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How Do You Know When You Are in a COPD Crisis?

Updated on April 21, 2017
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Barbara worked at Thomas Hospital Home Health and is certified for home health from ANCC. She received her MSN from Mobile University, Ala.

What Causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a respiratory disease process that is actually the result of both chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema. The damage to the lungs is the result of repeated episodes of infection and respiratory distress, both of which result in scarring of the alveoli in the lungs.

The lungs look like an upside-down tree with the main trunk, the bronchial tubes, that split to form the right and left lung. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two. The heart takes up a lot of space in the left side, which is why the right lobe has a middle lobe, and the left lung does not. Each lobe of both lungs contain tiny air sacs, or alveoli. In a normal lung, these little sacs are elastic; they expand and constrict with every breath.

However, with the disease process of COPD the air sacs lose their elasticity, and they can barely open or close. The walls of the lobes become thick and inflamed, and the lungs fill with thick fluid and mucus. Sometimes this leads to severe respiratory distress, and sometimes the person can function fairly well. However, once diagnosed with COPD, the disease process progresses and worsens gradually over time.

COPD is caused by irritation and inflammation in the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of COPD, and unfortunately, it is often diagnosed years after the person has stopped smoking. Many times this can be traced back to the amount of cigarette smoke that person inhaled over their lifetime.

People who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also at risk of contracting COPD. Pipe and cigar smokers are at risk, as well.

Although many improvements to the workplace have been set in place in the last several decades, thanks to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), exposure to workplace lung irritants are also a risk factor in the causes of COPD.

There is only one form of genetic COPD, and that is a rare condition diagnosed at birth called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Alpha 1 is a protein found in the liver and it is felt that the lack of this protein may play a part in children who are born with COPD. However, the majority of patients diagnosed with COPD are current smokers—or were smokers at an earlier point in their lives.

Healthy versus Unhealthy Alveoli courtesy of The National Institute of Health
Healthy versus Unhealthy Alveoli courtesy of The National Institute of Health

What Are the Signs of COPD?

COPD is diagnosed by the persons medical history, the physicians assessments, consults with pulmonologists, chest x-rays, spirometry, arterial blood gases, pulse oximetry. Signs and symptoms of COPD include chronic productive cough with sputum that is usually white and frothy and is often called a "smokers cough" and shortness of breath with exercise. Exercise is misleading as exercise for a person with COPD may consist of getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom. If this causes shortness of breath, tight feeling inside the chest, extreme coughing fit lasting nearly two minutes and wheezing, your physician needs to see you.

If, along with any of the above signs and symptoms the persons also has swelling of the legs or difficulty breathing in the middle of the night (or whenever asleep laying flat on the bavck) or if increased urination occurs at night, this is another reason the person must see the physician. Sometimes COPD is not alone. Sometimes the person with COPD also has Congestive Heart Failure and the above are a few warning signs of CHF.

Persons with COPD may have these signs all at once or just one sign now and then, such as with a rise in the barometric pressure, increase of summer temperature, or with heavy pollen count such as in the fall and the spring of the year. Some persons with COPD are not as affected by outside forces as others, some persons may show these same signs and not have COPD at all! That is why consulting with your physician is so important. Only your physician can properly diagnose, refer you to appropriate physicians and monitor your medical care. It is extremely detrimental to your health to attempt to treat yourself.

How Is COPD treated?

Your primary physician will be the one to oversee your care, however, many times the person will be closely followed by a pulmonologist, who is a specialist on all lung disease processes and can make sure the person is receiving the best treatment of choice. Most of the time, depending on the severity and if there is an acute infection involved, the treatment involves inhalers and oxygen that may or may not be used daily or only as needed.

Some medications that a person with COPD may have to take on a regular basis include:

  • Bronchodilators - These are also called "puffers" and are in a small aerosol can that fits in the palm of your hand. The person receives the medication, such as albuterol or pulmocort, or both by placing the mouthpiece in their mouth, closing their lips tightly around the mouthpiece, exhaling a deep breath through their nose then depressing the chamber of the small aerosol can and breathing the misted medication in through their mouth at the same time.
  • Inhalers are not uncommon, many children with asthma are in charge of their own 'puffers' but often the person who deals with COPD on a chronic day to day basis makes the error of not using their inhaler exactly as it should be handled. This results in the person not receiving a full dose of their medication and before it is time for the next dose the person is already reaching for their inhaler again. Eventually, this creates an imbalance in the lungs and can lead to some problems such as increased shortness of breath.
  • Oxygen - Often the person with COPD will not have to remain on oxygen at all times. Oxygen, used correctly, can often assist with the relief of both shortness of breath and of the anxiety that often accompanies it. However, used incorrectly, oxygen can lead to increased carbon dioxide in the blood which then causes mental status changes, chest pain, irregular heart rate which left untreated can be fatal. An important thing to remember is to follow your physicians orders about the amount of oxygen to use. For example, if your oxygen is supposed to be 2 liters per minute by nasal cannula and you are using an oxygen concentrator then the little black ball of your O2 concentrator needs to float exactly in the middle of the line for 2 liters, not above it, certainly never more than that for an extended period of time.
  • Sometimes a person with COPD has to take steroids by mouth (an example of a steroid medication is prednisone) and this medication must be taken exactly as the physician orders it. The use of prednisone or other corticosteroid medication is a very effective way of relieving the feelings of inflammation and irritation of the lung fields.
  • Sometimes, because persons with COPD are prone to infections, the person is treated with antibiotics.The most important thing to remember about antibiotics is to take them exactly as the physician orders. Taking antibiotics until you feel better or stopping because they make your stomach hurt is not acceptable. The cause of resistant infections, such as methicillin resistant staphylcoccus aureous is because bacteria have become accustomed to being killed only a little bit, never completely eradicated. The bacteria grows back and it grows back smarter than the humans who created the antibiotic! Now the bacteria know what will kill them so they build up a wall to that antibiotic. The researchers develop stronger, more powerful antibiotics, we get sick, we take them until we feel better, not for the whole course and the whole thing starts all over again. And for all you healthy people out there giving yourself a pat on the back for not being a part of this? You do not get off the hook so easily. Bacteria doesn't care who did or did not cause them to become smart bacteria! They will come after all of us, its really just waiting for a juicy infection to come along!
  • So please, take every last pill if your physician writes a prescription for antibiotics!
  • Of course, know what side effects may occur with all of your medications and it goes without saying if any side effects do occur, please stop that medication and call your physicians office and or seek assistance from your local urgent care of emergency room as soon as possible.

Will I always need medicine and oxygen?

COPD is a chronic disease process. This means it will never go away and will likely become more severe over time. However, it does wax and wane. In other words, some days will be much better than others. The ways to manage COPD are simple.

  • Follow all of your physicians orders for medications, exercise, hygiene and diet. "Exercise" you ask? Yes, as strange as it sounds, it may actually help. Of course, you must use common sense; no fair walking when the smog or pollen count is sky high, no fair walking when the temperature is extremely cold or hot and absolutely no fair overdoing it! Do NOT compete with younger people! Let them pass right by on the YMCA gym balcony walkway. Walking will help with your lung capacity as long as you can do it without damaging your already damaged lungs.
  • The worst thing anyone with COPD can do is just go from bed to chair and that is it. That raises that person's risk of infection and decreases their quality of life. As long as possible, keep on your feet and keep on a schedule. There will eventually come a time when the person with COPD will not be able to manage any of their basic day to day activities without total assist but for as long as possible, stay independent and as healthy as possible.
  • Do not smoke or allow anyone around you to smoke.

That said, remember that a person with COPD must not challenge or compete with his or her own body! Exercise must be done in short, frequent intervals. Exercise and diet both must be done alternately. A person with COPD burns calories much faster than other people because it takes more calories just to breathe. Therefore, short, frequent meals and short, frequent bouts of energy.

Makes sense. Eat, walk, rest, eat, walk, and so on.

Here is another thing that may help:

Please try to take just a small step, not literally, but figuratively. Start with deep breathing. Take a shallow breath and Aim that breath to your deep belly. Now let that breath out but do it really slow! And pucker up when you exhale. Make the exhalation last longer than the time it took you to inhale.

Sounds funny doesn't it? Now on your second breath take a slightly bigger breath in through your nose and this time aim that breath towards your diaphragm, between your deep belly and your lungs. Now exhale same way, taking a longer time to exhale and do it through your puckered lips

Pretend you are a goldfish!

Now third breath in through your nose and this time aim that breath to your lungs and you can inhale longer this time if you like. Let it out same way really slowly. Through your puckered up lips.

There.

Your just did one deep breathing exercise and you did it laying down. Keep on doing these exercises, oh say just a bit to start; whatever you feel comfortable doing. If it's just once a day to start, hey, you started. The more you do the better you will feel, is what I am betting on.

Let me know what you think and of course, tell your doctor I said to try deep breathing exercises to see if that will make you feel better and improve your lung function.

spirometry test photo courtesy of The National Institute of Health
spirometry test photo courtesy of The National Institute of Health

When do I know if I should call my physician?

