The trials and tribulations of COPD

So here I am, It's 23.52 and apart from replying to messages I haven't been able to do much else. The last 48hrs or more have been an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.

Where to start? If you read my previous post you will know my dad is in Stage 4 of COPD. I'm what you would call a part time carer for him to try and take some of the pressure off my Mum.

Wednesday 29th July around 3.30am:

I wake to the sound of my Father having what i thought was a panic attack and shouting "someone help me please?, why has he not rang the alarm? Do I disturb Mum or not? No, I make my way downstairs to find my Dad on his commode. His looking at me but his stare is vacant, like he is looking right through me. I walk up to him softly tell him "I'm here Dad, what you doing sat there?" No reply. I ask again but his breathing is so out of control he cant say a word. I spin him on the commode to face me so I can try go through the normal routine of battling his panic attacks (please read A morning in the life of a part time carer) Its not working. He just can't seem to concentrate and he is fighting for air and I've tried everything, Nebs, rubbing and patting his back, breathing techniques but nothing is changing. I can see its taking its toll on Dad, his body is slumped, his eyes are saying help me.

This is nothing out of the unusual for me. The best thing to do is remain calm because if you panic it will make them panic and things could be a whole lot worse. You see Dad has been in and out of hospital more times than I can count. The most recent was because he had Pneumonia, Stage 4 of COPD and that do not mix well.

So at this point I've spent a good 30 mins trying my best but its no good. His temp is a little higher than I like it to be. I press the alarm to get Mum up and pick up the phone, I dial 999.

Upon Mum making her way down the stairs the Ambulance arrives, dogs are going crazy, Mum half asleep and Dad is completely oblivious to anything around him. I've been here before, this is deja vu.

The questioning, ECG, nebulizer, measuring the oxygen in his blood, taking his temperature. His results are alarming 72% oxygen in his blood, his blood sugar levels are low, blood pressure higher that it should be and and ECG reading that is "slightly abnormal" according to Dan(ambulance man) "but nothing to worry about but I think we need to take you in Chas"

Now at this point my mind set is everything will be okay, it always has been. Mum will go to the hospital with him. They will do everything they can to bring his oxygen levels up etc etc. Remember deja vu. I will wake up, give my Mum a call and go to work and keep a close check on things throughout the day!!!!!

Approx 5.15am

I wake to what I think is my alarm, no its not....My sister "Katie" She said "Dads been taken straight to resuscitation, you need to get here now". At that precise moment my whole world came crashing down and a million memories flashed before my eyes and a million things that i never got to say to him came to the forefront. You see Dad decided he doesn't want to be resuscitated in 2014, he signed a document that we have to hand to ambulance staff. It was a tough decision for him to make but he knows what he wants.

To cut a long story short, Dan the ambulance man got it all a little bit wrong, nothing abnormal with Dads ECG. Blue lights to hospital and straight to resus wasn't necessary according to Dr Carter. He apologised for the distress it had caused. Distress?? That word doesn't even come close to what we were feeling as a family. Dr Carter said that they have managed to increase Dads oxygen levels, done a X-ray and putting some fluids into his body and have made him very stable however he has chest infection. That explains it!!!

Dad finally managed to come home that same day as the doctor said no point keeping him in as we can do at home what we are doing for him here. Needless to say I didn't leave his side all day and slept on the sofa Wednesday night just to make sure every need was catered for. I'm currently sat with him now telling him what I'm doing and he said his proud of me for being so open about it and helping and sharing our experiences with others.

I'm not sure when my next post will be as I'm taking a few days off to get some much needed R&R with my boyfriend and leaving Dad in the capable hands of my Mother and Sister who I've hand written instructions on what to do in different scenarios, because dad said that no one can calm him like me.

Anyway it 1.55 and I've got to up in 4hrs to start another day.

Take care all

Katie xx

25 Replies

  • Hello Katie

    I hope you manage to enjoy your few days off with your boyfriend.

    Remember these next few days are for ' you ' to relax and have a well deserved break. As you say, your Mum and Sister are capable, just remember that. and try not to spend all your time worrying. I know it's easy to say, and hard to do, but please try.

    Your Dad has a very supportive, loving family around him who are doing a marvellous job, at a very hard time.

    Best wishes to you all

    Velvet xx

  • Thank you for your kind words Velvet. I'm very much looking forward to my time away but also feeling quite anxious. But I know his in safe hands xx

  • Hi Katie, what a wonderful job you are doing with your father. I am starting a Breathe Easy group today it,s our first meeting today. I am taking your post to the group as I think it will be a great inspiration to other carers in the group as the meetings are just not about sufferers but about carers as well. Keep sending in your posts as it,s a great inspiration to other carers, but don't forgot to look after yourself as well. Look further to your next post.

    All the best Tony x

  • Hi Tony, Thanks for your reply. The Breathe Easy groups are brilliant they really helped my Dad, Mum and Me. I hope it all goes well. WOW I feel quite honoured that you want to take my post along with you. You will have to let me know how it goes and any feedback that you have from it would be much appreciated. Just drop me a PM

    Good luck for today

    Katie x

  • That was a true carers life in those paragraphs. Well put. Unsung hero's!

