I'm new here, but many of the stories resonate pretty strongly... I was diagnosed with COPD, asthma, emphysema about 15 years ago, and off & on do pretty well usually. I've had a few times that I've had to take prednisone, but until recently I only used a steroid inhaler, Q-Var 2x/day and a rescue inhaler occasionally. I'm almost 67, smoked for about 37 years and quit "cold turkey" when I was 54... (My Dad died at 55 from emphysema, etc.). I'm not doing as well recently - I asked my doctor for a prescription for a nebulizer, and that helps some, but... I'm actually looking for a different doctor (I had Kaiser Permanente insurance when I was diagnosed, but now have insurance with another company and new doctors) I've never seen a pulmonologist, so I have no idea of my "Stage", or of other tests or treatments available. My doctor just doesn't take me or my condition seriously. I bought a pulse oximeter and use it a few times a day - my O2 ranges from (occasionally) 80 to about 92, usually in mid to high 80's. Of course, when they check it at the doctor's I've been just sitting waiting for 10 or 15 minutes, so it's as high as it will ever get, 93 or 94! I can really relate to the stress from personal family matters. My Mom is 96, and lived with me for 15 years until a year ago when she fell & broke her rt. hip and rt. wrist. She flew through ortho surgery, and was transferred to a "skilled nursing/rehab" facility, and in less than a week they had literally ruined her feet. (They didn't "float" her heels, aids pulled her across the sheets with heels dragging, and she was totally helpless to move. In less than 5 days both heels were black and "necrotic". She has really bad circulation in her legs/feet, and they dragged pressure stockings ("TEDS") on and off carelessly and severely tore the tops of her feet open. Needless to say, I had her transferred to a good facility, but the damage was done and she had to have wound care/dressing changes every other day for over 6 months. She ended up with a huge ulcer with exposed tendon on top of one foot where the worst damage originally hadn't healed, and had a bypass (successful!) below her knee to establish circulation, followed in 10 days by another surgery to remove 3" of exposed tendon. Then she got MRSA from the hospital, and had to go to another facility for daily infusions of antibiotics for 5 weeks... It's been a year this month, and two weeks ago the wound care clinic finally announced her last wound (left heel) was healed (although always vulnerable). She's now in a nursing home, unable to take care of herself and in a wheel chair, depressed and bored (mentally she's pretty intact, which is almost a deficit with her current situation). I visited her every day for 2-3 hours for almost 10 months, in addition to about 1 1/2 hours RT travel time. I now see her about 4 days/week, because I just have to have some time myself. Her life the past year has literally been Hell, and I have to say mine hasn't been a lot better. Now I'm having serious problems breathing, even crossing the house to let my dog in or out... I'm pretty sure my oxygen levels aren't helping anything, because I'm getting pretty forgetful sometimes (like my best friend's last name?!), but most of all I'm wondering whether this could also be the cause of my recent serious leg stiffness, and bad pain in joints generally, but worst in my legs and knees. (My knees have had several surgeries each, but somehow haven't hurt until now...) I'm sure the extra weight I've gained in this last year doesn't help either! I just feel like crap most of the time, and wish I didn't even have to get out of bed... Anyway, It's just me to handle all this, as well as paying and tracking mountains of Mom's bills from medical and nursing facilities, pharmacies, individual doctors' bills, etc. There isn't anyone else to help with anything, just the two of us, but with as bad as I'm starting to feel I've given up on any hope of every bringing her home... I just couldn't handle it. (I'm sorry this ended up so long - just seemed to pour out!)
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