You must learn your own bodies "yell" for help. Your body will tell you, if you listen to the signals your body gives you. The problem with COPD is it involves oxygen. Not the oxygen in the O2 concentrator but rather the oxygen in your bloodstream! When you are in the midst of a COPD crisis, that oxygen level drops. Without adequate oxygen in your bloodstream your brain will not be as "quick on its feet" so to speak and you will get fuzzy headed and not even realize it.

I think everyone has this little red button inside their brain. If everything is fine and kosher, it just sits there, but if something starts to "not feel right" that red button starts to throb, then glow then finally its going off like a fire engines siren and bursting out with strobing red lights all through your brain! Pay attention to that little red button. It is hard to turn off if you let it go too long.

Signs that say "Call your Doctor" are as follows:

  • Increased shortness of breath and anxiety
  • Change in the color and or consistency of sputum
  • Unrelieved coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Tightness of chest and or painful respiration's
  • Coughing up blood
  • Increased temperature. This is because a person with COPD usually runs a lower temperature than the rest of the population. So if a COPD person has a temp of 99 F this is a low grade temp and could mean an infection

Some things that are worth posting on your refrigerator are:

  • Emergency contact numbers, such as family or friends.
  • Physicians names and numbers, including what type they are such as "family practice" or "pulmonologists."
  • Current list of ALL of your medications even the ones you take that are over the counter and or vitamins.
  • Ambulance services if you have one or the number of the local ambulance service. However, remember the number to 911 is still 911.

Consult Your Physician

What is written here does not now nor does it ever take the place of your physician’s advice and services of your physician.

Consult your physician every time for all things medically related and of course, if you feel you have any of the signs or symptoms of what has been written in this article, please contact your physician for a consultation as soon as possible.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Do you have or know someone who has COPD?

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Types of Metered Dose Inhalers

(click column header to sort results)
Names   
Types   
Side Effects   
Pulmicort 
long acting Inhaled Corticosteroid 
Redness and burning on inside of mouth and gums. Always rinse and spit, do not swallow after using these types of inhalers. Cannister may not be refilled. 
Albuterol 
Short acting bronchodilator (selective beta 2 adrenergic agonist)
dry cough, headache, gastric distress and rapid heartbeat 
Spiriva 
Anticholinergic bronchodilator in Dry Powder Inhaler 
Only used daily! Can cause urinary retention and urinary tract infections.
Serevent
Long acting selective beta 2 adrenergic bronchodilator
Not to be used as a rescue inhaler! But sometimes used as prevention of bronchospasm just before planned exercise Side effects include palpiutations, nervousness, shakiness, anxiety
Ipratropium
Anticholinergic bronchodilator Long acting
Often given together with albuterol in both inhaler and nebulizer form
Flovent
Long Acting Inhaled Corticosteroid
infections, long term damage to eyes, pancreas, immune system
Advair Diskus
Combination Selective Long Acting beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist with Long Acting Inhaled Corticosteroid
Do Not Take as needed for shortness of breath! Use Albuterol rescue inhalers for SOB Side effects include headache, dry mouth, cataracts
Combivent
Combination Long Acting Anticholinergic bronchoconstictor (ipratropium) with beta-2 adrenergic bronchodilator (albuterol)
This is albuterol and ipratropium together, hence the "combi" in the name of this inhaler. Side effects are headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, cough, gastric distress 

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    • profile image

      Julian 3 weeks ago

      I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2012 at the age of 63. I had been a heavy smoker, my symptoms started out with dry cough and shortness of breath, i ended up in the hospital, on a ventilator. I should have known it was coming, but like most smokers, thought it would never happen to me. My COPD got significantly worse and unbearable because of my difficulty catching breath. Last year, i started on a natural COPD Herbal therapy from NewLife Herbal Clinic, i read a lot of positive reviews from patients who used the treatment and i immediately started on it. I had great relief with this herbal treatment. I breath very much better now, no case of shortness of breath or chest tightness since treatment. Visit NewLife Herbal Clinic website ww w. newlifeherbalclinic. com. This COPD treatment is a miracle!!

    • profile image

      Tamra 2 months ago

      Had an attack the other day. Have had copd for about 5 years. Had trouble taking a deep breath. Had severe neck, shoulder, and back pain. Pressure in my head. Went to the er and was diagnosed with muscle strain witch i know cant be. He w dod not even address my breathing issue until I made him. Still do not know what it was. Lasted 4 days and went away. Now am left very week.

    • profile image

      Alice Whitfield 4 months ago

      I'm 50yr and very active since working 2 jobs,gym,dancing,and physical activities.Never Smoke either...At first doctors stated chronic asthma/ bronchitis and hospitalized for infections throughout years...Place on so many varies (inhalers, steroids in antibiotics )...The older age need monitor my oxygen level was diagnosed with bronchiectasis with COPD .....Again I'm Never Smoke and Stay Positive Mind

    • profile image

      Bob 5 months ago

      I was just diagnosed​ with COPD. After spending five days in the hospital. I wasn't coughing or hacking up phlegm at all. I get home and take a well deserved nap. Sleep interuptus every three hours in the hospital. I wake up from my nap and it's an awful feeling. I'm hacking and coughing and there's absolutely nothing given me that will reduce the phlegm​ or hacking. I've done all that was req

    • profile image

      Tracie Herrera 8 months ago

      Thank you for information on copd my mom has it so it's nice to be able to read and educate myself so thank you

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      Barbara Bethard 9 months ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello Margaret, I would suggest making sure the nasal cannula is well placed in your moms nostrils. At 6L of O2 theres guite a bit of air coming out of the tubing so it might be causing her eyes to water. 6litre of oxygen is also pretty high for COPD...but the tubing for your moms house might be really long/which sometimes makes it necessary for the flow of O2 to be higher. If that is Not the case though I would strongly suggest you make Sure your moms physician has ordered that amount of O2/its tempting for persons with COPD to want to increase their oxygen flow per minute, not being able to breathe a full deep breath is scary! but increasing the oxygen flow from say 2L to 6L on their own can create a potentially dangerous situation. Thank you for reading and commenting I hope this is helpful/barbarab

    • profile image

      margaret wood 9 months ago

      My mom has COPD and CHF,she's on 6 ltrs of oxygen, her eyes continually water?

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 17 months ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello Moe!

      Please try to take just a small step, not literally, but figuratively. Start with deep breathing. Take a shallow breath and Aim that breath to your deep belly.

      Now let that breath out but do it really slow! And pucker up when you exhale. Make the exhalation last longer than the time it took you to inhale:

      Sounds funny doesn't it? Now on your second breath take a slightly bigger breath in through your nose and this time aim that breath towards your diaphragm, between your deep belly and your lungs. Now exhale same way, taking a longer time to exhale and do it through your puckered lips

      Pretend your are a goldfish!

      Now third breath in through your nose and this time aim that breath to your lungs and you can inhale longer this time if you like. Let it out same way really slowly!! Through your puckered up lips

      There.

      Your just did one deep breathing exercise and you did it laying down! Keep on doing these exercises, oh say just a bit to start, whatever you feel comfortable doing, if its just once a day to start hey you started! The more you do the better you will feel is what I am betting on!

      Let me know what you think and of course, tell your doctor I said to try deep breathing exercises to see if that will make you feel better and improve your lung function!

      You are in my heart and prayers Moe!

    • profile image

      Moe 17 months ago

      I have COPD and am all the treatment they can give me. It's severe and I have good days and bad, but mostly bad. Lately, I don't even want to get out of bed. And of course, I'm becoming weaker. I get out of breath just going to the bathroom or kitchen or taking a shower. I cannot do any physical work at all. I'm on anti depressant but I'm still very depressed because I can't do the things that need done around the house or things I want to do. I don't know why God just doesn't take me now as this is no life to live. Any suggestions?

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      Barbara Bethard 2 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello BJ

      My condolences on the passing of your father. Hard to say goodbye even when we know the loved one is happier and when we know we will see that person again. Thank you for your kind words and you are very welcome. Barbara B

    • profile image

      BJ 2 years ago

      Hey RNMSN, We had a back and froth a few years back about more dad who's health was falling as a result of very progressed COPD.

      I just wanted to come back and again thank you for your advice and help with that and to let you know that he passed away a couple days ago due to pneumonia compounded by his COPD and other health issues.

      He was on a list for a lung transplant that was never able to be completed because of his emphysema. Again, thank you for what you do here.

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      Barbara Bethard 2 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello Mrs Maurizi. There are a lot of sites on the internet that can help you with this question. If you look online for answers course reliable sources (or a source such as here on HubPages, where the info is trustworthy) and Mayo Clinic site, the national institute of health and of course the American lung asssociation the excellent source of information. Check these articles out and let me know what you think. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd...

      and

      http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/copd/resources/fa...

      But of course the first stop for the most accurate information about your spouse will come from his physician first and foremost as hopefully that MD will know the most about your spouse. I wish you both the best. Barbara B

    • profile image

      mrsmaurizi 2 years ago

      My husband is 72 yrs old and was just told he is in stage 4 COPD. He still smokes, coughs all the time and has trouble sleeping. The doctor just did a sleep study and we are waiting on results. No oxygen yet. What should I realistically expect down the road here as his caretaker?

