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just wondering what to look for
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just wondering what to look for

My mother has COPD, including emphysema from smoking. She is still sneaking cigarettes (Sherman's and those black box clove things). We moved her in with us due to other health problems and her lack of energy from the COPD. Now I'm stuck with her (yes, that doesn't sound very nice of me but you try living with your annoying mother for 2 years and you will say it too) and am wondering how this whole thing is going to play out over the next few years. She is always out of breath when she gets up in the morning, even though she has been on an oxygen concentrator all night. I know from reading that eventually there will be a CO2 problem when her lungs can't get rid of it anymore. I'm just wondering what the early signs of CO2 poisoning are. I know there is supposed to be confusion and such as it progresses. Mom doesn't seem to have that, just slipping memory and lack of energy, plus the shortness of breath. I guess what I'm really trying to do is gauge the progression of her disease, since she regularly lies to her doctor. At her worst (the last time she was hospitalized, two years ago), she makes a funny sound when she exhales. She hasn't done that much this year, which seems like a good thing, but I've begun noticing that morning breathlessness and am wondering if she is better, worse, or about the same. And no, I can't ask her, because she lies to me and we don't get along that well (mostly due to her living with me and being very dependent on me before she moved in, while maintaining a pissy independence that has more to do with denial than her actually doing stuff for herself).
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The morning hypoxia is not really something you can go by, in my case it was the very first sign there was a problem. Two hours and a couple of cups of coffee later I'd be fine.

As for the hypercapnia (CO2 retention), that is almost certainly already going on, and here is the best guideline I have found: Symptoms of early hypercapnia, where arterial carbon dioxide pressure, PaCO2, is elevated but not extremely so, include flushed skin, full pulse, extrasystoles, muscle twitches, hand flaps, reduced neural activity, and possibly a raised blood pressure. In severe hypercapnia (generally PaCO2 greater than 100 hPa or 75 mmHg), symptomatology progresses to disorientation, panic, hyperventilation, convulsions, unconsciousness, and eventually death.

