Please help me get back in control of my condition

I have been a asthmatic with chronic bronchitis since the age of 5 and am now 54.For the past couple of months my peak flow has dropped considerably and i struggle to keep it between 150/200 even after nebulising ventolin it seems to make little difference,i have had doxycycline,oxytetracycline co amoxiclav and have now been put on clarythromcin 1000mg daily for 30days.[ hve been put on Atrvent 4times daily a week ago which seems to have little effect ,i take it through a spacer as i do my seritide250mg.i also have singleair tabs on an evening.I have had 3weeks of 40mg prednisilone and a further week in which i have reduced to nothing. I gave up smoking 3-4wks ago in the hope of improving things (to little too late probably) since then my chest feels tighter iam no longer coughing up phlemgm that the fags induced and feelcontinually out of breath. Can anyone offer any advice on how to get rid of all the phlegm that im sure must be sitting on my lungs in the hope of improving my peak flow and getting my life back, I have been off work for 3plus wks feel absolutly exhausted and have to visit ocupational health re job tomorrow.Please can anyone help ,idont want to start the fags again as ive done the hard part after smoking 40yrs but ireally feel that my chest is worse for giving up.I am nebulising very regularly but there is nothing productive or any cough that is clearing my chest.Please Help i am not normally a panicer and have always managed to live a fulllife un til now and i feel so out of control with my condition and it is affecting both my home andwork life more than ever before

21 Replies

  • You have my full sympathies. It sounds as if you have just about enough of sickness and all the treatments that go with it. I am wondering if depression is kicking in and that you need to talk to a counsellor about this. It would be an idea if you rang the BLF nurse and she could put you in touch with someone that can help you. I think this is the worst time of the year for feeling down.

    As regards the phlegm, go to your doctor/respiratory nurse and tell them about your concerns. I know they will be pleased that you have packed up smoking!! You might be recommended for a number of things including respiratory physiotheraphy.

    Having voiced your problems is a good start. I really hope that things will improve!! Love Annie80

  • dont think im really depressed just dont see the improvement everyone told me i would and actually feel out of control of my condition now. thank you for your help

  • Hi sorry to hear how unwell you,ve been feeling ,PLEASE dont start smoking again i know how you feel i had all different meds ,steroids etc had infection after infection ,i havan,t had a cigarette now for 8 months ,i felt worse for a while but have been infection free in all that time.i never bought much rubbish up from my lungs i just started to feel less breathless and am still improving, i do believe giving up has been the best thing i ever done. sharon x

  • i actually feel more breathless .i know its early days but i thought i would see some benefit however small. I wont start again all this has got worse since stopping smoking Thanks

  • Evening, I am sad for you, you must be feeling at the end of your tether. I agree with what Annie80 has advised you. Also you could speak with your local pharmacist, they may be able to help. Have you also tried sitting in a small room like the toilet, run your hot tap and make lots of steam, you may find this helps your breathing, you could even put some menthol liquid in a bowl of steaming hot water with a towel over your head, no offence, that is an old fashioned remedy my parents used to get me to do when my bronchitis kicked in as a small child. Good luck and I really hope you get your health sorted out soon.

    Lynda x

  • hi have tried all these ,like you that was always the first treatment when i was younger and sometimes the old things are best. Thanks for your concerns

  • Well done for stopping smoking. It's the very best thing that you can do for yourself. Try to keep moving to move the phlegm and drink plenty of fluids. I would ask your doctor if there is anything they could give you to help clear it up, I take carbocistiene and find they are a great help. Good luck, and don't feel too down. I've been there and you will find that there is light at the end of the tunnel, you just can't see it yet but it could be just around the corner!

  • what is carbocistine. what does it do?

  • It's a capsule taken twice a day to thin the phlegm which makes it easier to cough up and so keep your lungs clear. It's worth asking your doctor if it would benefit you.

  • Also I quite agree with cuddles64, it's worth a try with the steam treatment.

  • Can't really give you an answer Sue, except from what you are saying could you be over using the nebuliser? I think the best person to talk to about what is going on with you right now would be a respiratory nurse or your doctor if he/she is in understanding of the respiratory situation. The helpline will be open from 10 am tomorrow and you may be able to chat with one of the respiratory nurses when you call, or it can be arrange for someone to call you back.

    Congratulations on stopping smoking, I recall I coughed a good 3 weeks after I stopped and found drinking plenty of water, oranges and peppermints helpful during that time.

    Your chest may be feeling as it is due to the lung infection for which you are taking the anti-biotics, keep on top of that. I am sure you will find once the lung infection is under control and you begin to recover you will start feeling much better in your chest and breathing.