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 2 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I am sorry to hear about your sister/the risks she is taking with crack far surpasses any other risk to her health/perhaps when your sister is ready she will accept treatment for that addiction/until that time however the physicians are best able to tell your sister about the risks she is taking from any smoke when she has COPD

    • profile image

      worried sister 21 2 years ago

      My sister was diagnosed with Copd.She passed out on christmad eve.She was hospitalized so her doctor told her she needs to go to a rehab but she declined.I don't think she realizes the severity of her sickness.But what om most worried about it that she's still smoking but not just cigarettes she's also smoking cra.Please tell me what could happen with her doing both and suffering with copd

    • profile image

      worried sister 21 2 years ago

      My sister was diagnosed with copd about 4 years ago and recently was hospitalized becaise of problems breathing. She's still smoking and out running the streets. Not only does she smoke cigarettes she also smokes. Crack cocaine. She just dnt get it that she needs to stop.Her children are worried but she just wants to do what she wants to do.Please explain the damaged that can occur from her continuing to smoke both

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 2 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello Lynell, I apologize for the late response

      No I don't it is possible to cough up a Lung, literally, but persons with COPD do have a very heavy productive cough. The mass you describe probably was thick sputum with blood, mucus and secretions. If it had blood in it then by the time you saw it a lot of clotting had already occurred. The secretions your sister coughed up probably was thinner and may come from more than one cough. If its hard for a person to breathe, all they want to do is sit and try to breathe. I would suspect your sister had a favourite chair and next to it would be the trashcan you found. She may have had collected a lot of tissue and sputum in that little can over time. My condolences on the death of your sister. It is hard to say 'Goodbye sis, wait for me' even when you know she is in that big circle and one day you will be there too, isn't it.

    • profile image

      Lynell 2 years ago

      My sister died of copd a year ago I was wondering she had it bad later I was cleaning up where she sat and looked in her trash can and tere was a mass of red looked like guts could that have been her lungs cause they were bad. Could some one explain this to me please?

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 3 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Excellent article on COPD. The table on inhalers and side effects is very informative. Voted Thumbs up and Useful; thanks for sharing this.

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 3 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you or your comment. What do you mean by

      "vary your anchors?

    • profile image

      Nebulizer 3 years ago

      This is a great article. I’ve read in many other places before that but

      I did not get this type of effective and more useful text. It is really important now to

      vary your anchors as this seems more natural to user.

      This article helped me a lot to understand information.

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Good Morning Rose

      I am sorry this is happening to you at such a young age.

      COPD is very serious. You must continue to see your doctor as often as it takes to get your condition to a manageable state.

    • profile image

      rose 4 years ago

      hi I am 31 and have chronic copd is it normal or is it serious when I have to see the doctor every 2 weeks am real sick nowadays hard to breathe so wondering if my condition is more serious then what I thought

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

      oh thank you sniper spy review :)

      oh dear NOOOOO Pressure!!! :)

      now what shall I write about next? let me know what you would like to hear and I will do all the work :)

    • profile image

      SniperSpy Review 4 years ago

      Long time fan and this is my first time posting. I can’t really think of what to say other than that your blog is very insightful and im always looking forward to your new content.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello Mark,

      I hope you are gathering as much information as you can hold for what to tell your cardiologist

      for instance, arm yourself with the signs of CHF episode such as waking at night short of breath, increased urination at night and feeling so increaed anxiety...lots of times these signs appear before the weight gain itself

      Of course, be diligent about weighing yourelf every AM, before you have breakfast, and notify your cardiologist' nurse immediately!! if you gain 3 lbs in one day or 5 pounds over the course of a week...very little room for error there...just 3-5 pounds! tell your MD if any of that occurs.

      My best to you,

      barbara

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      Mark 5 years ago

      I just recently went in er for swelling of feet and ankles shortness if breath. I was diagnosed with Congestive heart failure right side. my lung capacity is 36 %.

    • RNMSN profile image
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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      hello lindie,

      Keep seeing your doctors and I hope you get relief soon,it is uncommmon for COPD to affect someone as young as 29,though of course,I am only a nurse,it is your doctors that have a greater knowledge of all that is happening to you

    • profile image

      lindie 5 years ago

      I have not been diagnosed yet, been to dr after dr for 4years now. My symptoms include- constand burning lungs, broncgiospasm atleast 3 times a day(sometimes so bad that it makes my whole body convulse), wet cough, vomiting, fever every night(though I'm sweating and feeling like I'm in n hot tub, my fever never goes over 37.6),feels like there's a curtain that gets pulled over my brain-cant think clearly,have trouble finishing sentances, remembering names of commen household things, words in my own language-i get short of breath after making the bed or even just putting on clothes. I had pneumia in both lungs just over 4years back that had me in bed for almost 2 months-they never admitted me- and from there I've been struggling. It started out as just a violent brongchispasm a split second after a cough that sometimes stayed for up to 3minutes, then the spasms started coming without any coughing at all, getting more frequent with every week passing. I'm only 29years old and already I can't even play with my kids. If I'm not in such pain that I can't even stand up straight, I'm so dizzy and shaky I can't affort to stand up. They keep diagnosing me with asthma, have my acu-haler and that's that. I get prescribed pain killers. Sometimes my lungs get so inflamed that you can actually feel the heat coming off them and you can clearly see I'm swollen. The mucus never clears up and they keep giving me sinusitis pills and sprays even though I tell them its NOT sinus, neither post nasal dripping, its there every day, its getting so thick I'm struggling to swallow. Breathing sounds weird sometimes as you can hear me breathing past it. Xrays shows that both my lungs are clearly filled with fluid. I started giving up hope of ever knowing what's really wrong with me and getting help, but thanx to you, I have an idea to go on now. People are prone to thinking there's nothing wrong with you, that u want attention, eccpecially when drs don't give you an answer. Thank you so much

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      when its college and not 'free', BJ, none of it is the easy stuff :)

      so cram your grey matter full and have a good time right? you go!! you rock!!

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      BJ 5 years ago

      I have no clue. learning everything I can. went through the "basics" first couple terms. Academic writing, Math, Criticial Reading, stuff like that. and now, for the summer, I'm doing pottery, 2D design, Computer literacy. You know, the "easy" stuff. haha.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello BJ this is all very good news and I am so happy things are greener on your side!I am glad your Dad is as well as can be and happy in his brothers home.

      I know this will be the start of all good things for you / What are you studying in school?

    • profile image

      BJ 5 years ago

      Hey RN, been a while and I thought I would update on everything. We had several back and forths about my dad who was struggling with COPD and losing his business/home and pushing me to take over everything.

      For one, I didn't, I told him it wasn't what I wanted to do, he was disappointed but was understanding, didn't get mad or anything. His brother is a truck driver and owns a home that he is only in for maybe a few months out of the year. He moved dad in a little over a year ago and he's been doing very well. He's currently using a treadmill often, trying to keep his health up and hasn't had any emergencies since then. As for me, I found another job quickly after, but caught pneumonia before my 6month pre-lim was up, had to take over a week off and was let go. I decided to give college a try and have been doing that for the past 6months.

      Again, thank you for your advice as it prove invaluable and I hope things on your side of the fence are as green as ours are looking. :)

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Good Morning Heather,

      It is terrible to have to watch the one you love struggling just to breathe. I know you will do your best to keep your Mom happy and as healthy as possible for as long as you have with her. But try not to wish that you know how much time you have left/try just to be happy with the time you have together.

      COPD tends to ebb and flow/sometimes bad,other times not so bad/I hope you have a lot of not so bad times!

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      Heather 5 years ago

      My mom is 65 and was diagnosed with copd and 30% lung function 8 years ago. She didn't quit smoking at the time (but I did!). She finally quit this past January. I feel terrible bc her symptoms have only gotten worse since she quit. That's not a very good reward for quitting but I hate to imagine how bad it could be right now if she hadn't quit when she did. She had her first pulmonary appt today and they prescribed oxygen. Her oxygen level was at 77%. I can tell that we are entering into a new and unknown phase and I wish I knew what to expect, how much time to expect to have and how to help her. Seeing her get worse so quickly and the thought of it only getting worse frightens me.

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      Margaret 5 years ago

      Thank you, your information is much appreciated :)

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Thank you Margaret,as a nurse I have seen this happen repeatedly and I would go get my O2 Sat just to check it.

      What I have noticed is that patients with COPD and other lung disorders like fibrosis will fluctuate at different times, with or without their O2 on! And of course, as you've noticed, if the person insists on doing something physical like walk without using oxygen that level will plumate and stay down a while.

      The problem with that is cells are also dying without oxygen and cause other problems down the road.

      Trying to keep the oxygen level as steady as possible for the majority of the time is the best thing...if the person will allow it.

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      Margaret 5 years ago

      Hi Barbara,

      You are doing a great thing with this site - thank you! My dad has Pulmonary Fibrosis. I have noticed that sometimes he will stop in mid sentence, seems to fall asleep for a minute then wakes up. Is he really falling asleep or is he passing out? He is on oxygen 1.5 but takes it off when he is sitting.

      Also, how low can his oxygen go before he goes into a coma or worse. He walked w/out it yesterday and it dropped to 64 he was dizzy and put it back on...he is stubborn about it.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Good Morning Kristy

      This makes me sad hearing about your Mum

      Even though I am an ex smoker myself it makes me so upset to know we can be healthier if we quit smoking!

