How do I get my dad to go to the ER or his doctor? He's advanced COPD and I think he may have pneumonia. He's scared & stubborn. Help!??

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He's putting his head in the sand isn't he. Unfortunately it's the first thing that many people think, ignore it and it will go away. But we all know that's not the reality. If it were my dad, I'd sit him down and tell him how much I love him. I'd tell him that he knows in his heart he needs to be seen by a doctor. I'd remind him of when you were a kid and got sick, you sure didn't want to go to the doctor did you? But he knew that even though you were scared, he had to take you to see one didn't he? Now is the time for you to be the one that reminds him of when HE had to make those decisions for you. He did it out of love for you, now it's your turn. Acknowledge that you know he's worried, just validate his feelings. Then take him to the doctor. Good luck.
Thanks, Naheaton. I said most of those things. He grabbed the arms of his recliner and insisted he was better than yesterday, and he wanted to wait until he got worse (!!). I almost backed down, but then he started coughing. I called 911 while he fumed at me, and the EMTs convinced him to go to the ER. I could have hugged them. They admitted him with pneumonia.
This on the same day I had to arrange for hospice for my mom (she's in a nursing home). I'm pooped. But I'm glad I found this website and I was so glad to hear from someone. Thank you again!
Top Answer
Get yourself a pulse oximeter - you can find them online (I think I got ours at or something like that) for about $50. When my father complains of feeling extra short of breath I can use the pulse oximeter to check his O2 levels. If they are in the 80's or lower - you need to go to the hospital. Perhaps if you had one of these at home and your father saw how low his oxygen was he'd be more willing to get the medical attention he needs. This has really helped me and my father. He went in pneumonia late December, the beginning of January and the end of February. The pulse oximeter helped me determine that he needed to go to the ER (helped convince him too!). After 3 hospitalizations so close together the docs determined he has a swallowing disorder where he is aspirating thin liquids into his lungs thus the frequent pneumonia. Now he has to eat a soft diet and drink thickened liquids which has helped. Good luck - sometimes you just need to call 911 whether they like it or not.
Thanks - we bought him one when he came home from the hospital. His lungs still aren't clear, but he won't go back to the ER, so his doctor gave him another round of antibiotics. The oximeter has become his new toy-unfortunately when he sees his level rise to 92 he takes off the oxygen! As soon as he walks down the hall, his level drops to 78-80 and he puts the oxygen back on. We've come to a kind of truce but he knows I'll call 911 again if I have to.
I have severe asthma and part of the reason I put off going to the doctor is the blood gas test which is painful and the fact I know very little will probably change.
The cure is sometime worse than the illness, to be very frank. Try to help your Dad find ways to be in control of his COPD. This can be done if you use a pulse oxygen meter, a peak flow meter, and checklists. Also the energy it takes when you are very ill to get dressed and go to the doctor does not seem worth it sometimes. I suggest that you tell the doctor to limit the blood gas tests unless they have not choice. Then, get a respiratory therapist to help you set up a plan over which your Dad can have some control. COPD is exhausting and depressing. Try to avoid the ER and stick with the doctor who can do less invasive testing. After all, if you can't breath, the solutions are there for a doctor. Tell your Dad to write to me for empathy if you need a rest. I am only 56, never smoked anything, and struggle to breath every day. I will pray for you and your Dad daily. Rebecca

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