Husband age 55 has COPD

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Hi i am almost at my wits end with the attidude my husband has re his diagonosise of COPD last year. He was diagonosed with chronic bronchitisits after a xray and a lung function test which they labeled as COPD.He has been a smoker since an early age prob averaging at 15 cigs aday mainly hand rolled. The doc explained to him that his best choice is to stop to help slow the progression down. He as a salbutomal inhaler to use 4 times a day or when breathless this confuses him as he dont get breathless. His main symptom is a muscus cough which is worse first thing in a morning or after laying/resting for too long. This is starting to effect my sleep when i say anything he says its how it is and i could always get in the spare room. He just dont seem to get it at all he already been on a course of steriods and antibiotics this year and when i ask him to go back to docs due to the cough worsening he says its fine he doent feel ill and his mucus is not coloured or thicker.

I have now bought some ear plugs to try so i hopfully get some sleep.

He knows how it can end up as he has an anuntie who is very bad with COPD.

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Primy,

    My husband was diagnosed at a similar age, although he was not actually told it had been recorded as COPD until he was 58 - five years ago. He was still smoking until he kept getting chest infections and then admitted to hospital with pneumonia after a holiday to Cape Verde when he inhaled a load of sand in a sandstorm which lasted 5 days! Docs said that had made things worse but he did have COPD ?? We had not been advised that he had anything worse than asthma until then. He really reduced his smoking but deteriorated rapidly to the extent that he can hardly do anything now - although not on oxygen as his SATs levels are fine. As far as I know, he isn't smoking now. We sleep in separate rooms because he sleeps in a sitting up position as it makes his breathing easier - I really can't believe that we do absolutely nothing together now. I go for walks, have coffee with my friends etc. etc. but not as a couple and I miss it so much. I see other older couples enjoying their lives and feel almost jealous - I am only 58 and my life has been taken over - I won't go on holiday either with friends or on my own in case something happens to him. 

    If your husband does not get help this could be him - and you - in a few years time. 

    We are now going down the route of bronchial valve implants but the tests for suitabilility are taking months - but perhaps the only way his breathing is going to improve and give him back some quality of life, hopefully.

    If you have the opportunity please relate our story to your husband - it might make him see sense.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ros 

      i have and am trying to get my husband to realise what he needs to do and to stop having blinkers on. I have during my job helped run a COPD rehab class and know how our or his life could become  i think deep down he does too but all i get is well i smoke and have smoked a long time its to be expected i now ask him to smoke in another room or outside as i too could be prone to this as i have been around smokers all my life my parents were both big smokers and when i was in my 20's i had TB so i have still got a scaring of one of my lungs.

      do they not think how it is for their partners.

      i hope you keep well and your husband gets the treatment you are seeking you are both so young and like you say need to be able to now enjoy life.

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  • Posted

    There isn't much that can be said if your husband knows the consequences and still prefers to carry on smoking. 

    As you probably know yourself, people with aleady damaged lungs who continue to smoke, are just making things more difficult for themselves, every cigarette smokes damages the lungs even more till eventually the lung damage is so great, it impaires even the ability to continue smoking, health deteriorates rapidly and use by date arrives sooner than need be.  

    As his doctor told him stopping smoking will slow down the progress of the disease, deterioration in health and his expiry date.

    Sorry there isn't anything more than can be said, its all in your husbands hands, its his decision.