      I am glad you got some comfort from this hub and from all the ones who have commented. Stay as strong as you can Kristy, I will be thinking of you and your family!

      Barbara B

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      kirsty01 5 years ago from uk

      i found this page while looking for information on copd and have found it very interesting and helpful.

      my mum is 50 years old and is in the end stages of copd,she is still trying to smoke if she can get off the oxygen long enough most of her time is now spent in bed because even slight movement is too much for her,she is on oxygen most of the day. she has had three heart attacks in the last three months, which has led to doc diagnoses AF. her heart rate is now permanantly at a min 125, she was taken into hospital a few weeks ago with blood oxygen of 5 drs said she was lucky to be still alive. Referals for hospice where done on wednesday. she was then taken to hospital this morning as she was getting severe stomach pains, nose bleeds and urinating blood all night. she weighs about 5 stone and cant eat as she gets too breathless. I am the only one in my family that seems to see how serious this is, my brother and step dad think the oxygen is some miracle cure and now she will live a semi normal life, mum has decided she is fine she has atleast 10-20 years left in her. i don't want to lose my mum but anyways need to pull myself together. i just wanted to say how informative this page was how much it helped reading all your stories.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Oh my dear Scott :) and I say that because you are a dear soul and I am so proud of you!!

      I will tell you right now...my last cigarette was in June of 1998

      bronchitis in June and a nurse how embarrassed and shameful I felt!

      But I am a non smoker and glad of it!!

      You can do it Scott!!

      Barbara B

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      scott 5 years ago

      hi i have no story of copd to tell was feeling alot of these symptoms and went online to find out some possible causes just want to say i am moved by the way yu help so many people learn ab/deal with this and thanks/godbless to you and everyone who has posted here your words have made me decide to quit smoking i wish yu all the best thanks agin-scott

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I apologize Ken for not knowing this answer

      Perhaps the best thing for you would be to seek a solicitors advice; specifically one skilled in disability cases.

      Good luck with your research on this matter

      Barbara

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      ken 5 years ago

      What % of lung capacity do u have to be at to get disability?

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Barbara, my thoughts and love and many prayers to your Mother and for yourself!

      Barbara B

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      Barbara 5 years ago

      My mom has never smoked a day in her life and has severe COPD is now on oxygen full time and suffers infections all the time. when she first got copd she was already at the stage of inhalers daily and shortness of breathe. she was hospitlized every time she got infections and never could get to the point of exercise.

      she is now palliative care at home fighting for very breathe even while on oxygen. i just want to say this is a horrid way to live and anyone that can help them self by quitting smoking etc should as your life will be prolonged.

      i have early stages copd also never smoked ever, we have found out this is hereiditary and i am also now fighting daily.

      thank you for your information posted.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      hello Jeri

      The wrost thing about COPD ia that the lungs are usually damaged when the person stops smoking and they do not heal...not like they used to say/your lungs will repair themselves etc/remember that?

      the good thing is there are meds and of course O2 that will help...

      no one knows the exact time or hour of our death and of course I know how worried you are/worse being so far away. Try to trust in the doctors and you know what? '

      if you ask your dad I bet he will write the OK so you can call and speak directly to his pulmonologist yourself.

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      Jeri 5 years ago

      Hi there,

      My dad doesn't live near me so its hard to tell how bad his COPD is. He currently has 25% lung function and his doctor has now put in a prescription for oxygen. He keeps telling me not to worry but now the doctor has him going for heart testing as his blood is thickening and they are worried he may have a heart attack. They are also testing for Alpha1- antitrypsin. My dad quit smoking nearly 7 years ago. He keeps telling me hes going to be fine. I feel sick to my stomach. Is the oxygen going to help him get better or should i be worried he is going to die soon? Hes 55 years old.

      thanks,

      Jeri

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      oh my Concerned! it does sound like a lot doesn't it? but no, the thing you have to remember is bless his heart he is coming late to the fair...

      this is what he probably should have been on for several if not many years and his physicians are playing catch up

      also persons with COPD crash so fast/just like babies really/ they need all this medicine in their bodies and on board for just that occurrence

      and I hate to say this

      but that occurrence will come...best then to be prepared for it don't you think?

      I know this is hard to hear and to bear...just watching (and listening) while someone you love is struggling to breathe

      but I sure am glad he has all those meds right now!

      you stand fast! I am thinking of you and yours!

      Barbara B

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      concerned in ny 5 years ago

      I guess the question is, does this sound like too much medicine to take at once? That's still not all of his meds. He is on Hydochlorizide, colestipol, pramipexiole, omeprozole, Oh and he starts radiation treatments this week for prostate cancer.

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      concerned in ny 5 years ago

      Well, the last few weeks have been quite hectic. We have been to many doctors. My husband started out on Proventil, Asmanex, and prednisone. Now he is on Symbicort, Proventil,

      Prednisone, a Nebulizer w/ Albuterol and oxygen. He has been told that the COPD is moderate to severe. He was given the oxygen and Nebulizer yesterday. He slept quite well using the oxygen. Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Hello Susan,

      Euthanasia is a very difficult subject to cope with even if the person asking you for help is NOT your Dad. Try to tell your Dad that his hospice care is palliative care...not treatment. That the doctor and nurses with home hospice are there to provide him comfort...so if there are times he is uncomfortable, not able to breathe, is in any distress at all, not even in a breathing attack, just in distress...call that hospice nurse!

      They are wonderful, just beautiful people who will know exatly what to do. You are in a hard place right now Susan but you and your Dad have the luxury of a kind of care very different from the kind we had when your Dad was a young man, Thank Goodness.

      Barbara B

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      Susan 5 years ago

      I should mention my dad is 81 yrs old and has been a smoker for most of those years. Plus he was a welder before they started venting welding shops. His lungs are in horrible shape. He also had 2 heart attacks in one week in December. He went into the hospital because he couldn't breathe and evidently had had a heart attack and 2 days later another one.

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      Susan 5 years ago

      My dad is in end stage COPD. On oxygen, home hospice care, morphine, etc. He wants to die and wants me to find a way. How does a person deal with that?! He has had 2 breathing attacks since he came home from the hospital about a month ago. They won't let him have a mobile air tank..want him to use a wheelchair with a big oxygen tank on it. I think he's just giving up because even if he doesn't really want to go anywhere he wants to feel that he can.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Good evening concerned...am reprinting my respnonse to you 11 dys ago/didn't sound that you received it?

      as for the CPAP I hope that will give him much needed rest as well as oxygen to his brain while sleeping! Asmanex is very good too, I just thought it would be spiriva. Now, concerned, asmanex is a steroid so be sure your hubby rinses and spits after using that inhaler!

      I hope he gets respiratory relief soon!

      Hello concerned. Sounds as if the powder inhaler must be spiriva? be sure your hubby only uses it once a day as prescribed. The other thing is be sure to hold that first suck in his lungs as long as he can the wait a full minute at least and do it again...I know the literature says one suck deplinishes the capsule but there is always a little bit left inside the green container. OK?

      the other part is be sure that when he sleeps his head is up as much as possible. A lot of people with COPD end up sleeping in their recliner and that's fine, whatever it takes so he can get a few hours of sleep at a time you know?

      And absolutely never ever never go outside into the cold!!

      New York winds blow bitter/he wont be able to breathe outside in that mess.

      If he is still able to work and has to go out into the cold then he MUST wear a THICK scarf around his throat and then most importanty wrapped OVER both mouth and nose you know? Otherwise, he will get sick and with COPD, could end up spending over a week in the hospital!

      You guys stay warm...think about getting a nice humidifier but remember about bacteria/with the humidifier you have to clean it every 72 hours with a solution of 10-1----one part clorox to 10 parts water so its very weak but very effective.

      thinking of you and your husband,

      Barbara

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      concerned in ny 5 years ago

      I had posted eleven days ago. My husband has been diagnosed with copd. He is on a rescue inhaler proventil and a once a day inhaler asmanex. Since I posted he has seen a pulmonologist and was sent for a sleep study, CT Scan and a pulmonary function test. No results yet. The person who performed the sleep study did call him today and wants him back to be fitted for a cpap machine. At the pulmonary function test he was put on a nebulizer which seemed to help. We are trying to get this under control.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      oh my word Bonnie what was I thinking!! Thank you editor :)

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      Bonnie 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for all your wonderful info, and the time you took to put it together. A question, though-I thought the lungs have 5 lobes in total, 3 on the right and 2 on the left, am I mistaken?

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      as for the thinking some people would take it wrong/don't worry, you know where you are going! and by the way, I will be sure and hug your neck when we are there together!!

      and of course your dad knows you did all you cold becuase they may have been hope for survival!

      ha I make typos too

      and also Shannon, having sought help for myself in the past, go get it when you are ready, it wont hurt! and always, many prayers and much love to you and yours

      barbara

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      Shannon 5 years ago

      Hi Barbara!

      I know you are right, I need to let go of my anger. Inside my heart I know that but I too work in the medical field (I have worked for a pediatrician & a plastic surgeon) and I would never in a middle years insult a patient or their family the way this "Doctor" did with my dad and my family. I have never met such a rude doctor in all of my life. It hurts my heart that someone like him would be involved in medicine and treat his patient so lousy. He never knew my dad before he went to the hospital and he judged his entire life on the condition in which he arrived... I just find it appalling and completely unprofessional.