Hopefully, some of the families of COPD patients on here can help you with achieving household harmony. :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you. I will keep my eye out for that stuff.
Living with a COPD person can be frustrating, especially if it is a parent. She has to have a bunch of stuff out in the open, at waist to eye level, so as to not use energy doing anything. Since she is already a clutterer and I am a neat freak, we have a basic living difference. I try to keep her stuff contained to her areas while she is constantly expanding. Plus she picked up some really bad habits when she was living alone, especially reusing dishes and cups to avoid washing them, which is just stupid considering that she doesn't have much of an immune system due to lymphoma that is in remission.
She has a history of hiding increasing health problems until ending up in the hospital, which is why I just watch her for symptoms. I just feel kind of lost in this neverending situation, not knowing if she is really getting worse slowly or currently holding her own. I do know that eventually the disease will reach a point that causes her to be noticeably struggling and more dependent. The other aspects of her health improved so much when we moved her in, that I went from thinking she only had a couple of years left at best to wondering if she will outlive me because I'm going to throw myself off a cliff due to living with my mother indefinitely.
Most of this stuff I just complain about occasionally over at the caretakers forum, but I really do need visual assessment information and I thank you for that again.
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If you don't mind me asking how old is your mother? I would hold a family meeting to distribute the chores aroung the house. You need to let her do as much as you can for herself. It helps her with her exercise and her breathing no matter if it takes all day or 5 minutes. Your not helping her by catering to her. Maybe a little sitting area in her bedroom with her T.V. and her recliner her little antiques around her would keep her comfortable and confined more often in her space.Drop her at the adult center for your day off it helps I've been there I know what your going through. My mother was a spoiled grownup child,she was killing me slowly.I finnally looked her in the eyes and told her if I die your going to end up without any help so if this continues I will put you in an adult home tha way I'll be alive and can come visit everyday.Now she helps me with house work is tired by 7;30 in bed asleep and gives me alone time. P.S. I didn't have monies to put her in HOME but she didn't have to know that. Hope something helps Good Luck
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Avatar_f_tn
Mom is 75. I appreciate your suggestions, but they won't work with my mother. She stopped doing ANY chores years ago, when she was still living alone. She wouldn't even walk down the stairs to take her dog out to pee. The poor dog ended up peeing on the floor sometimes because she couldn't wait anymore. Any time ANYBODY came by her apartment, she asked them to take the dog down to pee.
After she got out of the hospital and nursing facility last time, she went through a 6 week pulmonary rehab program with the top therapist in the country. The day she finished it, she stopped doing all the extra exercise and started smoking again. She will not change, and I can't deal with the kind of uproar and hostility that would occur if I tried to MAKE her do something besides crossword puzzles. And my mother wouldn't be caught dead in an adult center.
I am resigned to the "annoying roommate" problem and being the housekeeper, cook, etc. My younger sister has been helping me with coping strategies for the anger and hostility I feel from this neverending situation. Mostly I'm just enduring, but also wondering when the next step down in health will cause a change in the situation. I just have to wait and see, and try not to let her get me down.
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel so sorry for you, you need to get out more maybe for the week end, and if she cant stay alone you said you had a sister. Tell her to step up. My mother died of lung cancer, i kept her home awhile, so I know what your talking about, my brother just had surgery for lung cancer(63) my sister has copd(54) and I have copd(57) we all caused it from smoking, we have all quit, to little to late LOL  so I try not to take out my days of hatfulness out on my family. And I will never allow myself to live with my kids. But thats me. But from exsperience if you dont take care of yourself and get a break once in awhile you will grow to hate her then love her. and wish it was all over.That sounds terrible but its the truth. I can tell you it will get worse and unless you have some support it will be very hard to deal with. Ill be praying for you and your mom. Quinncy1
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Unfortunately my sister lives in Alaska (both sisters actually). I've tried talking mom into going up there for a while (she was born there and still has two sisters up there), but she doesn't want to travel anymore, except for one more "fun" trip to Europe next year, with sister and her husband doing all the hauling and arranging with wheelchairs and portable oxygen concentrator.
Part of mom's problem is that several times she has thought she was going to die, but she's still here. waiting. That's what it feels like anyway. First the two rounds of cancer, either of which could have killed her but didn't. Then severe GI problems, resulting in her getting down to 74 pounds and repeated hospitalizations. But she bounced back from all of it and is now "relatively" healthy except for the copd. She weighs over 90 pounds now and hasn't been catching every bug that comes along. Just slow progression on the copd.
Because she is still smoking, and because she hides symptoms whenever possible, my only real clue that she has progressed further with the illness will probably be some sort of respiratory incident this winter, hopefully not another round of pneumonia. Part of me is thinking she will never make it to the late stages of emphysema because she will have some fatal respiratory event before she gets that far. Her lungs are weak already, and she went through several emergency hospitalizations a few years ago due to respiratory distress.
So here I have a relatively healthy "sick" mom, with all of her faculties and none of her energy, who sneaks cigarettes all day long, as well as wearing a patch, who won't give me any info if she is feeling worse, and who will either die abruptly from one of the acute respiratory incidents or will simply decline over who knows how many years, needing more and more help.
So my "reward" for putting my life on hold to move her in with us will be to watch her die up close instead of hearing it from a phone call. yay.
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On 9/6/08 I had a respiratory arrest...my lungs were completely filled with CO2 so there was no more room for any oxygen. Had just enough time to call 911 and was brought back.  All the symptoms your mother has, I had.  I was diagnosed with COPD 2 years ago and continued to smoke. I started losing weight at the beginning of the year no matter how much I ate. I was surprised to find out that all the calories I was taking in were being used just to breathe.  I just turned 65 on 10/7 and haven't had a smoke since my arrest. It's a shame I had to die to quit smoking!!! But, it worked. If your mother won't quit smoking there is nothing you can do or say that will make her quit. I knew I wasn't supposed to smoke and the week before my arrest I was working on a wean off program (which was just another excuse to not quit completely). Just before I arrested my symptoms were continous wheezing, coughing my guts out every morning bringing up gobs of mucus (sounds gross & it was), memory lapses, only enough energy to go to work and any energy I had at work was being used up quicker as each day went by. From what you describe I question if your thoughts about what you have to watch for in the next few years is an accurate question. It sounds like your mother isn't destined to make it that long. Sorry to be so blunt, but I've been there, seen it, done it. But didn't have enough other serious medical problems to hinder my recovery from the COPD. I wish you the best - you are in the same position my children were and I am so sorry now for what I put them thru but I am lucky enough that I was able to tell them how badly I feel for that.
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I am going to do some tought love talking. If you don't want to read it, fine with me. You say your mother goes no-where. Won't go outside. SO.......who is buying her cigarettes?
She has to be getting them from somewhere. I sincerely hpe you are not!! Is a friend bringing them in for her?  Tell that friend she cannot visit your house if she/he is bringing in cigarettes. I know that can be a hard and frustrating thing to do, and you would probably catch he** from your mom. But you can give her the choice of moving out if she doesn't like your putting your foot down. I wish I had my mom alive to be tough with. She died of complications of Alzheimers. Much more heartbreaking than any other disease I know of.