     

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  • Posted

    Hi ,my hubby will understand how you feel ,and he to moved into another bedroom ,

    the best and first thing your hubby can do is STOP SMOKING NOW ,And then ask your hip to refer him to pulmary rehab ,,, it's run by nurse /physio's who  have specialized in copd lung infections chest infections asthma etc ,,,,here's how they helped me ,

    i am now aged 71 and go to the gym 3 times a week ,I easily manage to do 3 Kim on the bike ,2 Kim on the treadmill and 3 Kim on the handbike,

    I was diagnosed back in 1992 with asthma ,I was blue lighted into hospital with an asthma attack ,,,,the consultant asked me if I smoked ,yes I said ,,,then he said ,,,the wrong answer the next one could kill you ,,,,,needless to say I never had another one,

    Sadly the damage to my lungs was already done ,but by stopping smoking ,,,I could slow down /halt any progression ,,,,,,over the next few years I suffered a few chest infections ,,,but I coped ,,,only occasionally being admitted to hospital when it turned to pneumonia,,,, then in 2008 I had a chest infection that led to pneumonia which then led to septasyma ,,, which then I was diagnosed with bronchiectisis ,asthma ,copd ,and a two week stay in ICU ,,,,after discharge I was supported at home by the copd team who came in every day to check on me ,they were life savers in my opinion,,,,,that was December 2008 where I missed xmas and new year ,,,,,later that year ,,  august ,,,I had a visit out of the blue from one of the copd team ,, who said they were starting a fitness and guidance group at the local leisure centre ,,, would I be interested ,,,I laughed ,,,ME ,,, EXERSISE ,,,,hahaha,, I get out of breath doing the slightest thing  , that's the point she said ,,,,  so I couldn't refuse really ,,,,they had been so good to me following my discharge from hospital,,,,so I said yes ,,, 

    its an 8 week course of slight/ moderate exercise ,,, basically gentle exercise to begin with ,,,they don't ask you to do anything you struggle with ,,,,it's also an education on how and when to use your inhalers ,,,,and everything you can do to help yourself,,,after the course I felt so much better I joined the gym ( the nurse was really pleased to see me keep up the good work ) and that's it basically ,,  I have continued to hold to the gym 2/3 times a week since then ,,, and yes I've had chest infections and had spells in hospital,,,but because my fitness levels had improved I recovered better and coped better ,,,,I was also recently prescribed a flutter devise to help with chest clearance ( you are also shown how to clear your chest properly at the class ) 

    but the devise helps when the mucus gets thicjpk and sticky and difficult to move .

    i hope this has helped ,, I can't think of anything better to advise other than ,,,,PULMARY REHAB ,,,,AND STOPPING SMOKING NOW ,best wishes ,

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    • Posted

      Hi again Nanny. Just great advice. You were my inspiration. I have joined a plumanary rehab. The new class does not start I till first of April. In the meantime I have created my own excercise while waiting. We have a huge backyard so I do walking Laps. I started at 3 laps and now slowly I am up to 6 laps. I go out in the snow and do it bar non. I was also given a Aerobika flutter device that helps remove mucas. I have learned how to do pursed lip breathing and apply that to when I am doing my laps. I see the respirologist specialist in 2 weeks. Can't wait! Thanks to you from miles away I thought "if she can do then so can I" Just so grateful for this forum. Have learned sooooo much.

      Ellen from Canada

       

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    • Posted

      My thanks to you as well Nanny .. just been dianosed with COPD .. been a light smoker for 50years. Funny thing was I had just bought a bike and was using our new cycle way and was taking our wee dog for walks .. am very aware of the need to breathe deep and exercise. It is so good having this forum. Just reading about others lives gives me encouragement .. like you Ellen I have learned so much .. so from NZ and Canada we will be 'if she can do it so can we'  ..

        

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  • Posted

    One of the conditions that they put my husband forward for the implants is that he goes to pulmonary rehab. He started the classes but then got another infection - viral not bacterial (a sample was checked) so even antibiotics don't help - but until he is better he can't go. Just 18 months ago he was cycling 25km on his exercise bike - how rapidly things go downhill. Has anyone tried light exercise whilst suffering from an infection or is it completely impossible? I don't want to push him into it but fear he will be right back to square one if he doesn't do something soon. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Rose,  Regarding "Has anyone tried light exercise whilst suffering from an infection or is it completely impossible? I don't want to push him into it but fear he will be right back to square one if he doesn't do something soon. "

      it depends how your husband feels, if he feels up to doing a little bit, I was very ill recently, most of the time I was horizontal or sat in a chair, the most I felt up to doing was walking up and down inside, or on occasion up and down the garden.    He may be up to doing that too and maybe some wall push ups.   He will need to take things steady and not push too hard but if he can just build up slowly but surely, its important not to push too hard too soon he needs to recover from the infection.

