British Lung Foundation
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Any suggestions?

Just been reading "what strangers expect" blog and wondered if anyone has any good retorts for strangers and the comments they give me.

Basically I have limited voice due to COPD and coughing. I sound ok to MY ears but other people think I am whispering or have a really bad cold! As part of my job I have to speak to people on the phone and am often told I sound terrible; shouldn't be at work; whats wrong with you and so on. I just never know what to say but get fed up with comments!! Sometimes I say "I have severe asthma" but other times I just don't know what to say. People can be so insensitive yet I have to say when I am using my mobility scooter I tend not to get comments. Although some people look straight at me and then proceed to walk in front of me! Some people are strange.LOL.

Any suggestions about what I could say - both serious and comical gratefully received!



12 Replies

Bevvy, I can really relate. As I said before, I look fine. No oxygen or mobility scooter (yet), thank goodness.

I know how I struggle sometimes. I do try to hide it. I work for myself, so can't let everyone know what I have as they will make judgements and I won't get work.

So, when I have problems, I blame it on asthma.

My inhalers make my voice croaky (I prefer to think sexy) but I do have to speak a lot in my work. Sometimes with a microphone to up to a couple of hundred people.

I just say my throat is dry.

Sometimes I hate doing the lying, but mostly I think of it as self preservation. I am NOT going to be judged by my illness, but by who I am.

Lynne xx


Hi Bevvy , I have a problem with my voice which has been improved greatly with the use of Nasonex steroid drops prescribe by the the Doctor.

I can now read and sing to my grandchildren which is great :-)


Personal favourite is the American "if it ever becomes any of your business then I will let you know" a real conversation killer that leaves no room for doubt in the meaning.


An opportunity to educate and inform the numbers in the general public that have heard of COPD is amazingly low with more familiar with bronchitis and emphysema if they know of any condition. A genuine question given an honest answer can improve understanding amd remove the ignorance that often lies behind prejudice.


I used say that "some people call my voice sexy and I keep practising to see if it works." if any commented on my huskiness or "Oh my voice is this way because no one listens to me so I have to shout" and "it cost a lot of money to get this voice"

Now I am retired I find it very useful to get rid of cold callers because I can always say sorry I am not well today!

I am sure others will come up with some more suitable put downs for you to use




I am on portable oxygen and have occasionally had comments about walking slowly, my retort is usually along the lines of 'I may be on oxygen but I'm not gas powered '. Then continue on my slow but steady way. Take care, Richard


My husband is exactly the same as you, when I am in the kitchen making a meal, I take it into him and he says, I have been calling you for ages. Because I couldn't hear him he gets really angry with me and says 'I was shouting at the top of my voice'. The silly thing is, when he is talking normally, he is whispering, but if he breaks into song, for no reason whatsoever, I may add, his singing voice is extremely loud and powerful, so why does he whisper when he talks and shouts when he sings. He says he is talking loud so he must sound different to himself through his own ears. If the television is on and he starts to talk to me I can't hear him and as I say, he gets really angry with me and tells me to get my ears syringed. He does not work so has only me to talk to so doesn't have anyone else making comments. I have told him to sing if he wants me (like someone in an opera) then I can hear him. I even bought him a bell to ring if he wants me urgently, but he said he wasn't going to use it and asked where he should put it, I told him in no uncertain terms.


Good to see you on here again sweetthing. Hope you are keeping well or as well as you can be anyway. Take care. xxx


Thank you, it is good to be back, it makes me feel so much better knowing I am not alone in this.


Pete's voice is often croaky and hoarse sounding but nobody really seems to comment. I think his cheerful disposition means that he can get away with anything and he makes people smile (at him or with him I have no idea!) I agree with jandan so you could use her comments and just let people draw their own conclusions. Stay well and take care. xxxxx


Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

Hope I can use some of them at appropriate times and not just get tongue tied!!!


As said elsewhere recently, lung conditions are not 'visible', so when I get asked why I'm parking in a blue badge space or being told I shouldn't be using 'someone elses' badge, I just quote a sticker I saw on someone's car once...

"I may not look disabled, but you don't look stupid either".

Works every time!!!!


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