cwgrl Asked November 2011

My mom has COPD, how long does a person live with just half of their lungs working?

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Mom has been in the hospital for three days now...yesterday I recieved a phone call from her care doctor...he explained to me that her lungs are down to half their power...she has been told for years that she has copd...but I don't think either of us grasped the situation until now. She is at the point now where if she gets a little cough, the weather changes, a cold,...etc..that unless she gets to the doctor rite away, she will be in the hospital. First, this will probably throw her into a panic..so then I am left with deciding if she needs the doctor, or she is just scared, second, this just put my life on a bigger edge!! I don't know anymore then what he told me yesterday...and he was pretty good at explaining..but how long does a person live with just half of their lungs working...is this something we can cope with for a long time, or are they telling me her time is extremely limited...these are hard questions and I am not sure anyone has any answers...but I am hoping to hear from anyone who has dealt with this perticular problem. Do I keep her isolated? Do I just let life take its course and let her decide how to deal with it..I guess I am just in a bit of a panic mode. I just want to understand the personnal aspects of this thing. I am on edge more if I don't know, then if I do know..we both smoke and yes I want to quit but my nerves are on edge now so I am scared of what I will go through if I quit and what I will go through if I don't quit. I don't have a doctor so don't suggest any fancy magic pill to help, I can't afford it, but I am looking for prayer to get me over the quitting part. I did it once for 17 years, but picked it back up after my husband died and believe me when I tell you..it is harder to quit now then before. For her to quit is her decission...she is 83, the damage cannot be reversed and I don't know if she can go through the withdrawal...that one I am leaving up to her and yes I can just quit buying the cigarettes for her, but I am not sure the fight is worth her mental state at this point. I have turned to you guys many times now and you have not lead me wrong, yet...so here I am again...thanx to the responses I recieve ahead of time...ever one of you have been a blessing... April

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Widow44, I had the same problem when I signed up. I received 13 notifications of the same answer! I discontinued all the notifications, waited a few days, then resigned up. Now I just get one notification per post. I did e-mail the Admins but haven't had a response yet.
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Longevity with COPD and with your mother's situation really is dependent on the variables you mentioned, especially the smoking but any other medical conditions as well and her own outlook and personal strength.

But individuals vary, so I would pose this question to her pulmonologist, who may only be able to cite statistics. Jot down questions you want to ask, do some COPD research, then meet with him to develop guidelines for care, especially for emergency care and what constitutes an emergency. At least then you'll have a game plan.

You might also want to ask about the use of a spirometer to strengthen her lungs, as well as whether or not your hospital (or other medical facility) has a pulmonary rehab program. Ours does; patients can go 3x weekly and participate in medically supervised pulmonary exercises.

The fact that Mom would be with others with similar conditions, seeing how they're taking as much control of their lives as possible, might help buoy both of you as you deal with this diagnosis.

While I don't know if this would help with smoking cessation, you might want to find out if the hospital or any cancer treatment facility with which it's associated has an art and/or healing therapy program. I went to art therapy after my sister died of cancer and found it very beneficial, very calming and soothing. Music and pet therapy might also be helpful.

Obviously they don't change the condition and won't necessarily make quitting smoking easier, but they do help control the anxiety of dealing with medical issues.

Good luck!
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pamzimmrrt Apr 2014
Quitting is hard.. I know I've done it many times..LOL And I am a respiratory therapist. If you can't afford meds, look into free help from your local health agencies, like the health department or local hospital. Some easy, free tips to help you slow down.. keep your cigs in the freezer... eat a skittle or jelly bean (just one) when you feel the urge to smoke...or a certs or mint. Brush you teeth instead... any little thing to give the urge a minute to pass might help.Keep the ashtrays clean and smell free..put the cigs in an inconvient place so you have to GO get one, not just grab one. Good luck!!
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widow44 Apr 2014
...quick question for Administrators....why do I keep getting a notification that there's "One new answer" to this same question and then when I click on, there is NONE...they are all the same answers as before!
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alanfosse Apr 2014
thanks guys its good to know that there are poeple that under stand blees you all
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vstefans Apr 2014
No, not at all selfish - but don't give up on enjoying life despite COPD. I will be praying she is not taken away from you any time soon, and I hope she gets the best medical care, equipment, and management for it and does well and feels good for a long time to come. Hugs...
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alanfosse Apr 2014
am i been selfish i an 60 years old saved all my life for my wife and i to enjoy our pension days 5 years ago she was told that she has copd she is one of thoes ladys that always looked after herself i am mad becouse we will not be able to emjoy our last days together and i dont see a life without her but i cannot tell her it breakes my hart we were married she 16 and i 19 i dont know how i will go on without her guys please dont think i am feeling sorry for myself i just dont have any one to talk to and am so scared
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alanfosse Apr 2014
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widow44 Sep 2013
I too have COPD and as it's been said, smoking IS the very first issue that needs to be addressed! I smoked for close to 50 years before quitting. My husband and I had tried many methods over the years to no avail. I've always believed in God but just never went to church regularly nor even prayed regularly! About a year after my husband passed, I was drinking my coffee, and smoking, when I felt compelled to ask God to please take the desire for cigarettes from me. Quitting a habit like this is never really easy, no matter what, but the first thing you need to do is get serious about it! I really don't remember exactly when it was, but I got up one day, lit my cigarette and suddenly I just didn't want it. That was back in 2007 and I haven't smoked since! My main point is, for me, the best "patch" was God Himself. He saw in my heart that I was serious....THIS time; apparently I wasn't as serious as I had thought all those times I had tried in the past (with patches and pills). I was diagnosed with COPD in 2004, but kept smoking. I was a "die-hard" smoker and that's putting it mildly! There was a time when I'd give up eating before I'd quit smoking. When my adult sons suddenly realized one day that I wasn't smoking, they even quit! Actually, they just quit...no pills, no patches and not even any "divine intervention" to my knowledge, even though I'd been praying they'd quit as well! As it's been said, there are many resources out there to help with smoking cessation; prayer worked for me, but I'm not claiming it will for everyone, especially given the fact that not everyone has a belief in God. However, no matter quit smoking, the main thing is quitting! A large part of smoking is a mind set, after all. Some say people gain weight if they stop smoking; I'm here to say that's an old wives' tale...I never did and neither did either of my sons! IF you're convinced in your mind that it will...then it will! Simple as that. I'm sure the suggestion of weight gain has stopped many people from quitting. If you really want to help your mother, quit smoking and help her to do the same. No one lives forever, but I believe life with COPD can be lengthened a little once that "habit" is broken. Actually, I doubt that I'd still be here had I chose to keep smoking and I thank God all the time for saving my life!
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vstefans Sep 2013
50% capacity in neuromusclar diseases is pretty good, most people will not even have symptoms, but some preventive care is in order like always getting flu shots and maybe doing a chest PT program, and reacting more promptly and with more likelhood of getting antibiotc treatment to any infections. It may be a little different with COPD but I do not think 50% is approaching a terminal condition. E cigs or at least the patches are covered under some plans, and some heatlh depts or other resources are available to help with the quitting, which yes, you both ought to do. We lost my daugther's Nana's hubby, sort of a surrogate grandfather to her, to COPD due to smoking...he unfortunately stayed addicted and caring for him while he was on oxygen for the last years of his life put Nana in the hosital with asthma too at leawt once. (Don't get me wrong, kicking smoking is one of the hardest addictions to beat, physiologically speaking) and it really is hard on them and also on others around them who can be made quite ill with smoke as well.
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