I really sense your frustration. Can you hire someone to come in and mom-sit? You aren't doing your own health any good, too much stress can cause a great many ills.

Best Wishes.
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Again, I really appreciate the comments and suggestions. Let me explain about my mother. She does go places sometimes (has a few regular social things), and has her own car. She drives about 5 miles per month. Won't give up the car but avoids driving whenever possible and won't go further than the store around the corner or her friend around another corner. She has a dog, so is forced to take short walks every day (she tried to get me to do it and I refuse to take care of her dog). We signed a no smoking contract for our rental home, so she has been forced since we moved in to walk around the block to smoke (she also smokes on the front porch but my husband harrasses her whenever he sees her doing that). My husband and I joke that at least the dog and her stupid cigarettes force her to walk, though having a cigarette every time she walks around the block pretty much cancels out the exercise.
If we leave for a few days, mom is fine on her own, but her habits are so bad that I don't like to be gone more than a few days. If I am not here, she will eat and drink from dirty plates and cups, and eat room temp food that she has let sit out. Plus she trashes the house with her little piles and dirty dishes and dabs of uncovered food in the fridge. Plus, when I was gone for several weeks in the summer (I spent a month arranging help, putting food in freezer, getting a housekeeper, etc) she started smoking in the house. These are all the behaviors that caused her to get so run down and sick before we moved her in with us.
She goes around the corner to the store for her cigarettes. She knows better than to ask me to get them. For a while, when she was still trying to pretend she wasn't smoking, I would throw away her cigarettes and steal her lighters, but I've given up. She is going to kill herself with the stupid things no matter what I say or do. She is strong willed and addicted. And in denial about what a lousy way to die emphysema is.
She's not one of those vague little old ladies I can drop at the senior center. She won't do ANYTHING that smacks of senior babysitting. I'm just thankful that apparently my sister got through to her about sitting in the living room all day and evening every day, which wasn't exactly fair to my husband and me. Now she spends more time in her room (she has satellite tv, dvd, etc), and I fixed up a hideout in the garage to help me get through winter.
Basically I'm stuck with an annoying roommate mom in a really small house until she dies. I did look up more emphysema info, and at least it is more likely that she will just keel over from respiratory arrest than have a long drawn out decline (she's that "pink puffer" type that is skinny, with 3 respiratory collapses already). Basically, she's just sitting around doing crossword puzzles and waiting to die. She does still do a little gardening, but mostly just makes more yard work for me.
I'm really just frustrated that I'm stuck indefinitely in a situation that is best for my mom but not for us, that the only way out is for her to die, and that I just have to live with a stable but annoying situation, that I won't have a sex life until she's gone, that everything I do and every decision I make has to take her into account, that all my holidays will be taken over by her, that having visitors is not fun (she always asks my visitors to run errands, or asks me because I tend to go out more when I have visitors), that I have to put up with  her stupid barking dog because she is also a lousy pet owner, that I have to live with a mom that I prefer would live in a different town than I do.
I feel bad that this situation has caused me to have mostly negative feelings about my mother. I am dealing with it better now than I did last winter. I have to. Like you said, stress is a killer, and I have been working on stress coping strategies to keep myself sane and healthy.
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You have your hands full! Your last post was very enlightening for many reasons. First, I sounds like you are allowing Mom to control you..why? Guilt? Pity? Fear? Your first step might be to take the control back.
AA has a prayer that fits your situation: "God grant me the serentiy to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can"  Mom is not going to let you change very many things about her, so you need ot accept that nothing you can do or say will make her any different.  But, you can change how you react to her!
You absolutely need to make and take time for yourself.  You said Mom won't do anything that smacks of senior babysitting. Well, she is living in your home ( messing it up, eating your food, etc.  If you want to do something to get out and about and bring in a senior "babysitter" she has nothing to say about it.  It's your home; it's your decision.
Forget about preaching at her about smoking, throwing them away...just stand your ground about where she is allowed to smoke (just make sure it's as far away from the house as she can handle).
I'm curious if Mom has always been a sloppy, careless, selfish person or is this what she has become since the COPD got bad?  If this is newish, then it sounds as tho she has given up mentally & physically.  I got that way about a year before my arrest: I just seemed to not care and everytime the kids would harp at me about the smoking I would tell them they weren't telling me anything I wasn't telling myself everyday.  Cigarettes are more addictive then heroin. Did you know they put ammonia in them in order to give a good buzz when you first inhale?  I tried quitting over 25 times and it took dying to finally make it work.  Fortunately, at 65, and fast responders I lived.
Anyway, back to you.....as hard as it might be, you have to put yourself in the #1 position because it is only going to get worse from the sounds of it.
Check with a senior citizen orgaization in your area and see if they have volunteers who can be in the house so you can get out...go see a movie, go shopping, get out and breathe and take time for yourself.  
Think about it....
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Avatar_f_tn
As mutterwood said, you are not going to change her, only she can change herself. Further in that line, she does sound like she is depressed, not doing anything much. Does she have regular dr visits? Have you discussed this with her doctor? He does need to know she is still smoking.