       It is frightening how quickly we can deteriorate and if we are lucky we can recover in time as well.  

      With regard to the conditions that your husband was put forward to implants, attending pulmonary rehab, that is because with any lung patients they have to be fit enough to withstand the operation.

      Wishing your husband the very best with his treatment and recovery.

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    • Posted

      Hi I have always been told to rest and stay out of the cold.  I think some gentle exercise is good though to avoid stiffening up too much if he feels up to it.  He needs to listen to what his body is telling him.  x
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  • Posted

    Hi the first thing to remember is that he is not his auntie.  A lot depends on what stage he is at.  Do you know his FEV! (lung function).  If it is mild or even moderate then he has every chance of leading a long and still relatively healthy life.

    I agree that stopping smoking is a priority though I must admit I still smoke and was diagnosed on the borders of mild/mod 9 years ago and still am the same level now.  BUT (and there is always a but) I know that so far I have been very lucky and unless I stop it could accelerate very quickly.   As it could with your husband and he might not be as lucky as me....so far.

    It's very hard to stop smoking though and equally hard for you not to 'nag' him about it - I get that.  The best way though to help someone give up it to tell them they are strong and that you have faith that they can stop with help.  Then promise to support him every step of the way.  Building someone up is much more positive and likely to work then having a go at them.  No matter how hard this is for you not to do.

    He knows very well that he has to stop - I presume he is not stupid,  but he is in denial which is very common.   Good luck.  x

     

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  • Posted

    I'm going to get hammered for saying this (I always do) .. but have you suggested he tries vaping?

     

    Your husband isn't addicted to cigarettes .. he's addicted to NICOTINE.

     

    Nicotine in itself is relatively harmless .. so vaping will give him the 'smoking experience' he enjoys, as well as the nicotine he craves .. WITHOUT the 1000 or so toxic chemicals found in cigarettes which are doing the damage to his body and his lungs.  Once he's weaned himself off the cigs, and onto the vape, he can gradually reduce the nicotine levels in the juice he uses, and could be nicotine free within a year or sooner.. (I would suggest he tries the plain ‘tobacco’ juice .. the  ‘flavoured’ ones contain a chemical which hasn’t been thoroughly tested). ’

    I was a 30 a day smoker .. and just couldn't quit, even after I was diagnosed.  But vaping did it for me. 

    Lots of people will disagree with me and quote all sorts of stats and scare stories, but the NHS wholeheartedly approves it as an aid to quitting the cigs.

    Vaping isn't an ideal solution,  but your husband will NOT stop smoking .. he’s stubborn, he enjoys each cigarette, and he THINKS he can't quit, and doesn't want to fail (I was exactly the same), but vaping is a much safer option than smoking..  

    Lots of people have quit the cigs using vapers. You could try suggesting it to him maybe?

     

    Good luck!

    Jo

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    • Posted

      That was the way my husband stopped and he had tried everything but he still vapes and it is up to him if he stops. There are limits to how much pressure I put on him.
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  • Posted

    I have not posted for a while in here. But when i got told i had emphysema changes i carried on smoking for another 4 months i think it just took time for it to sink in that i need to stop, i posted on here about this and my acid reflux and loads said stop it will help i did not believe them or the doctor.

    It's now been 63 days since my last cig hopefully never start again.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Vee2 sorry for not posting about it, but i think some on here got fedup of me asking questions and thought i wont even help myself so why should they bother.
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    • Posted

      You got there in the end John that's the main thing.

      Keep up the good work.

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