My father was diagnosed with COPD. I'm not sure of the stage, but i do know that he coughs horribly and coughs up lots of phlegm. A couple of months ago he was in his vehicle (luckily he was in park), and he blacked out/fainted. yesterday he was at our house with my family and was having a coughing fit and nearly fainted... he got really dizzy and was about to fall over when my husband and i went to his rescue till he regained his balance.
I asked him how serious the doctors told him his COPD was, but he really doesn't tell me anything. He does say he's on some kind of expensive medication now which is supposed to help him get more oxygen.
I'm wondering what this all means? he's 59 years old. Should i be demanding to go to this next doctor appointment with him? What kinds of questions should i ask him to understand what is happening to him and what will likely happen in the coming few years? To make matters worse.... he still smokes. I know he should stop, he knows he should stop... we've covered that many times, believe me.
Any input outside of "he should stop smoking" is really appreciated...
It sounds like your father has the chronic bronchitis component of COPD, which produces a great deal of mucus and coughing. Your dad is lucky to have such a caring daughter, but he sounds like an independent person who prefers to keep his medical problems private. You can research the above terms for more detailed info.
I also have COPD and know exactly where your dad is coming from. I would get upset if my adult children insisted on coming with me to doctors' appointments, but I am open to answering any questions they have. Possibly your dad is in denial and not sure what stage of COPD he is in (i.e., mild, moderate, severe or very severe). Also, he probably has a great deal of guilt re the smoking. I certainly agree there is no point in discussing that issue. I quit smoking 8 years ago, but hate that I brought this on myself.
Don't "nag" him about stopping smoking. We all have done it to our parents. I lived with my mother the last 6 years of her COPD. We always wanted her to stop smoking. In the end, it'll just make you feel guilty. She had her last cigarette 30 minutes before she became inpatient at a Hospice house! He'll stop if he wants to, but as mom would say, "they've given me a death sentence, why quit now?" Chances are, your dad's been given the same crappy news (be it the end could be 10 years away). Take this time to listen to his stories. Use the last years to get those receipes you always wanted. Make sure he has his favorite dinner A LOT. This isn't about the end, it's about Truly enjoying him. Learn the things you want to learn that only he can teach you (how to change a toilet, how to fix a lawn mower, etc...). Does he have rescue inhalers? When he goes into a coughing fit, he really should have one on hand always. They'll instantly open his bronchial tubes and allow more oxygen in. Just tell him that you heard it on the radio or something and that it's small enough to fit in a pocket (so he won't feel stupid carrying one around). Keep posting here. Many of us have or have had parents with COPD. You'll need a place to vent where other people know your frustration with the illness. The stages are weird and could take YEARS (hopefully) to affect your dad. Vent, get it out. It's better to do it to strangers than to family members who will remember.