A little about myself.....I had quit smoking for 3 years, when I married my husband. We had 5 wonderful years, but he was a smoker, and I went back to smoking. He had smoked since he was 12, and was 61 when I married him. If you can't beat um, join um. So I did, to my daily regret. He became ill one morning , got up unable to walk. He looked like a stroke victim, except no drawn facial features. Rushed him in to dr, couldn't walk, left side almost totally paralyzed. After MRI's the next day, he was diagnosed with lung, lymph node, 2 brain tumors, and spinal tumor cancers. By the time he died 12 weeks later, he added bone cancer and liver cancer to the list.  After his diagnosis, I asked his cancer dr if he needed to quit smoking. He said flat out NO, it wouldn't make any difference, only stress out what time he had left.  It was the worst 12 weeks of my life, watching the man I considered my sould mate die. After 28 years of an abusive marrage, I only got 5 years with a man who loved and accepted me as no other person will ever do.      Addictions are he**. Even when he was so doped up as to be almost comatose, he would reach for a cigarette and hold it..not lit mind you, but just hold it.   Now I am on the verge of being diagnosed with COPD myself. I daily pray that I can soon put down that pack for good. But even after all I have been thru, and will likely be going through, I still can't quit again.

On some level I know you love your mother very much.or you wouldn't be so angry at her actions. Her habits of being messy, eating habits, no exercise, not taking care of her own dog, are not the real issue. The issue is she is killing herself slowly. And you feel like she is cheating herself, and you. It's like with a marriage. Usually the things people fight about, are not really the real issue. I hope you understand what I am trying to say.

I don't know of any way to help you out of this situation. It's so easy for those of us on the sidelines to say do this, or do that, but we aren't in your shoes. Do you have a minister you can talk to?  Or maybe your mom's friends? Do her friends help you, or side with her? Point out to them if they really are her friend, they could help her more. Could she go stay with them for a week or so, for some relief time for you? Anyway, just some thoughts on coping.  Take care of yourself, and bless you for caring for your mother. Wish I had mine to care for, but wasn't in God's plan.

Hugs & Prayers.
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Thanks folks. I didn't really mean to start this. I was mostly concerned about staying up on possible symptoms. My situation is not nearly as bad as many I've read about. I'm still really just dealing with an annoying roommate who happens to be my mother.

Some clarifications. The house is not "my" house. We moved back here because my husband got a good job and my mother was in and out of the hospital. We decided that the best thing to do would be to get a house large enough for the three of us. We knew it would be a challenge to have the three of us live together, but felt we had no good choice. Previously, before we moved away for 2 years, I had been constantly going over to mom's place to take her food, clean her kitchen, etc. Hated it. Hated her dark, dirty, smoky apartment and her filthy fridge. Hated that she smoked when I was there even though she knew i hated it (I simply left the minute she lit up, but it never stopped her from lighting up the next time). So basically I was stuck dealing with two separate households, doing everything I am now doing anyway.