      You are also right, I know my dad is waiting there to see me when I arrive. Most people take this next statement the wrong way but here I go.. I used to be fearful of death, but no longer. I know my dad is waiting to see me again. That doesn't mean I am in jeopardy of hurting myself and I am not wantign to die but I am ok with dying, as I know I will reunite with my dad.

      Barbara, you are right.. 2011 was a complete nightmare. Two minths after my dad's passing, my 46 year old cousin passed away suddenly, 2 months after that my grandfather was re-diagnosed with cancer, the same cancer he just fought in his breast, 2 month after that my grandmother (who lives in Texas) fell ill with some mysterious illness that still has no diagnosis, in December I lost my great-uncle to Alzheimer's (he has been suffering with it for many, many years now.. he is at peace and with my great-aunt & his son now. I am actually at peace with his passing).

      I feel like I was robbed of time with my dad. I know I had 42 years with my dad but it just doesn't seem like enough. I feel like a child again, but without my dad. It's such a strange feeling for me. I don't know if i am having problems because I am going through all of the "firsts" without my dad or if I nee dto speak to a grief counselor. I am waiting to get through this first year before I look into counseling. I will see where the road takes me.

      I just wish I had known the signs earlier. As my mother and I have spoken off and on about this, all the signs were there and she chalked everything up to his weight and hardly ever mentioned to me how bad (and how quickly) his health was going. He always put up a good front for me, probably so I wouldn't worry (because that's how he was.. again, stubborn!). I can remember hom stopping by my house and his complexion looking grayish and I aske dif he was ok and he would answer, "yes, why?" I would be honest and say, "you are looking a little gray dad and I am concerned." He'd blame it on the lighting in the house or sinlply say.. "naaah, I am fine.. don't worry." I believe he was sick then. Upon speaking more and more to my mother, she commented about my dad calling her Vick (my dad's boss) and saying things thay just made no sense, the falling in the house, the extreme loss of breath just trying to walk down the short hallway to the bathroom, the waking up in the night sitting up and rocking back and forth.. all the signs were there and if I had found this page sooner, maybe I would have known (if my mother would have made it known.. she really thought it was because ofhis weight)maybe he'd still be here.

      I wonder if he died knowing that we only had him on the vent and trach'd because we were told it would give him his best chance of survival? I don't want him to be upset with us for doing what he would not have wanted. Had ther ebeen no hope, we wouldn't have gone to such extremes. When he was alert off & on, it seemed as if he understood and I know he would have done the same for me or my mother or brothers. There were times when he communicated with me and he was my dad but most of the times it was not him, I know now it was the CO2 in his blood/brain and it was making him, well.. not him.

      Anyway Barbara, thank you again for listening and your kind words. I have learned a tremendous amount in the last year. Also, thank you for tolerating my typo's, lol.

      Blessings to you,

      Shannon

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      He absolutely would be "proud of how you fought for him" and of course you were his advocate!!

      You had a terribly sad and difficuly year Shannon but remember, your Dad is waiting on you!He was a hardwroker all his life and you know, stubborn as he was, that he is making sure when you see each other again in that big circle, that everything will be just right!!!!!

      many prayers, much love to you Shannon,

      turn loose of that anger, let that doctors karma take over his life, you don't need to be a a part of it!

      and you just grow in love!!!

      Barbara

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      Shannon 5 years ago

      the speaking piece in on his trach, I told him I loved him and I heard his voice one last time say.. "I love you too Shannon".

      I think the world needs more education on COPD. I wish I could start something in my dad's memory for COPD awareness... had I known the symptoms, maybe he would have lived longer but believe that he would have still died the same horrible way. COPD would have taken my dad from me eventually. The only regrets I have is not recognizing the signs.. I know I did everything that was right by my dad and I know he would be proud of how I fought for him. I was his advocate and I fought for him, for his dignity and for his life. All life is precious and it's a shame when a doctor feels otherwise. I will NEVER forgive that man for treating my dad as if he was worth less than nothing.

      I love and miss my dad, this year has been beyond hurtful and full of pain. I am trying to find joy in the memories I have but doing so only reminds me that there are no more memories to make with my dad and that always make me incredibly sad.

      Thank you for listening...

      Shannon

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      Shannon 5 years ago

      he is. I continued that my dad has never been LAZY a day in his life and how dare he speak about my father that way. I asked him why my father wasn't scheduled for any physical or occupational therapy and told him that every day he lays in this bed without anything, it's as if he is losing 2 days ( to which he replied it was more like 1.5 days.. as if THAT were any better). It got so heated that I finally just stopped because speaking of my dad, over top of my dad, laying in that bed was dond my dad no good! My sister in law stepped out of my dad's room, just passed the doorway speaking to one another (after that doctor left) when the PA came up to us and excused himself into our conversationa nd apologized for the doctor's behavior but then assured us that he is the BEST and he is definitely the one we want working with my dad. The I said to the PA.. if the best isn't willing to give his best to my dad because he is prejudice against him because of his weight then his best will do my dad no good! There was so much more said between the doc and I and basically the doc accused us f not caring about my dad because before this time, he had never seen us. I was like.. whoaahhhh you s.o.b.... when my dad was in ICU, we adhered to the hours that were given for visiting, so my dad could rest and allow his body to heal and do what it's meant to do in order to heal!! He was such a jerk. In the end, my mother had the overall say and she decided to allow this creep to be my dad's doctor, because she wanted my dad to have the best. My brother was in California on business when this took place and I called him crying and so angry. He wrote an email to the patient advocate because we couldn't find an email address for the board of directors. That night, said doctor called my mother to speak to her. He didn't apologize but he said he thought that we "got off on the wrong foot". He soothed my mother but not me.. to this day, I wish nothing but the same he did for my dad.. I hope he goes through worse then my dad did.

      So, 3 weeks later, my dad still can't get weaned from the vent and the insurance wants him out of the hospital.. basically he wasn't sick enough to be in the hospital but not well enough to go to the vent weaning facility, so they wanted to send him to a nursing home/rehab/weaning center. We looked at ONE of them, the one that was supposed to be the best of all the ones we could go to and it was GOD AWFUL. I cried. I sobbed that I couldn't let my dad be put in one of these places. We made an appeal to the insurance company after the initial request to move him the weaning facility was denied. My dad had been weaning some at this point and his "status" had changed so the docs tried again and sure enough the same day our appeal was due, the insurannce now ok'd his move to the weaning facility, dur to his change in health status. So, that night (it was aq Friday) he was transferred.. which hadn't gone well either. He had been weaning all day, had the speaking piece in the trach and we were conversating.. he didn't remember barely a thing (after the initial time I found my dad undressed and on display for anyone walking passed his room to see him naked.. I stayed with him everyday, all day until someone arrived in the evening..he wqas never left alone again). I would say about 2hrs before the ambulance was going to come to get my dad, he seemed like he was getting tired and struggling to breathe. I asked if he was ok and he could only mouth words to me and I read his lips, he said he needed air. I went to get hte nurse, told her he was having problems breathing and she called in the respiratory nurse and she took him off the wean and placed him back on full vent. In minutes, he turned.. his personality, demeanor and he got angry. I was in this little waiting area around the corner speaking to my brother on the phone when my mother came in and said my dad was freaking out. I was like, "what do you mean, he was fine a minute ago." I quickly went back to his room and I have never seen my dads beautiful blue eyes look so upset and angry. I talked to him, tried to remind him that he was leaving the hospital and heading to the weaning facility (all the things we had talked about so calmly durign the day). He wanted to get out of bed and get his clothes on and get in my car and go. I tried to explain that he didn't have clothes, they cut them off in the ER when he was admitted. After a few hours, the ambulance came for my dad, to transport him to the weaning facility but when the hospital called for the transport, my dad wasn't on the vent so they sent an ambulance that wasn't equipped for the vent that he was now fully using. We had to wait for a new ambulance, which didn't get there until 9pm. We didn't get him to the weaning facility until 10 pm that Friday night and all the while he was loding his mind. My brother road with him in th ambulance, while I followed behind with my mom and daughter.

