriad of medication but would ultimately end up in hospital.
“I have to be very careful,” she says. “I have severe breathing so can’t walk very far. I can’t afford to get colds or flus because my lungs exacerbate”
Mere was told by her doctor that they have taken her as far as they can medically.
“COPD is a bugger of a thing to have. The first time I went into hospital with COPD, I ended up in ICU. They thought I was going to pass away. I was around 50 years old at the time and I’d been smoking since I was 12. There’s nothing else they can do for me now.
“But this is where Whaimua has come in. Exercise is the most important thing for anyone with COPD. It helps you breathe because it gets oxygen into the blood. That’s what’s keeping you alive basically.
I can’t stress enough, if it wasn’t for me being in Whaimua, I wouldn’t be here today. That’s the bottom line.