Cant take much more

my husband keeps on having breathing difficulties, it is getting worse in that he is having three or four attacks a day. some worse than others the ones we cant control we dial 999 paramedic comes and he is struggling to breath oxygen levels drop to about 84% he within minutes and by the time we reach hospital he is ok clear x ray clear bloods he complains about his neck hurting but they ignore this and say its asthma he is on all the medication but it does nothing we are having to call 999 15 times in last six weeks this cant be right at the end of my patience Gail

13 Replies

  • Very difficult to know what to say. Obviously your husband is having problems and you call the paramedics in all good faith, but given a bit of a breather (sorry, can't think of another expression that fits!) on the way to hospital, he recovers.

    I know when I get SOB I have to use my inhaler then sit and wait, within 20-25 minutes it's as though nothing had happened. My breathing settles down and I can carry on. It's often if I try and do too much, attempting to lift or carry something or even standing at the kitchen sink, I'm at the wrong angle I think.

    What the hospital should be doing is keeping him in for observations, so they can catch the next attack and do something about it.

    A shame it's now the weekend as you could do with talking to someone, perhaps the BLF helpline can offer some help, but they only operate Mon-Fri. Even booking an urgent appointment with your own GP is going to be next week now.

    There must be something 'they' can do to try and sort this out for you both,

  • Has he been refured to RBH or Hartlands for specialist tests usually kept in for a few days

    for the tests.If not I would push your doctor or hospital consultant for a refural to one of the specialist hospitals .

    Take care xxx

  • specialist tests has me worried that all I did was blow in a machine at the GP surgery should they have done more what have they missed out on with the testing.

  • if your breathing is not under control you can ask to be seen by consultant at the hospital to see respiratory consultant. sorry didn't meen to worry you the other hospitals are for people with brittle asthma etc.way down the line.If you are only under your doctor you could ask for a respiratory consultant refural and have lung function tests done and will review your medication. don't worry if your breathing is not under control then you can ask your doctor for you be seen by a respiratory consultant at your hospital xxx

  • Does your husband not have oxgen at home? If not it might be worth asking your gp to arrange for it to be prescribed for your husband. Clearly he is having attacks of breathlessness, but next time it happens, u could try to get him to take an inhaler ventolin or whatever one he may take, get him to sit down for 10 mins after using inhaler and take in a slowbreath through his nose and then gently huff out breathe via his mouth, huffing is like when u blow on a mirror when there is a mark on it, this usually helps and should bring his oxygen levels up, then u can make an appointment to see gp about various help your husband can get, but if his oxygen levels do no go up then, you should take him to a&e if you can, i hope he gets the help he needs, good luck and best wishes janie x

  • I go to PR janie62 and the nurse there said that oxygen will not help breathing. They give you oxygen because if your levels fall too low it can affect your other organs.

    Nebulisers are usually used for breathing problems if the usual inhalers are not working. Try using a spacer (you can get one from the GP) . This makes it easier to inhale more of the reliever.

    I hope you get it sorted though as sob is very frightening. xx

  • Hi, I also have moderate COPD but have experienced how bad it can get with my mum who had severe COPD. Mum had breathing difficulty on numerous occasions and would dial 999 and like your hubby by the time she reached hospital her breathing had improved. Eventually they gave her some 'pills' as she called them, The medics had worked out that when her breathing deteriorated she began to panic which made it worse. The tablets she was given calmed her down and eased things after about 10 minutes. She had experienced exacerbations but it was worsened by her panicking, understandable though it was. I'm sorry but I can't remember what they were called but I'm sure that your GP or hospital would be able to advise you and it may just help your husband to avoid all the stressful visits to hospital. Although luckily I haven't yet experienced that with the COPD I have had pneumonia brought on by 'proper' flu. so I do understand how scary it is to struggle to breathe to that extent. Please speak to the medics to see if this may help. Good luck!

  • I agree with you ann. I have asthma as well as COPD and have had a number of very frightening asthma attacks. But I have learned not to panic and I can now deliverately slow down my breathing while trying to shove my ventolin down. x

  • Hi, depending on what your husband has been diagnosed with will depend on how he is treated or should be treated. I would have thought that from alot of hospital admissions he should have been seen by a consultant and respiratory nurse by now.

    My dad has IPF and was rushed to hopsital a few weeks ago. His stats were going down in their 80's and the first time he got out of bed they dropped to 62 and and it was touch and go. He now has to use o2 continuously but he doesn't (stubborn) but he is not suitable for long term oxygen therapy anyway so it is just a matter of time with dad now.