      The weaning facility...well, I don't know what to say about them. They were suppose to have a 98% success rate but now that I've been there and seen first hand how it really is.... after 4 weeks, if you haven't weaned.. you are pushed out by the insurance company, to a nursing home/rehab center or you die. By 10 days of my dads arrival, the weaning hospitals rep was meeting with us to plan my dad's exit. I was like.. umm, he just got here 10 days ago. She said yes, but as soon as a patient enters our facility, we work on their exit plan. I didn't realize that he was basically only going to be allowed to stay for 4 weeks. When my dad was there for 3 weeks, his dpctprs met with us for an extensive talk and we were told then and only then, that they felt my dad had an underlying issue with COPD and that is why they were having such a hard time weaning him and that he hadn't improved at all sinnce his arrival.. his actual condition had degraded. By this time, I knew. I had suspected it and just knew. The first week there, my dad did very little of anything. The second week, he had some therapy and he was alert and he sat up on his own with little to no support. I had hope.. I thought he was going to pull through, it was going to take a long time.. months and months but he was giong to pull through. By week 3, that all changed. My dad had pneumonia several times due to the vent. His initial pneumonia was cleared (that was his dx when we initially arrived at out local ER.. plus I had a friend that worked at the hospital, she is an ICU nurse and she would check on my dad whenver she was on duty.. read his chart and told us he was admitted due to pneumonia. He was due for his pnuemonia shot in 2010 but never got it)but he had pneumonia 3 more times during his battle. I would suction his trach, wash him everyday. I was by his side constantly, talking to him when he wasn't alert, holding his hand, combing his hair, putting ointment on his toe, massaging his feet... I just wanted him to be ok again. Needless to say, the Friday that was his 4th week there he was moved to ICU. We were told bu his doc that his kidneys were not working properly and we were asled if we wanted to start dialysis. My mother refused the dialysis, she felt my dad had been through so much and that he wouldn't want that and she was right. That same friday night, we were told if he didn't improve over the weekend, we would talk again on Monday and see what options we had. My dad passed away that Sunday. I was and am still devestated.

      Now that I look back and read all of these posts, I see my dad had all the symptoms but I knew nothing of COPD. I have learned so much about it since my dad's death 9 months ago. He died just shy of 1 month after his 67th birthday. My dad worked so hard all of his life, retired at 65 and was sick from 65-67...never had a chance to enjoy his retirement. I struggle still, day to day. I miss him so much. I was very close to my dad, spoke to him everyday. I wish I had warning, I wish I would have known that he was going to die sooner than I did. I feel robbed, I wasn't able to say goodbye..although I did tell him all the time that I loved him. When he had t

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      Shannon 5 years ago

      Well, I have finally made it back. My son has been busy with school papers and has been using my computer, hence my delay.

      Anyway, unfortunately my story (or my dad's story) does not end well. In Dec. 2010 my dad came down with a cold (according to him) that he was having a hard time shaking. We went through the holidays and he just got worse and he continued to go back to his doc. She continued to give him antibiotics and even a steroid. One day in Feb.2011, my mother called me saying my dad had fallen (this hadn't been the first time over the last few months) and he had torn his toenail off, she was afraid it could be infected (she called the day it happened but then called me again the following day). I directly went to their home and as soon as I walked into his bedroom, I knew there was more going on then just his toenail being gone.

      Let me back up a step. My dad was a very big man, 6'4" and well over 300lbs at this point in his life. My dad was always active, for as long as I could remember. He was forced into retirement at 65yrs old (the business he worked for downsized and I am sure that my dad was already ill, but to what extent was unclear at the time). My dad had strained relationships with 2 of his 3 siblings, both of his parents had passed (his dad when I was in fourth grade and his mother 3 months before my wedding day), his only sister he spoke to died only 4 years ago and he was crushed. I feel as though he fell into a deep depression and just gained a ton of weight and really felt like he no longer had any family.

      Anyway, fast fwd. to a few years ago. I could see my dad having a hard time getting around but everyone contributed it to the extra weight he carried and although I feel the extra weight played a role in his struggles, I know now it was COPD.

      On Feb. 10, 2011 I convinved my dad that he needed to go to the hospital. He wanted to waint until the following morning but I refused, saying I was at his house now and I wanted him to go now! He gave me a hard time until I asked him if he wanted to die today, which he rep;ied "sure, today would be a good day.", I stood there and cried.. he finally said ok. It took my dad approximately 3 hours to get himself out of bed and walk through his modest sized home and into my car. I told him I would just call an ambulance and he said if I did that, he wouldn't go. My dad used to volunteer as a medic at a rescue squad but never wanted to ever be a patient in an ambulance.. I don't know why he hated the idea so much but alas he did.

      We arrived at the hospital, I drove him up to the door, helped him out of my car and into a wheelchair right outside of the car door. I rolled him in, and got him situated and had my mother register him. I went to park my car and returned back to the ER. When I say the ER was overly busy, I mean it. We say there for about 10 minutes when they called my dad to triage, before they even looked at my dad, we were told it was a 6-8 hour wait. My dad wanted to leave, I made him stay.. we were already there, why go home now? As soon as the triage nurse started asking why we brought my dad in.. my dad began his story about his toenail (oh and let me add, my dad told us on the ride to the hospital the "Story" we were going to tell when we arrived), the nurse looked at me and I just said.. "Look, the catlayst to get him here is the toenail but is quite obvious to me there is way more going on here then his toenail." The male nurse began to take my dad's vitals abd his pulse/ox was around 60 (if memory serves me correctly) and the nurse said... "Sorry Sir, but looks like you will be staying with us for awhile, we need to get you to a room a.s.a.p. So, my dad began talking to me and my mother continued talking to the nurse and telling him more details then my dad ever wanted him to know. My dad told me to tell my mother to stop talking, I just said no.. we needed to get him proper treatment and we had to be honest (stubborn... my dad was so stubborn). So, needless to say, my dad was found a room in the ER.. patients were lined up all over.. all the rooms were full, they had patients on beds all around the nurses station, it was horrible. There were no beds available in the hospital so we had to wait for a room. Finally, after being told my dad would be admitted..we were told he would be moved to a room within the main hospital as soon as one became available. We were with my dad until 3am, at that point I went home because I have 2 children at home that I had to get off to school. So, in the morning my mother called me and said my dad was being put on a ventilator. WHAT!? WHY!? She had no idea, she didn't ask any questions. So I asked what room he was in, she didn't know.. didn't think to ask. So, I had her call and find out what was going on and she then called me back and said he was still in the ER, as no rooms opened up yet and they were getting ready to put on the vent right then. I quick grabbed my keys and purse and drove frantically to the hospital. By the time I got there, he was vented and sedated. Later that day,he was moveds to cvccu. 5 days later, he was being given a tracheostomy because they couldn't wean him off the vent. A few days after being trach'd he was taken out of his medically induced comatose state and ge was awake... my brother was there with him and he had called me to tell me. Again, I grabbed my keys and went straight to the hospital. My dad was alert, uncertain as to why he was where he was and of course, unable to talk. I explained to him that he was very, very sick. He motioned he wanted off the vent, which I knew would be a problem as he always said he didn't want to go to extreme means. My mother ok'd the trach and my brothers agreed.... 3 against 1. Although, when the surgeon's explained that the trach would give him the best advantage to weaning off of the vent, I was in agreement. A few days later, my dad was moved to step down, where he remained for 3 weeks (before the insurannce company wanted to kick him out). In step down, we ran into the most rude, obnoxious and unprofessional pulmonolgist I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. You see, the evening prior to this meeting was my son's Confirmation.. afterwards we came to the hospital so my dad could see my son dressed for Confirmation. When we got there (my son, my daughter, my husbannd & my mother) my dad was completely naked and he was obviously induced with medicine to keep him out cold. What a change from him being alert and speaking to us just days prior. I was angry, hurt and literally blindsided. I drew the curtains to my dad's room (which was just to the right of the nurses station) and covered his fully naked and exposed body. With tears in my eyes at not knowing what went on while I wasn't there.. I took care of my dad, gave him his dignoty and respect. The very next day, I called a patient advocate and heads began to roll!!! The patient advocate called me while I was enroute to the hospital the next day, she continually called me (at one point she called me while I was in the elevator headed to his floor). When I arrived at my dad's bedside, there were about 5 people around his bed and there was a therapist there giving him a foot massage. I suppose I made my point to the advocate on the phone. Meanwhile, I FINALLY met m y dad's pulmonolgist for the the very first time since he had been in the hospital. My dad was alert again at this point. I laid so far into those people and gave them what for!!! I told them that I didn't find it acceptable that my dad was butt naked when I arrived here last night with my children, mother and husband. I flipped out!! The pulmonologist basically sad to me, my mother, my sister in law and my DAD that he (my dad) was to blame for being in the situation he is in, he is morbidly obese and lazy and should be ashamed of the stare he is in. he continued to berate my father in FRONT OF MY FATHER (talk about kicking someone when they are down0! Let me tell you this doc has obviously never met an Irish Scorpio. I told him off but good. I told that the person who lies in front of him is only a piece of the person

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      hello concerned. Sounds as if the powder inhaler must be spiriva? be sure your hubby only uses it once a day as prescribed. The other thing is be sure to hold that first suck in his lungs as long as he can the wait a full minute at least and do it again...I know the literature says one suck deplinishes the capsule but there is always a little bit left inside the green container. OK?

      the other part is be sure that when he sleeps his head is up as much as possible. A lot of people with COPD end up sleeping in their recliner and that's fine, whatever it takes so he can get a few hours of sleep at a time you know?

      And absolutely never ever never go outside into the cold!!

      New York winds blow bitter/he wont be able to breathe outside in that mess.

      If he is still able to work and has to go out into the cold then he MUST wear a THICK scarf around his throat and then most importanty wrapped OVER both mouth and nose you know? Otherwise, he will get sick and with COPD, could end up spending over a week in the hospital!