We knew the biggest hits would be privacy (we've only been married three years) and personal space, and my biggest challenges would be mom's bad habits. Having been letting my husband get his career established has left me mostly unemployed for the last few years (I'm a college geology instructor) so I volunteered to be the housewife/caretaker for this "experiment". I've been trying to get a part time job to take me away from the house, but times are tough and I don't want a job that is more stressful than home, which would defeat the purpose of the job. So I put up with the boredom of being a "housewife" and I take the dominant role of household support person.

About those control issues. Mom and I are both very strong willed people. We love each other and have mostly gotten along over the years, but have clashed badly on a few things. We don't have many of the same interests, so I really don't WANT to spend much time with mom but I'm stuck in the same space with her. Because we are all equally members of this household, rather than mom moving into "our" house, there is no such thing as simply telling her that things will be a certain way. Other than compliance with the no smoking contract we don't have "rules" around here. So her "control" over me is more about proximity with a living style I don't like (and vice versa, she doesn't like that I like tidy) than her forcing me to do something I don't want. I went into this with open eyes. I knew I would feel encroached upon by her lifestyle, would feel resentment about no sex life, would just feel like I didn't want to be around her. But after discussing a long time with my sisters and husband, we all concluded that this is the only way to extend mom's life. I TRIED to get mom to consider spending a few months every year up in Alaska with my little sister, but she's got this inertia thing going now and won't budge.

As for depression, that is certainly a possibility, but it is not running the show. I know that she has gone through depression about her illnesses and anger over the cancer cutting short her career, but she seemed to have worked through most of that a few years ago. What's left is this inertia of hers, this "I'm going to just mostly sit around and do crossword puzzles because I didn't die when I was supposed to and everything takes so much energy now." And there's some weird stuff going on with her writing. After she was forced to retire because of cancer, she started trying to write various novels. Some of her stuff is pretty good, but she has never been able to get a publisher to accept it. Several years ago she started writing a semi-fictional "novel" of her childhood, and it is really quite good (I did some editing for her). But she "decided" that she wasn't going to die until she finished the book. Unfortunately, she also decided she couldn't write without chain smoking and drinking margaritas while she wrote. So she started doing a seven day a week writing thing where she would sit for hours in her little dark apartment, smoking like a chimney, drinking, and eating spoiled food. That's when she started getting so sick. Well, since we moved her in with us, she hasn't worked on her book (remember how important it apparently was to her). She has convinced herself that she can't write without smoking, and we won't let her smoke in the house, so she doesn't write. And of course we can't talk about this because we then get in a fight about her smoking.

I have encouraged her to get out and spend more time with her friends, but she limits her out of house stuff due to energy levels. And she never stays away long enough when she does leave. I'm always SO relieved when she leaves and SO disappointed when she comes back 2 hours later, just when I'm really getting to enjoy her absence. And since I've mostly been stuck at home since we came back and did this, I have even less of a social life than she does. I do take myself out to lunch and such to get away from her, and I take walks and drives. We go camping but I constantly worry that she is going to let one of our cats out and not notice, plus I know I'll come back to her little piles and dirty dishes, so I don't get the relief I should.

The physical living situation is not going to change as long as she lives with us. My whole approach is to keep my anger and anxiety down and use as many coping strategies as I can. As winter approaches I need to take more steps to get out of the house and away from her, as well as using my garage hideaway when I'm home.

I WISH it didn't have to be this way. I WISH I still enjoyed doing a few things with mom instead of wanting her OUT of my life. I WISH my only way out wasn't her death. But family needs to be taken care of and I'm the one here so I have to do it.
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Oh, forgot to answer a couple of questions. Mom doesn't actually need a "babysitter" when I'm out of the house because she is ambulatory and not senile. I can leave whenever I want, assuming I have some place to go, but I always have to come back. I've always been a bit of a combo of workaholic and homebody. When I have a job I work very hard at it, then I come home. Don't really like the social butterfly scene. Without a job and without many friends, I have trouble coming up with reasons and places to go. Mom is a little like that too. Something we have in common but that isn't a good thing to have in common if you live together.
Also, for two years before we moved back here, my husband and I lived on a remote nature preserve, very remote, very quiet, very alone. I really got used to that. Now my house is never empty and I live on a busy street. I haven't adjusted very well.

