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Dad First, COPD Second
Dad First, COPD Second

Elizabeth provides support, insight and guidance for caregivers.

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Is My Father Getting Enough Oxygen to His Brain?

Alfajores -- chocolate covered caramel cookies. Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.comI don’t know if it’s old age or the effects of COPD - or both - but lately, my father seems less and less…with it, for lack of a better term.

In our culture, we have a term, boludo, which is the English equivalent of being aloof. Okay, I’m being nice about it. In my family, we use it a lot but in a fun, positive way. It is not a hurtful term. In fact, we call ourselves that all the time. In a way, it’s how I can best describe my father as he ages and his COPD progresses.

Some time ago, my mother noted, “Your father must have less oxygen reaching his brain. It’s got to be – that’s why he doesn’t process things as quickly as he used to.”

I’ve since described it as another condition: boluditis.

My father realizes it himself. He knows he asks us to repeat what we’ve said and that it takes him a minute or two to process our chat. My favorite is when he misunderstands and comes out with one of his originals, like when I say “I’m going out on the balcony” and he questions, “This one?” Of course, dad. I’m not going out on the neighbor’s balcony. I try to console him by telling him how lucky he is that mom’s cousins don’t live in the U.S. because they would simply be merciless.

On the other hand, my father surprises me.

If I mention “kitchen,” “food,” or “cookies” – never mind saying “cigarettes” – then he is all ears and his antennas are receptively tuned in, 100%.


Just recently, some Argentine treats like dulce de leche and alfajores (cookies) mysteriously made their way home. Okay, I caved in at the market and bought them. I gave some to my father who shares with mom. Because my father is a Hungry Man, I need to hide the goodies; otherwise, Mickey Mouse will leave Minnie and family without any.

Yet, like clockwork, my father asks for the treats following dinner. He hasn’t forgotten. No, in fact, I find him snooping in the fridge, in cabinets, in pans; anywhere he thinks his smart daughter will hide them.

At least his snooping skills let me know that some oxygen – perhaps the right amount – is conveniently reaching his brain. He doesn’t know which balcony I step onto, but he knows there are delicious snacks awaiting him.

Follow Elizabeth's story on Twitter: @Lizunga.





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About the Author

Elizabeth cares for her mother, a diabetic, and for her father, who suffers from COPD.