My father in law (58) inherited COPD from his father, two of his sisters also have it. He has COPD -1 antitrypsin definciency and at the moment is finding it rough because of the smog levels and hasn't been going out as much. Whilst watching TV (not a strenuous activity) he often finds his chest tightening and he has to lay flat to try and relieve the feeling.
He is always breathless, and whilst staying at their house I was behind him on the steps and I literally had to put my hands on his back to stop him swaying, I thought he was going to have a blackout. He stops regularly to take breaks but he can't manage steps at all very well. He recently went on a course advised by his Dr to learn new breathing techniques but he found that he was giving the course as the nurse kept asking him questions as he's had it a long time and his Dad had it etc.
His appitite is very bad and he hardly eats a full dinner as this also makes him breathless. He picks if and when he is hungry.
He has 3 inhalers and an emergency kit that he has to use in case he gets flu as flu could cause him serious problems even an admittance to hospital. He also has to have a Flu jab and so does my mother in law and if anyone has a cold or flu they are told not to visit. His inhalers, I think are Bronchodilator inhaler (a tubular white pump with red on it) and he takes this if he has milder symptoms breathlessness etc. He has the longer lasting one as well. He also has steroid inhalers, one of these is a grey circular pump that he inserts a tablet into it closes it, it then clicks and he breathes in the contents. He's also been given a large plastic funnel type thing that he puts the inhalers in at the end and presses it then inhales until the funnel is empty.
His hands often go numb and are cold most of the time. He has been through the various stages of COPD and late last year his COPD Dr told him he's at stage 3 which I believe is the final stage (not sure) and there is little that can be done other than a lung transplant which the Dr's have ruled out as they believe he wouldn't survive the operation.
This is a horrible disease and it is awful to watch someone gasping for breath and being ill with it as my father in law says I wake up go and stand outside to see what the air is like and then decide on whether to chance going out. He determines days as bad or good and with COPD I would say he has more bad days than good. I had never heard of this disease before I met my father in law and I think the NHS should treat it more seriously.
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