Interesting question about whether mom has always been like this. She has always been a packrat and piler, kept under control in my childhood by my psycho-neatfreak father. Her house and kitchen were always basically tidy and clean in the years after she left my father. The toxic kitchen and bad food habits developed some time in the last few years. My mom always had a thing about not wanting to deal with the "mundane," but she seems to have used her illnesses as a reason to completely ignore basic stuff. And I really think that she was traumatized enough by two rounds of cancer that she actually blocks out most of her feelings about the emphysema. Too bad we can't both afford therapy. It would probably help.
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Actually, coming here and talking about this stuff in a mostly explanatory, non-angry way does help me and I appreciate the support here that allows me to do that.
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Hi.... Thank you for posting what you're going through. I know it was mostly a vent, but I feel a lot like you do right now!  My husband and I recently had to move his father in with us because of his deteriorating health. I've been a stay at home mom to my 2 1/2 yr old and 1 yr old, so I thought I wouldn't mind being here to help my father-in-law too.  BUT it turns out that he has no interest in quitting his smoking habit, and due to a recent infection that landed him in the ICU and resulted in surgery on his legs, he has a hard time walking.  SO that means he "has to" smoke in his room. It's so disgusting, I can't stand for his door to be open. I'm pretty sure he chain-smokes, so he just stays in his room. I have to bring him food and drinks, and he has a line going into his arm that he has to have IV meds through, so I have to help him with that. But it's so nasty. I feel like I'm at his beck and call. And if I'm busy with the kids, he'll just keep yelling my name until I drop what I'm doing and come into his room. It is SO irritating. And he knocks stuff over in his room, including food and drink, and just leaves it for someone else to find because he doesn't have the energy to even try to pick up or clean. He got "stuck" on the toilet a few days ago, and luckily my husband had just got home from work, because I'm not sure I would have gone in there.  It's just so nasty. He tries to get up and do things in the middle of the night because he knows we are all asleep and he can't just call for one of us to do it for him. He fell down in the hallway at 2:00 in the morning, waking everyone up....  I didn't realize what I was getting myself into, because up until very recently (just before his last hospital stay) he had a job and was taking care of himself for the most part.  I thought I would basically be here for "just in case" something happened.  

