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my dad has severe copd 
Started by sammy_4
18 Jan 2009, 7:59 PM

does any one have a family member with copd. I want to find information on how I can help my dad and my mom as he continues he grow worse. Im not sure where to look or who I can talk with .
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Reply by JB_6
24 Jan 2009, 2:08 AM

Hi Sammy,

I'm really sorry to hear about your Dad. My Mom has COPD and it's getting worse, so I can certainly relate to your question. I too have been doing what I can to support my parents through this and have found a few different things have helped. Not sure if this is the kind of information you were seeking (and perhaps these are things you are already doing) but thought I would jot them down just in case...

- I ask my Mom and Dad directly how I can help because I know they won't ever ask - they're my parents and don't want to burden me with any of this. Alot of the time I've had to just figure out what they might need when my Mom's home or in the hospital,starting with the practical stuff e.g. help with laundry, meals, grocery shopping, cleaning, scheduling appointments, arranging oxygen delivery, etc. My brother hadn't realized (or maybe didn't want to admit) how sick she was so I talked to him and we've figured out ways that he can help with the practical stuff too...We haven't formally accessed the provincial homecare/respite program yet, but those are certainly good services to tap into if your parents need them.

- I go to some of my Mom's medical appointments (family doctor, lung specialist) and have made sure to speak with the doctors, nurses and other staff when she's in the hospital. Again, my parents would have never asked me to do this but when I offered, they've really appreciated having me there. It's been overwhelming for them (and me) at times, but I've been able to ask questions that they may not have even thought of (sometimes a few heads are better than just one!). My priority is making sure that my Mom's symptoms are well managed (that she's as comfortable as she can be) whether she's home or in the hospital. At times, I'll make a list of our questions to ask when I know we'll be meeting a doctor or having an appointment. We've also been fortunate that she's been referred to an excellent hospital/outpatient COPD program here in Winnipeg. They have a great team (doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, dietitians, etc.) in place who have been able to help her directly and have other information about local resources to help. I'm guessing most large cities would have similar COPD programs (which your Dad's lung specialist and/or family doctor may know more about). The Canadian Lung Association (and the provincial lung associations) also have some interesting stuff on their websites and sometimes have local support groups (for patients and families), can provide good referrals, etc.

- When she if feeling up to it, I'm making sure that we are doing special things as a family (with her grandaughter especially),things that make her laugh, things that she and my Dad really enjoy, even if it's just for a few minutes. I guess I'm being alot more intentional about making sure we have fun together, to lighten their load and just enjoy life, as much as that is possible and despite how difficult things have been. I also know that her being this sick has made her anxious and depressed at times so when I noticed this, we added this the list of things to discuss with her doctor. She's been able to get treatment for her anxiety and depression as well and it's made a difference in how she feels.

Take good care, Sammy. And my best wishes to you, your Dad, Mom and family...
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Reply by sammy_4
29 Mar 2009, 11:59 PM

thank you so much for replying. Most of what you have talked about I am doing. I am really sorry to hear about your mom. This is got to be the hardest thing i have ever gone through. I feel like I am so alone with this. My parents are now gonna sell their home because dad just isnt able to keep it up. They are gonna move closer to me. That way i am only 5 minutes away not 2 hours. Dad has an appointment tommorrow with his doctor. Each day now we just dont know which way it will go. He still does as much as he can but every time I talk to him i can hear the difference. He now says he cant get warm at all and he is cold all the time. I guess between his lungs and his heart this is normal. I still have not found a place where i can go and talk to a professional. I know no one can tell me what to expect or what is next and sometimes i feel angry about this. . Thank you for your words and i wish you and your family best wishes.
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Reply by Cath1
23 Jan 2012, 6:38 PM

Hi Sammy 4

My late mother was diagnosed with COPD but for her it never caused her much consequence, fortunately. She was prescribed and took one dose of Spiriva via an inhaler each morning and her symptoms were kept under control. She had also been prescribed a rescue inhaler, but she rarely had cause to use it, and her death was completely unrelated to COPD.

When she lived in a nursing home, the president of the resident council suffered with COPD and he required daily oxygen and most of the time he walked around with an oxygen tank and the mask at the ready. He used a walker to assist him as he tired very easily. He was a good 20 years younger than my 84 year old Mom, but his COPD symptoms were much more severe and life altering than were hers. I think there is a wide range along the spectrum of this disease and I imagine each person is affected differently according to a number of factors, and not all of them make sense. For instance, my Mom was a lifelong smoker, having taken up the bad habit at the age of 14 and she had smoked a pack a day and sometimes more for sixty years, and yet she said she rarely felt short of breath and she remained active and mobile until she died of other causes.

I am attaching a link to a resource that I found on the Internet http://www.copd-international.com/ for those who want information and support re COPD. I cannot vouch for its quality or usefulness, but it's a place to start for research. The Internet is a great tool to help us find out information, but we must always confirm information we find with a trusted medical professional in my opinion, before acting on any advice. Should you decide to check it out, please use it at your own discretion. If you find it is or is not helpful to you, I would love to hear your feedback.

I hope that your Dad will not experience the worst of COPD, and that with your support both your Mom and Dad will be able to manage the symptoms and live well despite them. You also need support and perhaps you could ask your Dad for his permission to speak with his doctor about the condition and how specifically he is now affected and about what he/you may reasonably expect as the COPD worsens, or in fact, if he is treated with medication, will he be stabilized or will the COPD progress. I know my Mom was told by her doctor that it would get worse, but thankfully in her case it didn't. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a crystal ball to see how things would turn out for our loved ones and our own health?

No matter what you find out on your own, via family, friends or the Internet, it cannot in my opinion, be as valuable to you as it would be to consult with a doctor who knows your Dad, his medical history and what the future holds for him with respect to having COPD. 

It sounds like you are concerned for you Mom as well, in terms of her having support to look after your Dad and to relieve her worries, but if they are both suffering from COPD, perhaps I misunderstood.

Thanks for sharing your story, Sammy 4, and I'm wishing you and your family all the best as you continue to deal with the situation and your feelings about it all. Good for you for reaching out to others for help!:)

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