      You guys stay warm...think about getting a nice humidifier but remember about bacteria/with the humidifier you have to clean it every 72 hours with a solution of 10-1----one part clorox to 10 parts water so its very weak but very effective.

      thinking of you and your husband,

      Barbara

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      concerned in NY 5 years ago

      My husband has recently been diagnosed with COPD. He is 63 yrs old. He has had a chronic cough since August and has been on three rounds of antibiotics. In December he was told he had traces of COPD and then followed up with his MD and was put on a rescue inhaler, a powder substance that he takes once a day, a antihistimine he is not able to lie down to sleep as the coughing and choking is so bad he must sit in a chair to sleep. Cold weather puts him in a coughing cycle that is quite difficult to recover from. Looking for ways to deal with this.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Shannon

      many good thoughts going to you...talk to you today I hope

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      Shannon 5 years ago

      I wish I had found this site/page sooner. Right now I am in tears but will come back tomorrow when I can get my emotions under control and tell my dad's story.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      caregiver, what a wonderful being you are, to give so much Love, care, time, gentle hands to your family

      You are the best! I pray your brothers dys will be filled with less struggle to breathe.

      I know you've heard this but just let me tell you hospice nurses are the best!

      So just keep that in mind OK?

      Barbara

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      caregiver 5 years ago

      I have been reading this page for sometime and find it interesting. RNMSN is very helpful and has even given me a lot of insight to this disease! My Father died from COPD, My Mother as well... and now My brother has end-stage COPD... he was diagnosed with COPD at a very early age. He is now 56 and has been in and out of the hospital, long term care and nursing home several times now. He is a fighter! I have cared for my family for several years.. now it is my brother's turn. For the past few days he has had a lot of trouble with his breathing... well... more then usual. However, when he sleeps he does not seem to be struggling as much as he does when he is awake. He says he is coughing up brown phelgm. I haven't seen it... nor do I really want to. I have threatened to call 911 for two days now. Today being the third he says he is improving... I do not see it.. he knows to use purched lips to breath... however.. he tends to whistle instead.... The Long Term Care Doctor indicated that he has at the most 1 year left. Of course I have my reservations about it. My sister had cancer and was given 6 weeks and was Blessed with 10 years! No One really knows for sure. I know I will most likely call 911 today if he does not improve. It is most likely inevidable. I just hate pushing him to go when he so does not want to. So.. I watch and wait.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      you are welcome Beverly!!

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      beverly/ bobandbev@suddenlink.net 5 years ago

      thank you

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      my condolences Julie to you and yours

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      Julie H 5 years ago

      my mum died on Friday of COPD that had not been diagnosed or investigated. Infact when I told the doctor on Wed mum needed either o2 or she had a mini stroke the doctor visited her then decided it was a mental health issue, increased her anti depressants and got her a mental health referal. She did not listen to my mum or me about the symptoms so the next afternoon I took mum to hospital and she died 14 hours later.

      Do not ignor the signs and do not let the GP ignor them either.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Good Morning Leaderofmany! Stay positive and keep all your MD appts and absolutely avoid others with respiratory infections! You don't need any risks! Way to go for not smoking! I smoked too (like, what nurse didn't right?) and stopping wasn't easy but now I am so glad I did!

      barbara

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      Leaderofmany 5 years ago from Back Home in Indiana

      Thanks for the information, I'm waiting on the dr. to call to tell me how bad the damage is to my heart and lungs due to COPD and congestive heart failure. I have stopped smmoking, so I hope that gives me more time.

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Kara, I think the easiest way to feel and then to recognize someone with COPD is to do this exercise:

      take a deep breath and don't let it out

      now breathe and talk and eat etc/all without releasing that first breath

      Difficult eh? Persons with COPD live this way forever...never able to take a good breath because their lungs are full of breath they cant exhale.

      I would be interested in how you do with your project. I know you will do do great! Good luck Kara!

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      what does psw stand for? pharmacy society?

      at any rate persons with COPD present with breathlessness...coughing with thick white to yellow sputum or coughing with thin but copious white sputum, irritability (hard to breathe makes you testy)usually a rather thin frame, and eventually a stooped back

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      kara 5 years ago

      i was wondering if you could tell me what my a psw should be looking for with a client who has COPD? im doing school project and could really use some help

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      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      well you just keep on keeping on!! and don't (or try not to) rebel against the pulmo MD K?

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      Valerie Washington 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      This hub is very informative and well put together. I have asthma (all my life) and recently diagnosed with COPD a few months ago. I use Advair disus twice a day. Tae 5 mg of prednisone every other day, have a rescue inhaler and also have a nebulizer on hand. My SOB has been increasing though and I'm afraid the next time I see my pulmonologist he will put me on oxygen!! Not fun at age 39 with five kids...oh well, guess I shouldm't have smoked over 20 years, huh?

      Anyway, voted up and awesome and useful!

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      both the one with emphysema and the one receiving chemo are at risk, because of lowered immune systems. Emphysemic patients usually are on some form of steroid therapy, which puts them at risk of infection and chemo of course destroys all cells which makes that person at risk of infections.

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      Fle 6 years ago

      why shouldn't someone with emphysema be around a person receiving chemotherapy?

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I am so sorry, I must have misunderstood this section

      Thoughout the years when I get sick I am tired, weak and shortness of breath and lose weight (I am a hefty woman). I have always had issues with an infection in my lungs (all my life including pneumonias). I have always been prone to get really sick when it deals with the lungs

      I do not mean to upset you, many who have been diagnosed with COPD have a difficult time reonciling with the diagnosis itself

      I wanted only to encourage you to stick with your physicians...it is hard to get correct info only from the net and of course that icludes this article and as I said

      I am not a physician/just a lowly nurse/

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      cherokeecandy 6 years ago

      I don't have multiple infections. I don't have problems sleeping, diabeties, shortness of breath, lack of appetite or anything else you mentioned. You say living like this all my life, I posted that I had eppisodes of bronchitis during my teens and early years and now again in my later years. How do you get all my life out of that? Telling someone to not search the internet for answers and info is kind of silly. I was not searching for a miracle pill, I was searching for info on what to expect and what others are experiencing and thought I found a wonderful site to get some solid info from. My Pulmonary specialist doesn't feel the need to see me and later on if I need to give him a call. Why would I get bathroom equipment at this stage if it is COPD? That doesn't make sense. I know people going strong after 20 years of COPD and I didn't even know they had it until recently. So yes, I am pulled in two separate directions and guess for now will leave it at that.

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      this is a difficult one especially as COPD is newly diagnosed. I am not a physician/just a lowly nurse/ but feel more inclined to go with the COPD dx

      sometimes the person afflicted will have gorgeous test results at the beginning of the diagnosis with the disease process...as if their body is trying for a last hoorah you know?

      but the rest..chronic infections...bronchitis at same time of year...multiple infections of all kinds...all that caues damage to alveoli etc of your lungs and that is the number one cause of COPD...

      http://www.spiriva.com/about-copd/copd-stages.html

      sounds as if you have moderate COPD...never try and decide what stage you are in during a crisis...only in the bet feeling

      and tests for or against COPD do not rely totally on the spiromometer and other breathing tests...because your body will have learned to acclimate itself therefore you breath efficiently even more so than normal persons...but that doesn't mean you do not have COPD unfortunately

      as for the meds...if you are my age already and have gone this long without prednisone hip hip!! unfortunately, that is one med that will keep you more well than any other...on the other hand it also lowers the immune system so you must be ever vigilant against exposure to germs...and you need to monitor your diet...stop the sugar and heavy use of carbs if you love them...pred can lead to diabetes...

      this doesn't sound promising for you I know

      keep going to your pulmonologist appointments and do not hesitate to call for one sooner if you start to spiral down...infection, increased shortness of breath, lack of appetite, inability to sleep, all that..and try NOT to search the net for a better outcome..this is going to sound way harsh...but you have lived like this your entire life...I wish but you know there is not a pretty pill to make all your lung issues go away...in fact the older we get the worse our health problems become..it is no different with your lungs.in fact its worse. I'm sorry to put it like this but stop the denial process and work on breathing exercises, foods to eat, how often to eat, get bathroom equipped with bars and such and so on...you know the drill.

      I will stop short of talking about your profession but you need to think of ways to protect your lungs and body from germs.

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      cherokeecandy 6 years ago

      I should have mentioned also, I had the breathing tests done at the hospital which showed no signs of any problems as a matter of fact I breathed deeper and blew longer than most people. I don't have a problem blowing up balloons or swim rafts. There is just so much room for doubt.