He had to go back into the hospital about a week ago. My husband told him he needed to get up out of his bed and at least walk around the house. So my father-in-law tried, only to discover he couldn't use his legs.  I guess the fall, combined with laying in his bed 24/7, must have caused a disk to herniate. He had to have emergency back surgery, and now he's in the ICU again, sedated and intubated because he couldn't breath enough to keep his O2 stats up.... It's so frustrating, because my sister-in-law will take him some cigarettes as soon as he wakes up. She's "almost" a nurse (graduates in December) and she thinks she knows everything. She's in denial about his COPD, and she's so irritating too because she thinks my husband is being "mean" to him if he doesn't buy him cigarettes, but she doesn't have to live with him and watch him kill himself.  She's the one that talked his drs into letting him come home last time, even though he couldn't walk and still needed IV meds.  I'm going to tell them this time that if he can't either walk or use a wheelchair and do basic things like get himself onto and off of the toilet, then he needs to be somewhere he can get 24 hr care, because I can't do it AND take care of my kids and house. AND if he comes back here, he won't be getting anymore cigarettes, and if he and his daughter think that's mean, then she can let him move in with her.  AND since he doesn't keep himself and his immediate environment clean, then he doesn't need to come home with any kind of medical paraphanalia attached to his body.      Is that too much to ask?! AM I being "mean"?  I mean, I care about him, but I don't want to watch him die, and subject my little kids to watching his coughing fits and constant cigarette smoking.
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After reading your last post and hearing many interesting details about your Mother the first vision that came into my mind was Dorothy Parker sitting at the round table at the Algonquin Hotel.  Your mom sounds like an incredibly interesting person..it is such a shame that she has "given up".  You sound like a fascinating person too.  This forum was probably very theraputic (sp) for you.
I went to the doc for my back to work check up yesterday.  When he asked how I was doing I told him physically I was doing great but I was having a very hard time getting my head around the fact that I actually died and the events just proceding that. The first responders have been inviting me to pancake breakfasts and other events and I know it is because they truly thought they had lost me and it brings some joy to them to know their efforts do pay off. But, I am still having strange dreams and wondering why I was allowed to "come back". So, my doc & I decided I should go talk to a professional for a couple visits to get the PTSS under control. Have my first appt tomorrow.  I have seen this doc quite a few years ago and am very comfortable with him. I found out he just had a quad bypass so perhaps his insight might be even more relatable.
If I could grant you any wish it would be that you and your mom would be able to continue the memorable lives you had in the past and neither one of you had to go thru the discomfort you currently are experiencing.
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Oh, and I don't blame you at all for not taking care of that dog. My father-in-law had a cat, but he very rarely ever changed the litter box and hadn't gotten the cat shots, even though he had the cat for like 3 or 4 years. When we moved his stuff over here, my husband got rid of the cat (let it go). You wouldn't believe the **** we've taken from my sister-in-law over that, but.... I'm sorry, I'm not having any animal in my house and around my kids that hasn't had shots, and I am NOT cleaning a nasty *** litter box every day, much less having the stinky thing in my house.  Maybe I AM mean, but I feel like when it's YOUR house, you should be able to draw the line when it comes to nastiness.  Besides, there was cat hair everywhere, and isn't that bad for the lungs, too? (Not to mention disgusting)
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newmomma26, I'm so sorry you have to go through that. You have a much worse situation than I do. I hope something changes for the better for you.
muterwoods, that must be very strange to be "brought back." I can't imagine. Thanks for your encouraging words. It seems like we are all getting a bit of therapy here. And you are right. My mother is a really neat person, was a great mom when I was a kid, has had an interesting life (grew up on a homestead in Alaska and eventually became an assistant attorney general for the state of Alaska, then retired due to non-hodgkins lymphoma). It is hard to watch her be an out-of-breath old lady who just sits around reading and doing crosswords. Oh, she has also developed an annoying case of essential tremor, which has robbed her of some activities.
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Alaska, eh?  Soooo - What are your thoughts on Sarah Palin?  LOL  Not really looking for a reply, Again, a first thought that whipped thru my warped brain.
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It's funny, one of the most common things friends and acquaintances say about my situation is, "OMG, I could NEVER live with my mother." So many American families, mine included, follow the same pattern: raise kids, kids go to college or get married, move away, come back for holidays, stop by to let grandparents see grandkids. All across this country are families living in different states, hardly ever seeing each other. Most of us never LEARNED how to be a functional extended family, or to go from being cared for by our parents to caring for our parents.
How many of you made the mistake, maybe during college, of thinking that your best friend would be the perfect roommate? lol. NOT. Good way to ruin a friendship.
This whole "American Individual" thing is strong in us, which makes it hard to mesh with another individual, especially if there is baggage.
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You know, I think it has more to do with the attitudes of the parents in these situations than being about the kids being ungrateful or whatever.  I mean, if a parent truly didn't want to burden their children but still had to live with them due to health or financial concerns, then they could have a grateful, helpful attitude, instead of an entitled, crotchety attitude.  As a grown woman who is still my parents' baby, if I had to take my kids and move into my parents' house, I would still expect to follow their household rules and schedule and contribute in any way that I could, even if I was unhealthy and barely had the energy to clean up after myself, I would try that much harder not to make a mess. Instead of expecting them to take care of my animals, I would make an effort to find them a good home before coming into someone else's home who didn't like or want pets.  These are just common courtesies, but sometimes parents don't think they owe common courtesy to their kids because they raised them and made sacrifices for them. Well, there are things you expect from children that you absolutely do not expect from an adult.  A little boy may not understand that pee on the toilet seat is nasty, but a grown man should be able to wipe it off if he leaves it.... Things like that.  It's not that we're ungrateful, it's that there is a standard you hold adults to and it's frustrating when a parent doesn't respect you.  

