Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, May 02, 2010 Brenda Case, Community Member, asks

Q: What Are The Signs Of End Stage COPD

MY Husband Has Been Told By His Dr. At Hospice That He Is IN The End Stage Of COPD.. I Would Like To Know If There Are Signs For Me To Look For. I Care For Him At Home . We Have Been Married 43 YRS> I JUST WANT SOME ANSWERS> ANSWERS THAT Will Help Me .CAN ANY ONE DR> ETC GIVE ME SOME ANSWERS ON THIS ONE QUESTION PLEASE.

STAGES OF COPD.

 

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Answers (2)
Kathi MacNaughton, Health Pro
5/ 2/10 4:12pm

Hi Brenda... It's so hard to get news like that and yet be left mostly in the dark about what it means. However, being labeled as end-stage COPD does not necessarily mean death is just around the corner. People can go on to live with that label for months or even years. The body is highly adaptable, especially as related to breathing capabilities, and the human will also plays a part. So no one can say exactly how long a COPD patient has once he or she enters the "end stage." So you may want to go back to the hospice staff or doctor and ask for more specific answers about what they meant. It's always OK to ask questions!

 

My mom is dealing with some of these same issues. She sees herself going downhill daily, although she has not yet reached the hospice stage like your husband. She recently asked her doctor how she would know when the end was coming, and the doctor's answer was that she would be able to tell. Not much of an answer, but it did seem to calm my mom's fears.

 

However, I thought this was an important issue, so I wrote a post about it yesterday, which has not yet been published by the HealthCentral editors. Should be soon, though. Meanwhile, you may want to read an article Dr. David Kaufman did here back at the beginning of March:

Progression of Emphysema: How Do You Know It's Near the End?

 

That article will help you understand what's going on inside your husband's body and some of the signs to look for as he deteriorates.

 

I also found some descriptions from caregivers of the final days and hours with their loved ones before death which were helpful. It seemed that their loved ones became less and less mobile, remaining in bed more and more, eating and drinking less and struggling to breathe pretty much constantly. Most found that hospice was useful, especially in administering frequent morphine to control the air hunger, or gasping for breath, that was so common. Many saw their loved ones either lose consciousness or get foggier mentally in the final days/hours.

 

I hope some of that helps you. You have a tough road ahead of you. No matter how prepared you are, it's going to be hard to lose your mate of 43 years. So take care of yourself during this difficult time and don't be afraid to reach out to others for support.

 

My thoughts and prayers are with you... Kathi

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lisa marie, Community Member
5/12/11 8:07am

my mom has emphysema copd she wont go to the doctor she tired shortness of breath hasnt eat in 3 days harding drinks liqiuds cant hold her head up much she has had diahea for 1 day after that she lay i watch her to try to breath she has a hard time breathing she weigh 70 pounds ive try everything to get her to the doctor she wont i coughs alot and some craps come up she is a smoker many years put she hasnt smoke for 3 day i dont know what to do help me lisa

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By Brenda Case, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/12/11, First Published: 05/02/10