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      cherokeecandy 6 years ago

      I have been diagnosed with COPD. I am still in denial partially though. As a child and through my teens I had major issues with bronchis. Many times I went to ER with it. Now I am 58 a past smoker 1 pkg a day. Last year I had a terrifying thing happen, pain shot up through the side of my neck, through my shoulder and down my right arm. I could not lay flat, blood pressure jumped to 178 and my chest hurt horrible. I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to ER who after an hour of sitting in waiting room didn't find anything wrong. Last year I had an issue with bronchitis and during my sick stage they arranged for me to have gall bladder surgery ... xrays didn't show anything wrong. Later I had some shortness of breath issues, Xrays, then CT scan showed an 8 inch blister on my upper right lung but my oxy and all tests were good.This year however again during the same months July and August, I have a very bad time with bronchitis to the point of choking on thick mucus and not being able to cough it up. 2 words per breath max, vomiting, fever infection for sure. 5 weeks later I still have a cough and my lungs are still clearing up a little each day. My Pulmonary doctor told me he wasn't sure and thought perhaps I was born with it. So I think their doubts and the horrible things I read about it which doesn't exactly fit my results lead me to be in denial. Thoughout the years when I get sick I am tired, weak and shortness of breath and lose weight (I am a hefty woman). I have always had issues with an infection in my lungs (all my life including pneumonias). I have always been prone to get really sick when it deals with the lungs. Since the Prednisone meds I feel like I cannot cough up like I use to, like it took away part of the push power lol. So is this all COPD or should we be looking in some other direction? My energy is great again after 5 weeks of being sick and oxy is back up to 97 and all the weight I lost has been found.(rats)

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      midnight

      that is very scary and especially with two lttle heads...you've stopped smoking I know?

      were you a miner?

      do you have and trust your pulmonnologist? you have a choice you know and I suggest the younger the better :) get a young female pulmonologist!

      just trying to get a smile out of you

      practice your pursed lip breathing inspiration shorter than expiration, curl you arms over the back of another straight chair round out your back deep breath from your diaphragm through your nose hold it hold it hold it count of 3 then make a tiny "O" with your mouth and slow slow and steady it will be hard and it will be scary but do it anyway

      make the breath you drew into your lungs come out LONGER than the time the it took to go in....

      do this a minimum of 6 times a day and every week increase the hold it by one second util you can hold it for 7-10 seconds! it will NOT be easy and you MUST NOT give up!!

      it WILL make you cough up a lOT of phlegm/better out than in eh?

      small frequent meals always don't try to eat 3 times a day takes too much effort to breathe and digest at the same time. just graze all day :)

      and never miss an MD appointment! abd always take ALL your meds with you and always take your meds exactly as prescribed...wait the required 5 min between inhalers sn the 5 seconds between puffs off your nebulizer/no matter how much you want to suck it in and take another just as fast...suck it in and hold it forever

      that gets that albuterol/iratropium DEEP into your lungs

      handwashing handwashing handwashing i cannot emhasize enough specially with kids...bacteria laden bundle of joys that they are :)

      and teach them to wash their hands and sing abc or happy bday before and after meds meals bathroom playing inside or outside

      and one more thing I know this will the worst to give up...baby spit...pb and j sammich with 2 baby bites out of it whatever makes that so delicious to parents? but DON'T eat it!!!!!! :)

      and of course pinch those precios little heads for me they grow up so very fast

      much love to you midnight the worst is right before the dawn

      barbara bethard

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      midnight 6 years ago

      I'm 32 years of age, was diagnosed with COPD,not to long ago I got lungs of a 99 year old, I almost died three months ago,by heart failure and phenomena. Now I got that COPD- emphaziima- bronchitis. I'm scared, got two young kids..

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      May God Bless You and Keep You

      much love to you John San Nicolas...with your name you must already be in Gods hand closest to his thumb :)How could you not? good ole st nick!

      keep on keeping on and remember there is much love for and to you and yours!

      barbara b

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      John San Nicolas 6 years ago

      RNMSN:I have COPD and am constantly searching the internet to improve my knowledge for dealing with the inevitable fate that awaits me.

      I normally just read and move on, but I was so moved by your professionalism and wealth of knowledge that I want to thank you and all persons like you who contribute to the helping of others with these and other conditions. I'm fairly self educated in regards to my condition but I did learn a number of things from your comments. Especially the parts about not just giving up and letting the disease take you. It gets increasing harder for this simple thing that we all once took for granted-breathing! It's not over till it's over. Thank you and God Bless!

      janthony@guam.net

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Steps,you do not have to be alone.

      There are support groups there are homes where you you can live and be cared for in a caring environment with other people around you who also care about you

      just because your children are out of the picture is NOT NOR is it your resposibility!! they made their own choices, their own actions will have repercussions/that is OUT OF YOUR HANDS!!!

      let them go, you deserve BETTER!!

      see you physician

      ask for a case manager and counseling

      Having copd is hard enough wthout having to go it alone

      I love you

      but that is not near enough

      you MUST create a group of people/they will be strangers but only at first/who will help and support and care for you and what happens to you

      Believe me please believe me

      your first step is with your pulmonologist

      if that pulmonologist gives you the brush off find a younger one...the younger the better in fact!

      and GET the help and the care and the support and the people around you that you DESERVE!!!!

      my love and my prayers go with you Steps

      but take that first step, Steps, and see you pulmonologist!!!

      don't like him/her then fire them...its your life/your lungs///find another one that is holistic in their care and looks at your entire physic and body not just your lungs!!! the younger the better!!!!

      I cannot emphasize this point enoungh/funny/all those residents and internists I fussed at and taught how to wash their hands and do head to toes assessments and now here I am, in my late 50's saying get the youngest you can fnd cause they know the most!! it all comes around/

      I am thinking good thoughts towards you Steps....I will cry for you cause if you cry it just makes it harder to breathe

      so take a deep breath/in through your nose out through your mouth/remember the pursed lip breathing technique and roll over onto your arms on the kitchen table/expiration needs to be longer than the inspiration :)

      now close your eyes

      imagine the first thing you recall in your entire life that brought you wonder and joy

      from your first rolly polly bug or your first bike or your first swing...whatever...and hold it in your lungs

      yes I said lungs/ not your head....keep it there..now everytime you take a breath you will have that first wonderful aweinspiring scene inside of you

      cool eh?

      I am NOT the only person or being out here who cares what happens to you Steps! Believe me, I have been where you are, not wth COPD but wth family and other issues...do NOT stay alone, it is not worth it/that pit sucks, climb out, reach for my hand, that's it, just a little more...there!you can make it!!

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      Steps 6 years ago

      I have copd and am very depressed. MY children are all out of the picture. I stayed at my daughters only she started smoking in her place again sent me back to the er. Again. I had my lung collasp a year ago its when they told me i have copd. I quit smoking. I am tired of being alone.

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      aryan, DO NOT feel quilty!!!!

      knowing all of this would have put you and your familys mind at ease and helped you see what your dad was going through but he would still have progressed to this point, unfortunately, and I do not mean to be so blunt,

      this is a very debilitating disease and sometimes,it progresses very rapidly in some people whereas other people take years to get to the end stage

      if anything I have written has helped you or anyone that is all I aim for.I just wish I always had good news to share

      My prayers and my love to you and your family and hug your dad especially for me!

      barbara b

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      aryan 6 years ago

      hi my dad is 63 and in the late stages of copd. he also has acid reflux problems. he currenlt weighs 4 and a half stone and is refusing to eat, drink or take his medication but when your on about 30 tablets a day who can blame him! he's currently in hospital with suspected pneumonia the outlook isn't great. this page has detailed everything my dad has to a tee! he calls them his attacks, when his breathing turns bad and he's got an infection, but when he tries to explain this to paramedics, doctors etc they look at him like he's completely nuts!! his treatment has been awful with some people accusing him of not being as ill as he really is! but like he says it's not about what you see on the outside it's about the battle raging on inside him. but thank you for putting this fantastic information out there if only my family knew as much about this illness 2 years ago maybe we could have done more to help my dad.

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      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you so much Dr virtual doctor!!! gave me oose bumps to hear a thumbs up from a peer!!!doesn't happen often and so when it does it is cherished!thank you!/just jumped to your site and loved that first article on lung infections! my goodness what a wonderful piece! It needs to be published in a medical journal! I am facebooking it as well, you did a wonderful job and thank you!!!

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      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Mary, you dnt need to learn anything/except patience/hardest of all

      she is loopy cause her brain is not getting enough oxygen to its cells to live/so she has no idea what she is doing or saying

      the medications will kick in and help and you are now giving them correctly so that is a very good thing.

      she has a pulmonologist(lung doctor)that she needs to see probably monthly or more ofoten (have you taken her recently?)at this point/she must see her regular physician as well, probably every 3 months(when was the last time and be sure to take every medication she takes with you, not just a list)

      and the regular doctor or the lung doctor can get you home health out to see your moma and that will be such a relief for you!

      reading all the stuff on the net is good but nothing beats a good ole face to face with the MD or another live nurse!! and she will be all yours for at least 60 days! probably 3-4 times a week for a couple of weeeks then it will taper off to finally once a week but if your moma has ins or medicare she DESERVES home health services of a skilled nurse and a physical therapist and speech therapist (to teach YOU to teach HER how to breathe)

      I hesitate but must ask...did the MD say your mom was end stage COPD?

      if so did the MD suggest hospice?

      I know it sounds harsh especially as your moma is obviously very much alive and fighting you every step of the way but I did not notice any meds that would decrease her anxiety and therefore help with her breathing...her pain medication could just be making her loop-ier/which would be bad especially if she begins to hallucinate on the lortabs/which it sounds as if she has already....if I were you I'd be haunting the physicians door every morning,your moma in hand, alternating between the pulmonologist and the regular doctor until she is out of crisis and functional again or until I got a hard and fast answer...I hope that isn't too personal or hard sounding to you but I can hear you and you need help, not just your moma and if you get sick or wear yourself to a nubbin who will take care of her? love to you, many prayers for you and yurs, barbara b

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      Mary  7 years ago

      What do I need to know and learn to help my mother in law?