In November 2018, the Tri-Living Well blog featured Doug Stromberg, IT Supervisor at Tri-County Health Care. Doug suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that causes difficulty breathing. Managing COPD during a pandemic is challenging and shedding light on his experience could help others.
Doug has dealt with respiratory problems for years. He started smoking as a teenager and kept smoking until he was in his thirties. In 2017, things took an intense turn. After a bout of breathing issues, Doug was diagnosed with COPD and had to use a nebulizer.
After problems mounted and Doug’s quality of life dropped, he decided to meet with Bobbi Adams, M.D. Doug was given stronger medication which vastly improved his living situation. The nebulizer is now retired and he was able to return to a relatively normal life.
Where is he now?
Doug still works at Tri-County in the IT department, although his office looks a little different these days. Since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off, Doug has taken refuge in his office bunker at home. People with COPD are considered immune-compromised and Doug takes his health very seriously. He has limited his exposure to others and receives supplies by delivery only. He utilizes masks, face shields, gloves and does everything he can to keep COVID-19 at bay.
“COPD can’t get better; it will only worsen over time. My goal at this point is to do everything I can to slow the progression of the disease. And there are certain strategies for doing just that,” said Doug about the status of his condition. Protecting his respiratory system is paramount during these times. Contracting COVID-19 could easily kill him. Doug continues to use an inhaled steroid twice a day. He still has an inhaler but seldom needs it. This treatment provided by Dr. Adams and the Tri-County staff is still working great.
Advice for others
Doug urges others that suffer from COPD to make lifestyle changes. Stop smoking is his main advice. Working with a health care provider is also important. The provider will prescribe medication and develop a plan for managing the disease. Doug found Dr. Adams at Tri-County Health Care and it changed his life for the better.
Managing COPD during a pandemic causes unique problems. COVID-19 directly affects the lungs and can be fatal if combined with COPD. If you suffer from COPD and need a consultation, please contact Tri-County Health Care at 218-631-3510.
About Doug: Doug Stromberg works in the IT department at Tri-County Health Care. He is a longtime Wadena resident and a graduate of Wadena-Deer Creek schools. Doug has worked in technology for over 40 years. His background includes work in the telephone industry, cable television, radio broadcast engineering and many years as an instructor at Wadena Technical College (now M State). Prior to coming to work at TCHC, Doug operated a technical services company in partnership with his son, Mike. Doug is married to Jeannie and has two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. His interests include his lake cabin and following Minnesota sports.