I'm not judging anyone by saying that I don't let anyone dictate to me about my wearabouts.
I'm sorry to hear about your immune system. COPD is also immune-compromising.
I don't travel during flu season and this is it. Damp & cold is not my cup of tea. With your history, I would be careful about traveling at all.
Tom & Diane, why not go to California to see the ocean? If you go down to I-10 the across the bottom of the Rockies, there's no altitude to speak of there. And at the ocean in California, you'd be at sea level.
Does your doctor think there are more germs at altitude or something? Heck, one of the finest copd hospitals is at 5000 feet in Denver.
I'm sorry but I, too, have copd (35% FEV1 AFTER my LVRS) and I sure as heck would talk very seriously to my doctor who told me that I couldn't go where I wanted and I would most definitely get some answers. The germs aren't any more at altitude than they are in Iowa; O2 can be supplemented with an increase in liter flow. I'd want some definite answers on why she said no. There's too much to see out here in these beautiful states to just sit in Iowa...although our first year on the road, we stayed in a lovely COE park in Onawa.
It's not the germs that you should worry when traveling to high altitude locations. If you have COPD then there is a risk involved if you are in higher elevation, but that differs on case-by-case basis. Some people have COPD and doesn't even know they have it, some people have advanced COPD that they needed Oxygen supplement 24/7. If you have trouble breathing at sea level, then certainly you will have more trouble breathing in higher elevation due to lower barometric pressure, and that can be fatal especially if you have cardiac complications. It's not just your lungs trying to adapt to these changes but your heart,kidneys and haematological system also tries to compensate for this changes. People with COPD living at higher elevation that has adjusted to thinner air may likely benefit if they live at sea level, but there is too many factors involved to really know if the later will benefit you, like pollution, allergen in the environment etc.
Get a second opinion if you have doubts with your doctor recommendations. Good luck.