    You need to push forward with your husbands care or lack of and be forceful if needed. You and your husband are the ones suffering and that needs to stop. You need to be spending your time enjoying life with your husband as best you both can xx

  • Hi Hypercat, yes i understand your point that oxygen is given to prevent organ problems, but this filly15's husbands sats fall to 84% when he has these attacks, which means his oxygen levels are too low and he will experience shortness of breath, which will make him panic and then become more distressed and sob. If he had o2 at home, he could use it for 20 mins? or if he has inhalers, as you suggest use one with a spacer to bring his sats up which would help with his breathing and calm him down in the process, but clearly he does need to go to his gp and get an emergency appointment to see a respitory consultant - i have bronchiectasis, which because i didnt know i had it, as its one of those diseases that you dont know you have until it causes harm (unless born with it or diagnosed really early on) because i didnt know i had it my sats were dropping to below 80% this caused me to become very short of breath, i couldnt walk from my bedroom to bathroom 5 metres, as i was gasping for breath, anyhow i ended up with heart failure, caused by a heart attack because my oxgen levels were too low and i had to go on o2 for 16 hours a day as i couldnt breathe without it, so do have some experience of what can happen when sats (sorry i am not being patronising, but for anyone that doesnt know what i mean by sats, i mean the saturation level of oxgen in the blood, normal levels are 100% below 88% is usually a sign of difficulties and can most definitely cause shortness of breath. ) altho this alone is not usually the main problem causing low sats, it can be anything to do with lungs or heart, that is why this poor man needs to see a respitory consultant - i dont understand why when he has been admitted to hospital so many times, why his own doctor has not arranged this - or perhaps he has, i do hope he gets the proper treatment he needs soon. I have also done a pul. rehab course and i had to do the exercises with and without oxygen, as soon as my oxygen levels dropped i got breathless and pul. rehab nurse told me to use my oxygen, which helped with the breathlessness. but as i have mentioned, breathlessness is just an underlying cause to some other problem, this poor man needs proper assessment, treatment, physio, meds, and constant check ups with a respitory consultant once his problems have been sorted, its so awful for this poor lady to watch her husband suffer so much, and terrible that nothing really has been done to help him when he has been admitted so many times. good luck and again i hope he gets the help he needs soon. Janie xx

  • Janie62, Sorry but I have to agree with hypercat. This is a very simple explanation but will suffice here. I have been using oxygen at home for many years and the explanations are that we have damaged lungs, therefore cannot take as much breath, therefore get out of breath quicker. Our organs depend on a good level of oxygen and if this is not present in our body there are bad consequences, so supplemental oxygen is prescribed to ensure our oxygen saturation does not drop below a certain level. In my experience, (and as stated at PR, and as stated by my consultant) increasing oxygen does not increase lung capacity and so does not help with breathlessness.

    Filly's 15 - I agree with others who have said that what is needed here is a respiratory consulatant. if your husband has not seen one then ask for him to do so. Good luck

  • auntymary i too argree with you and hypercat, i am not very good at explaining things lol, i know o2 is needed for organs to prevent damage,,but if your organs are damaged because your sats are low then you will need oxygen as you will be breathless, that is how i think i should have explained it, if your sats drop down to a certain level, you will become breatheless so need oxygen to bring your sats up, to stop the breathlessness and strain on the organs of course if ones lungs are damaged o2 will not increase lung capacity but taking the o2 will stop the strain on them and the heart , kidneys etc. and stop the breathlessness, i didnt mean to imply that taking o2 stops you from becoming breathless, i should have said it stops you from becoming breathless, due to the underlying causes that lack of o2 is making a person sob. also if u read my last post i do state that the breathlessness caused by low sats is usually due to underlying causes - possibly problems with lungs or heart. also i was told on pul rehab. course to use o2 when i got breathless, as due to my history of heart failure and wrecked lungs, my sats were dropping. nowhere have i intentionally stated that breathlessness is caused by lack of o2 on its own lol.

    I was a trained nurse for over 30 years and altho i made of hash of explaining this situation, i apologise for giving any misleading information, it was not intentional and thank you all for your constructive comments and hopefully, will sit and think again for awhile before replying to a post before just doing it instinctively. kind regards to all Janie x

  • He is on all the medication inhalers etc but they do not work and we have seen a consultant but he said its not his chest, I have checked his medication and its not that, I have been researching symptoms but do not know enough about what i think it maybe and there is no helpline, considering going to bupa but don't know what specialist to see as I've seen top respiratory doctor in area. can anyone tell me more about vocal chord dysfunction it presents itself like asthma

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