I've been on what seems like a very long journey with my mother. She's had COPD for a number of years and gone through several exacerbations. Each one has been more difficult than the last. I've spent a lot of money on a lot of things to help her quit smoking. She's allergic to the patches, hates the gum, tried and quit the vaping, can't use medications because of her current medications. I even shelled out $$ for hypnosis. She said she thought it was working, but just needed a little more. She had one last scheduled session before her last COPD exacerbation coupled with AFib.
They told her in the hospital that she has no choice. She is now a non-smoker. She is on 3LUs of oxygen 24/7 probably for the rest of her life. She is supposed to do nebulizer treatments of albuterol and ipatropium 3-4 times a day, inhaler twice a day, and her 16 other daily medications for heart, BP and other problems. Smoking at this point = death and I've told her this repeatedly. She can smoke or she can live.
Today, she lost a friend. I know that she is grieving and its understandable. I've been delicate in approaching it. Unfortunately, she's used this as a reason for not being compliant with her treatments/meds. I called her at 8:30am, she had not done her first treatment. By 3:30, when I called her again, she still had not done the first of the three minimum daily treatments. She also spent 1.5 hours off the oxygen when she came back from an appointment.
Then I saw it. I have cameras in her apartment at the request of her doctors. If they were not there, she would have to go into a facility. This was the compromise so that I could check on her to make sure she's doing what she's supposed to be doing with respect to her treatments, meds and the like. Otherwise she would need a full time companion to watch her for these things. So here's what I saw. After my phone call at 3:30 she sat down in a chair with her back to the camera. Took off the canula, and went out to the patio balcony. Her tubing for the oxygen concentrator is ample in length (25ft) and will go to the patio. I've seen her out there with the oxygen on before on multiple occasions. So I know there is NO reason to take off the canula to go outside. I believe she went out to smoke. There is no camera outside. When she returned 5-7 minutes later, she put the canula back on and sat in the chair before returning to her recliner to do her breathing first breathing treatment.
As much time, effort, energy and money that I have put into making sure she is as healthy as she can be, safe, and as independent as possible, I am feeling a bit angry right now after seeing this. I get that she is sad. But all it takes is one to start the habit again. I'm kind of feeling a bit betrayed that she doesn't seem to care that she's gambling with her life. It seems like I care more than she does about whether she lives. I know she doesn't want to die but it just doesn't seem to sink in that she's going to die if she continues to smoke, sooner rather than later. Should I be this angry over her smoking? Should I giver her a pass as long as its just this one time because she's grieving over her friend? Is it a waste of time to even bring it up with her? Chances are she'll just lie, and even if she doesn't she's just going to make excuses. Am I completely off base here in feeling this way? At the pace of her decline in health over the past seven years, she will be lucky to make it 70. I mean it seems like she's possibly already at end stage COPD at this point. I don't think she'll survive another exacerbation. At the same time, I'm reaching a point of frustration where if she doesn't care enough to help keep herself alive, why should I fight the inevitable?