A Propeller user talks about living with COPD during coronavirus (and shares a favorite recipe)

As a COPD patient and patient advocate, the current COVID-19 pandemic brings to mind so many thoughts and tips for fellow patients, as well as hope for us all.

My initial thought, a few weeks ago, was “Well, welcome to my world.” The COPD patient has always had to be cautious and protect against respiratory infections. It’s how we live. Now, the entire world is having to do the same. Then, I realized that this was an incredibly selfish thought. Why would I want to “welcome” anyone to this type of life? So, it became a moment of teaching and sharing! Here are some tips to help us get through this most unusual time — tips for all of us, not just those with respiratory issues such as COPD:

  • Stay home. Just stay home whenever possible. I am finding it a good time to catch up on the many “to-do’s” that keep getting put on the back burner. It’s a great time to work on a hobby. For myself, I like to cook and have made a wonderful Chocolate Ganache Tart (recipe below!), a loaf of Amish Sweet Bread, a new recipe for Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and some Coconut Shrimp. It also was the perfect occasion to clean out the freezer (you do not want to know what all was found).
  • Arrange in advance (now) for friends/family to be able to run errands for you should it become necessary. While you don’t want to put others at risk, it may be safer for them than for you. Nonetheless, it is a conversation best had now and not later.
  • When possible, order refills of medications you may be taking, especially inhaled medications. Many pharmacies allow you to get a three month supply of your prescriptions. Check on your levels of other needed supplies. Don’t buy the shelves bare, but do have enough for a month or so. The supply chain is still working. Toilet paper is still being manufactured.
  • Stay active!! You can still go for walks, take the dog out, get some fresh air. Do so only when not in densely populated areas and be sure to maintain distance from others that are hopefully outdoors doing the same. This “sheltering in place” should surely not be taken as a directive to just sit on the couch and watch every single rerun of I Love Lucy (although, I do love Lucy). This is especially directed at those of us with respiratory diseases. Inactivity is a slippery slope, indeed, “The Less We Do, The Less We Are Able To Do.” No treadmill? Then walk in place if you can’t or shouldn’t go outside. There are also many online pulmonary exercise options that are currently being provided at no cost in order to help us through this!!
  • Practice “physical distancing.” I personally do not like the phrase “social distancing.” We need to be social, we need each other now more than ever! We simply need to be physically apart. But we must be social to maintain our sanity. Be a friend! Maybe this is a good time to actually make a phone call to that old buddy or friend that you had been thinking about. Don’t text, call them! Reconnect. Be social. You can take the lead and make this first step. I did, and it was so fun reconnecting and sharing memories.
  • Consider practicing mindful awareness, meditation, yoga, or getting lost in a good book. Whether you like it or not, you certainly now have the time to do just that.
  • Keep somewhat of a schedule, lest you get lost in the day and wind up accomplishing nothing. Have set meal times. Set aside times to read, meditate or just relax. Hold yourself accountable for getting your daily goals accomplished so as not to fritter away the day. Even for those of us that already are homebound due to our COPD or other respiratory condition, this can be an awakening. Do we really make the best use of our time? For myself, I have learned a lot and changed my pattern. I get more done, yet I somehow seem to have more “me” time.
  • Get and/or stay involved with peer support groups on social media. You need the ongoing support as well as the other members are needing you as well. They worry about you and welcome your participation. You count, so be present for them.

Mostly, take this health threat seriously. It is real, it is here, it is not ending quickly. Most importantly, don’t panic. We can get through this, but it will take all of us working together. Regardless of your political persuasion, let’s not be baited into arguments on Facebook or other social media platforms. Both sides of the aisle mean well. Urge them to work together. No arguments have ever been won on Facebook and they never will. Please trust only reliable online sources, not “something you heard.”

If you’re a Propeller user, or someone with asthma or COPD, tell us what your life has been like during the coronavirus outbreak


John’s Chocolate Ganache Tart 


For the gluten-free crust:

2 ½ cups walnuts and pecans

⅓ cup sugar

¾ tsp salt

¼ cup butter, melted


For the ganache filling:

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups heavy cream

6 Tbs butter, diced and softened

Fine sea salt



Step 1: Prepare the pan

Lightly butter a 9” to 12” tart pan with a removable bottom. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit and place it on the bottom. 

Step 2: Make the crust

Pulse the nuts in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add the sugar and salt and pulse until mixed in. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the melted butter and blend until it clumps together and has a gritty texture. Place the nut mixture into the tart pan. Using your fingers, evenly press into a firm crust going part way up the sides. 

Step 3: Make the filling

Place the chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside. Place the heavy cream in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and heat slowly over medium low heat. As soon as the cream begins to simmer around the edges, carefully pour it over the chocolate and let sit for 4 to 5 minutes undisturbed. Once the chocolate has been allowed to sit with the heated cream, add the butter to the chocolate cream mixture and blend with a rubber spatula until glossy. Pour in to the prepared crust and chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle with ½ to 1 tsp of fine sea salt.