Husband out of hospital-any advice on... - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

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Husband out of hospital-any advice on getting a good night 's sleep please


Good morning all,

Hope your weather is as nice and sunny as it is here in Bromley, Kent.

Brian was discharged from hospital on Saturday.He is on a long course of antibiotics to clear this nasty abscess and is due back at the hospital on 24th for a check up and, hopefully will be well enough to start having the Erlotinib.

He is still coughing up a great deal which is good as it is getting rid of the phlegm. The problem is at night; neither of us are getting much sleep. We have a pillow lifter being delivered today which, hopefully will help him to sit more upright in bed.

I wonder whether any one has any suggestions on getting a better night's sleep. He has some simple linctus and a sleeping pill but neither seem to make much difference.

Would having a steam inhalation with Vick help do you think?

Thank you.

Much love

Sandra xx

7 Replies

Hi Sandra pillow elevator might help being upright helps, there are medications that can help to suppress cough but these may not be appropriate if there is ongoing infection. Also you don't say if the sputum is easy or difficult to cough up. It would be worth you contacting your lung cancer nurse or go to discuss options. Cough exercises and/or nebulised saline might help but you need to discuss it with those who have full medical records to hand. Make sure room is ell ventilated and no potential irritants aground, perfumes air freshened ect. Hope a good nights sleep finds you soon

sandra123 in reply to lucykate7

Thank you so much Lucykate.x

Hi Sandra,

My daughter who is asthmatic suffers similar symptoms during an episode which can result in several nights poor sleep. Unfortunately the irritant which makes you cough and the coughing up phlegm, is exhausting in itself. And it always seems that just as you fall back to sleep it starts again. A pillow elevator does help a bit, but doesn't always make the most comfortable way to sleep. The doctors used to recommend (as a short term fix) plugging a kettle in in the room to create some steam but you would need to check with a nurse whether this would be wise, I think you can also buy room vaporisers which do the same thing. A drink of hot water with honey and lemon was always seemed to help, we used to get a four hour stretch after that! I say we because I always slept next to her during these episodes, she had been hospitalised several times, and it was easier to be next to her and try and get some sleep than keep running from my room!

Good luck, I hope you both get some quality sleep soon x

hi sandra

so glad to see brian is home.

nans oncologist told us to give her co codomol at night to help suppress the wheezing and coughing, not sure if it works or if its just coincedence that the coughing isnt as bad.

take care of yourself and i hope the sleepless nights improve


nancy xxx

sandra123 in reply to nancyjane

Thank you Nancy. I wasn't sure whether you can take Co-codamol with antibiotics so I gave him 2 paracetamols instead. As you say, it may be a coincedence but we both certainly got a better night's sleep as Brian didn't cough nearly so much.

Thank you again. How is your Nan and yourself doing?

Much love

Sandra x

nancyjane in reply to sandra123

hi sandra

nana isnt too bad. up and down days.

still have the nurse coming in to dress her leg which is still very sore and painful.

she hasn't much of an appetite at the moment. her taste buds have gone haywire so she cannot taste anything. has this happened to Brian?

off to hospital for ct scan tomorrow and to oncologist wednesday for results.

How is Brian doing?


nancy x

sandra123 in reply to nancyjane

Hi Nancy

So sorry for the delay in my reply.Well, the paracetamols certainly helped our bad nights. Also pleased to report that Brian is hardly coughing now and is feeling stronger.Trying to do a little more each day.

Went back to hospital for check up last week and the abscess has shrunk quite a bit. He is a bit anaemic so doctor has recommended a blood transfusion (2 units)- this, hopefully, will boost him up. He is on the antibiotics for another 2/3 weeks, to see the Oncologist on 15/10/12.Fingers crossed she will then put him on the Erlotonib.

His appetite is also not very good but am trying to make sure he gets a good balanced diet,small thought it may be.

Have also been prescribed some fortified drinks (Fortisip) which he enjoys. This were prescribed by the hospice nurse so perhaps you could get some of these for your Nan. He has 2 a day as well as his meals.

How was your Nan's scan and apppointment with the Oncologist? I hope you and she had good results.

Take care, thinking of you.

Sandra x

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