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    Old 12-03-2014, 10:48 PM   #1
    alh89
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    Unhappy Advice

    Hello everyone

    I am new to this board. I made an account because my father who has had MS for over 25 years has been having some trouble lately and I am hoping to get some insight and advice on how to help him. The past month or so he has began to have coughing fits in the morning, and more recently in the evening as well. He coughs and coughs to get the phlegm up out of his throat. This process completely exhausts him to the point where he is nauseated, and has no appetite or energy to even speak for a good part of the day.

    Just some more history...He is mostly bed ridden, occasionally he gets out of bed but its become less and less frequent. He does have a hospital type bed that allows him to be more erect. This somewhat helps with this coughing fits but not much.

    Has anyone dealt with or had a family member suffer from this sort of situation? His doctor doesn't' seem to have answers and it is so hard to watch him suffer through this each day.

    Thank you in advance to anyone who reads this and has some insight.

     
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    Old 12-04-2014, 04:08 AM   #2
    MSNik
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    Re: Advice

    Hi ALH89,
    Welcome to healthboards. Im sorry you are having to watch your dad go through this. Coughing fits are not part of MS. Its not related, however with a bed ridden person who doesnt get much activity, its highly likely that he could be getting pneumonia, bronchitis or even COPD from inflammed bronchials, causing both the flem and the coughing fits. You said "his doctor doesnt know". What type of doctor is this and has the doctor actually seen him and listened to his chest or taken a sputum sample to find out if this is bacterial?
    This isnt something you want to wait and see on. Bacterial infections in the chest in the elder population can be serious~ and even though he has MS~ and its not directly related, his immune system is compromised and it can become a more serious infection (if its an infection) quickly. He would need antibiotics to fight it and get stronger.
    Can you get your dad to a doctor? Do you have one which makes house calls? If the answer is definitively no, you might consider calling an ambulance to get him to the ER and have him really checked out. Coughing in itself isnt serious, MS by itself isnt life threatening, but an infection with both of those conditions, can truly become a much more serious issue overnight.
    I dont mean to scare you. Theres just as good a chance that this is nothing more than a cold or hes having a rough patch as far as breathing goes, triggering the cough, but since you are asking, my advice is to definately get him to a good general doctor (not the neuro in this case) or a Pulmonary doctor, who can listen to his lungs and run the correct sample tests.
    I hope you both have better days ahead!
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    Old 12-04-2014, 08:05 AM   #3
    Snoopy61
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    Re: Advice

    Hi alh89,

    I am sorry to hear about your Dad :-(

    You might try to get him into see his Neurologist. It is possible, due to Multiple Sclerosis, not to have the strength to get Phlegm up. Your Dad's Primary Care Physician may also be able to help with this difficulty.

    Best wishes.

     
    Old 12-04-2014, 09:07 AM   #4
    MSJayhawk
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    Re: Advice

    alh89,

    Welcome.

    Your father's description fits me to a "T". For the past few years my coughing fits have increased. They last 1 - 1.5 hours after getting out of bed. Previously I controlled the cough by elevating my upper body in bed. I still do. My MS Specialist had my throat checked to make sure it was not acid reflux, it was not.

    For the past year the cough has started each morning and some in the evening. My MS Specialist told me to treat it if there is any blood from the coughing which causes bleeding in my throat. She gave me some home remedies, but these are only if I need them. I have not used them yet.

    I have found that physically getting up and moving about will trigger the coughing, but it gets better and goes away for most of the day. Standing, walking, and sitting upright do me best. I have a seat back reclined up to 45 degrees without a problem.

    I have also found ice cold water helps me throughout the day. You might also see if there are any foods which after or during consumption trigger coughing. For me, I have eliminated these foods.

    He does need to get out of bed. At the very least, a power chair or a nice recliner chair. The more he moves and stretches, the better things will be. I am in my 38th year of MS. My doctor tells me to never stop moving or stretching. It makes a difference.

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    Old 12-04-2014, 10:55 AM   #5
    alh89
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    Re: Advice

    Thank you everyone for your replies. His primary physician does home visits frequently. He has listened to his chest, says his heart is strong, no shortness of breath or any other symptoms indicating a respiratory infection. It's mostly just That he doesn't have the strength to get the phlegm out of his system quickly and it ends up tiring him out for hours at a time. I'm going to keep an eye on him so that my mother and I can continue to pass information on to his doctor. We live in a northern community so he doesn't have a specialist or neurologist that is near by.

     
    Old 12-04-2014, 05:17 PM   #6
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    Re: Advice

    Alh89.
    Im glad you are on top of this. Maybe you can speak to his visiting doctor about some home remedies to help break up the phlehm? I know that my doctor prescribes hot water and lemon as well as any non caffeninated hot drinks to my father, who has chronic COPD and has similar problems. My dad also has a nebulizer (breathing machine) which helps open up his airways and keeps the stuff from congealing in his lungs. He uses a drug in it called Abuterol. Maybe worth asking about?
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    Old 12-05-2014, 03:50 PM   #7
    Snoopy61
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    Re: Advice

    Hi alh89,

    It sounds like your Dad's Dr. has done a good job ruling out possible causes. When no other cause can be found for a health problem in a person with MS then Multiple Sclerosis being the cause is more than likely than not.

    If possible please try and get your Dad into a Neurologist for the best evaluation and treatment.

    Take care!

     
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