    Try to keep warm during this pending cold spell and don't go out unless you need to. If you can put off your appointment tomorrow re job, it might be as well until you are properly recovered.

    Take care and hope you are feeling much better real soon.

  • thanks

  • Try and get some Olbas Oil from the chemist. You can either put a few drops on a tissue and sniff at that, or get a bowl of hot water and put a few drops in that, then use the towel over the head method to inhale it. You can also put a tissue under the edge of your pillowcase overnight to try and keep your nasal passage clear.

    I have also tried using Frankincense oil in a similar way. all that happened was I got complaints from the wife about it smelling funny. I didn't feel any different at all.

  • It is miserable when you feel so ill. My husband nebulises with saline solution (which he asked the doctor for) - this really helps him get rid of the mucous when he has an infection. He was also given steroids and now is always given them with the antibiotics - it might be worth asking your doctor. I am a great lover of vicks vapo-rub but my husband hates it!

    I can only tell you that my husband felt much worse when he gave up smoking and cursed me a lot for encouraging and insisting!! BUT it has been the best thing in the long run.

    When he has got infections, it can take ages to clear up. Literally months. He can seem to be on antibiotics for ages and feels dreadful but then slowly recovers. It might be an idea to ring the helpline the could offer some advise.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. TAD xx

  • fhanks x

  • sue I am sorry you are having this problem. I have bronchiectasis and produce a lot of mucus but found a brilliant way of clearing it each day. It is a Lung Flute mucus clearing device, if you read my "blog"... My Lung Flute Mucus Clearing Device arrived from Germany, it tells more.

    Anyway, it works for me better than all the other methods I use and is now keeping me clear of infections for the first time in my life, my respiratory consultant is impressed, unfortunately we can't get one from NHS, my gp had not even heard of it before. It cost me about £44 from Germany.

    Try not to worry, there is a lot of good advice on here and hopefully you will soon get control of your condition and be feeling better.


  • Hi Sued, I find your story so sad as I too have been an asthmatic all my life and have been ill for 3 yrs and at times like you, I dispaired of ever having a normal breathing pattern/life again. Do keep of the fags, I gave up 26 yrs ago and I still remember the cough (which I had not had befor) and the chest tightness. It does recede and then you lungs start to recover. Keep at. I saved my ciggy money in a glass jar and wrote holiday fund onto it. Every time I weaked I looke into the cupbd at that jhar and thought No I am not going backward.

    Have you a Consultant and an Asthma nurse. If not why not. At one stage the consultant signed me off as he thought there was northing wrong with me, however, I was so ill I sat in my docs surgery and demanded to be sent to him again. I would have to wait 6wks they said so I asked how much to go private. £180. Fortunately I had the funds, I saw him privately and was sent once again for all the CT scans, xrays, spiro tests etc and finally the new CT scan picked upthat I had bronchiectitis. What a relief to finally have a diagnosis that coud be treated. I havent been depressed since. I now take Zithromycin 3 times weekly and for 6 months I have been wonderfully well. Unfortunely my husband and I caught the flu and for 3 wks we have both been ill. Christmas and New Yr were a blur. but I am beginning to feel better again. At least I know I will not remain like this constantly as before. Once I have stopped my present antibiotics I can go back on the Zithromycin and will feel better. I guess what I am trying to say is Do not dispair, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but do not stop asking for help. I left a message on the answerphone for my Asthma nurse telling her how I was doing and asking her to let me know if I was using my inhalers improperly and 2 days later she rang to see how I was. I was using them properly and every day I am breathing better. Physio for me was just informative, however, I did learn not to cough all the time. Non productive coughing will aggrevate the lungs and cause even more infections. The exercise I was taught for loosening the phlegm is - standing or sitting straight place both hands flat under the bust, breath deeply, hold that breath and release- if there is phlegm there it will work its way up. Your can do this exercise as often as you wish, just gently, it should not hurt. If the phlegm is non productive stop. Take care and I hope you feel better soon. Maximonkey

  • Hello sued, this works for me. I use Olbas oil on a tissue nearly all through the day. But the one devise I have found in my case to be invaluable is a thing called a flutter device. these can be purchased on amazon, not cheap but I certainly wouldn't be without mine. Try not to get down, and a MASSIVE well done with the fags.

  • i bought a flutter device but cant get to grips with it- i think i will have to practice as all it does is make my face quiver so i dont think i have mastered the technique yet

  • Lots of good advice here Sued. Congratulatoins on stopping smoking, and good luck.

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