    Be well

  • Thank you for your comment Offcut. I'm overwhelmed by the response's im getting.

    Take care

  • Peeps on here understand.

  • Gosh you are such a star Katie - your dad is so lucky to have a daughter like you and it is obvious you love him very, very much. I just hope you get some well-deserved quality time with your boyfriend and that your dad will remain stable for a long time in the future.

    Take care and thank you for sharing xx

  • Thank you for your kind words Dedalus, He is my world, I would do absolutely anything for him. I just want to share my experiences and reach out to people. I'm going to enjoy the rest, but always anxious at the start. You are more than welcome, take care of yourself too xx

  • Hi Katie, yes I will keep you informed as what is said in the meeting.


  • Thanks Tony. Enjoy your day and the beautiful sunshine

    Katie :)

  • Have a great time with your boyfreind, you certainly deserve a break.i hope dad remains ok but as you say he is in capable hands.its hard not to worry but do try. Love Margarett x

  • Well done you, what a very caring daughter you are. I bet your mum and dad are so proud of you. Enjoy your time with your boyfriend, try not to worry about your dad, you are leaving him in capable hands. Go recharge your batteries. Enjoy. All the best to your dad. Take care.

    kindest regards

    G J xx

  • Katie, I hope you have a nice break. Your dad is only a phone call away if you find you are missing him. Just hearing your voice telling him happy things will really cheer him up.

    A carer's role is never easy. It is great that you have your Mother and sister, when so many have to do it alone.

    Azure Sky :)

  • Hi katie, i habvent been online for some time but keep an eye on the posts at times, although going through an infection myself at the moment, and not too great. i have to say how wonderful you are, a true and wonderful carer. xx

    your father is one of the "greats" if you can, please tell him jimmy123 from scotland is asking for him and praying for all the family.

    get well soon smiler, we need you,, all the very best, with the kindest of regards,

    your other old mucker

    jimmy :)


  • Jimmy,

    Good to see you on here. Hope your infection clears up soon. Take good of yourself. We have missed you. Lots of love your way.

    kindest regards

    G J xx

  • My God Katie, I could have written that story myself, so very very true of exactly how it is. Been in that position so many times and each time I always think it's my last. My husband has been admitted. 6 times this year, such a rollercoaster ride, emotionally I'm drained by it. Well done to you xxxx

  • Oh Katie! Hope you are enjoying your R+R. Your family are doing a tremendous job. All the best to you all.

    Love and hugs



  • Crikey Katie, it can be pretty scary being a carer but you seem to be in such control, not panicking which is correct, and doing all you can for your amazing dad and mum. It can take its toll though so do take care of you too and enjoy your time with your boyfriend.

    Chest infections are awful but hopefully your dad will start to feel better very soon.

    I am a carer for my hubby Pete and always stay calm so as not to panic him. Can be scary though so I do understand how you feel.

    Take care. xxxx

  • Angels come in all sorts of ways .

  • Wow .. humbled. You're incredible - and everyone like you - coping with these crashes up and down. I hope you get to have mega fun in the next few days. x

  • God Bless you and my heart goes out to you and your family. Being a caretaker is hard stuff and it takes much love and energy . I am in sincere hope that your family has many more years of uniting in good health with low dramatic experiences.

  • Dear katie, thank you again for your post, and also thank your dad , mam and sister. It is a huge deal to share such personal issues with others and I know that after reading your posts it will help other people to cope with their own similar situations.

    I too cared for a special person, my brave mum who lost her battle with cancer August 2010. I watched her gradually fade from a strong, determined, fearless, fair and loving lady, to the frail, gentle, weakened soul who was in constant pain both physically and emotionally. Even in her last days and hours she didnt ask for any miracles to happen or ask myself or my dad to fetch anything that may have been even a small comfort to her. She was determined that I woukd remain her daughter and not become a full time carer- although i did care for her , as did my dad. My brother arrived at 11pm after a hellish journey of over 6 hours to be with dad and I when my brave, selfless, beautiful mum took her final breaths, this was her only ask, that she could be at home with her family when the time came. I have struggled many, many times to understand why she was taken so cruely at the age of 57. My only comfort is knowing that I helped care for her as she always had cared for me and that she died surrounded with the love of her family.

    You are in my thoughts katie, please keep strong and take care of yourself too, love to you and your family. Lynda xxx

  • There should be more people in this world like you keep up the good fight I'm a a carer to and i do know what it's like to try and help a loved one look after yourself.

  • Can I ask what is stage 4 of COPD as I have it but not sure the stage I have been told that I cannot have an operation and that my oxygen levels are only 15% with no reserves also I have Alpha 1.

    I use a nebuliser every 4 hours and use three puffs a day. I also have pancreatic cist .

    So find myself very slow and difficult to walk or lift etc. THanks and well done you for helping your parents. :)

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