Coping with severe COPD in elderly parent.
I am caregiver to my 84 yr old dad who has severe COPD. He is on O2 24/7 but take it off to smoke when docs told him to quit. I see how his health has dwindled in the past 4 months....he isn't hungry but will eat starchy foods, quick snacks like donuts and chocolate and chips then once in awhile he will eat a big meal. He is supposed to take albuterol nebulizer 4x daily but doesn't do it. I tell him it will help his breathing but he just says "I know". Doc suggested Hospice 3 weeks ago but we haven't done it yet and I'm wondering if it will help. Dads o2 levels have been low, sometimes saturation at 76% with a 39 to 132 heart rate! I told him that because of his severity of this disease that an o2 % of 85+ is good so he thinks he can smoke more and take 02 off more and for longer periods. He said last night he took oxygen off at 3am and didn't put it back on until 8am as his ears were sore even though he has the foam ear pieces on canula. He can hardly walk 15 feet without losing air even with 02 on! the other day he was walking 5 feet from kitchen to chair and had a mis- step and almost fell and he said it was his ankle that gave out. Nope, I saw what happened and it wasn't. His memory is failing as he asks me the same thing about every 1/2 to hour and his main focus is when his next doc appt is! He does nothing all day except watch tv, move from chair to chair and rarely bathes unless we have appts.
I work 2 days a week for 6 hours and leave him food to eat like sandwiches or leftovers from night before yet he doesn't eat when I'm gone and waits for me to feed him when I get home. That means sometimes he wont eat for 7 or 8 hours and I know that doesn't help his condition. My dad is the type of man who believes that women take care of inside of house and men do the outside. Well he can't do anything at all!! Frustrating and tiresome that I do everything and I mean everything!!!
We see our pulmonary doc on the 28th and I wonder if it is time to get Hospice in here. He is getting frustrating for me to help him as he chooses to do whatever he wants and maybe its because he feels he is dying? Idk. To see him like this is hard for me as I remember when he was healthy and doing all sorts of things. Now he is weak, coughs a lot, sneezes, has times where he moans while trying to get breath and still doesn't "breathe IN his nose and OUT his mouth" so I feel the o2 therapy is pointless with all the other crap he is doing wrong. His ankles swell a lot even though he is on Lasix & he is always constipated. He feels the need to drink warm drinks like coffee w/creamer to break up the mucus in his throat. He take muscinex twice daily too and drinks cough syrup about 5-6 times a day. And still smokes!!!
I do not think I am a good caregiver as he doesn't try to help himself no matter what I do to help and sometimes I just tell him "whatever, it's your life and if you want a good one then you'll do the right thing". He still doesn't and his disease is killing me just watching him dwindle. He went from 190 lbs 6 wks ago to 173 lbs. His lower body is muscle-less and upper body is round and he breathes from his stomach. Not sure if I can do this much longer all by myself. My sisters live in other states and have family of their own and has issues with dad from 20 + years ago so getting any help is pointless. I have children also and they live in different states and I can't go visit as I can't leave dad alone. I did go to Vegas in December for 4 days to visit a friend but I have been here taking care of him since June and the only break I get is my 2 day a week job. I don't think I am cut out to do this for years all by myself. One sister says put him in home and get back to my life....hard to do and it sounds so mean to do, but sometimes I think good idea so I can get a break...
I know there are support groups out there but I'd have to leave him now & again and that would worry me. It worries me when I'm at work also so I feel trapped and lost and angry and frustrated and want it to be over now. He has no good quality of life & this is sad to watch.
Thanks for listening and being there.