And by the way, in our case, we're talking about a dad who left when my husband was 10 and had to be taken to court several times just for child support. When my husband was 16, his dad put a car in his name for him. My husband would take him the money for the payments, but somehow the car was repossessed for non-payment.  Etc etc ad nauseum.... But now because he's old, we are supposed to give him love and respect, even though he's never attempted to show any to us!  He acts like my kids don't even exist, unless they're being noisy; then he has no problem telling me they need to be quiet.  Sometimes I just want to tell him "It's THEIR house!!"     BUT instead, I bite my toungue and act as sugary sweet as I possibly can, out of respect that I don't feel he deserves and the feeling that I should treat him the way I would want to be treated. But that doesn't mean I can't go online and complain about him anonymously   =)    Food for thought.....
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It IS sad, yes, but especially sad because it's a choice. Yes, it would be tough to quit, but not impossible. At ANY point over the past 20 years, these smokers could have made a tough choice and a commitment to stop smoking, and would be in better health. I watched my grandfather pass away from COPD when I was 16. It was tough, because we loved him soo soo much.  He, however, when given his COPD diagnosis stopped smoking because he wanted to spend more time with his family.  His doctors said he got an extra 10 years, no doubt the reason I had the chance to get to know him so well.
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Unfortunately, it is both the parent and the child who have to give up some of their identities and lifestyles. I gave up at least as much as my mother did. Probably more. And I go out of my way to give her space to be herself. I don't "make" her do anything or give up anything, except smoking in the house, which is in the contract we had to sign to rent the house I spent so long finding because it suits HER needs exactly.
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On Oct 13 I wrote a post about all my attempts to quit smoking and how every one of them failed. I wouldn't let myself go 24 hours without a cigarette in 45 years and had many excuses as to why.  I used to say if I wasn't addicted to cigarettes it would have been something else; alcohol, prescription drugs. Even after I was diagnosed with COPD I didn't stop. I started out with mild COPD, then moderate and finally extensive. I had copies of all the xray reports and still kept smoking. My parents nagged me, my children nagged me, my granddaughters begged me and a had a horrid fiight with my daugher-in-law about it. I respected others by not smoking around them and amazingly I could go 8 hours or longer without a cigarette. I was hospitalized with a severe reaction to iodine after having a heart test and realized that I went 2 days without a cigarette. At that time I realized how much of my smoking was due to habits built up over the years and was in the process of identifing those habits and working very hard at breaking them but it was too late.  I had weaned myself down to a bit over 1/2 pack a day (at one time I was smoking 2 1/2 packs a day) but it was too late.  My lungs had taken all the abuse they could handle and I had a respiratory arrest.  Well, God didn't want me yet and kick my sorry arse back.  I have been 7 weeks without a cigarette. Not a day has gone by without wanting one,,,when I get up in the morning, after I eat, when I get back from my daily walk (rehabing my heart and lungs), before I go to bed and when I am bored. But I am able to get past those times now because I am terribly afraid of what will happen if I smoke. The doc says my lungs have never sounded better and my COPD is under control. The damage will never go away but there has been healing and the COPD will only get worse as I age (I am 65) and I will probably never have to go on oxygen.  Anyway, I just took the long way around to say; the **** they put in cigarettes has made it so some people just are not able to fight the devil.  Their situations, at times, allow them to give an excuse to smoke.
I am currently having a hard time mentally thinking that anytime I could just fall over again and this time I won't be kicked back. One thing I have found myself doing iss reconnecting with friends and family that I have ignored for the last year because I was too tired and too sick to reach out. All I was doing was working & sleeping because I felt so useless and so many were passing judgement on me because I was still smoking. I am currently going to a psychologist for PTSS caused by dying because I am having a hard time putting my hands & head around why I didn't. It was a miracle that I was able to get to the phone to call 911 before I left the world.
I wasn't able to quit smoking until the worst happen and I can't give you a good reason why; only excuses. I probably have to say that you can't judge someone's actions until you have walked a mile in their moccasins.
Those who have never smoked have no idea the addictive properties that are in cigarettes. There are over 20 chemicals that tobacco companies put it (including ammonia) to keep smokers buying their product. The addiction a person has probably even isn't the tobacco but one of the chemicals that is mixed with it..who knows?
It will probably be years before I feel confident about not smoking or fearing that I might die in the next hour. But, I will continue to work my way thru each day and hope for the best. God will grab me when He is ready for me and not before.
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muterwoods, I'm so glad you quit smoking. My mom quit for 4 years. She had it beaten and her smoking neighbor got her hooked again. grrr. My father quit after a heart attack. He has heart disease and emphysema, My little sister smoked for years but quit about 10 years ago. My spouse smoked for about 3 years and quit. My older sister has smoked for more than 35 years and I'm really worried about her. She refuses to go to a doctor and at least be checked. My mother is 75, has been on oxygen for 3 years or so, and has been hospitalized twice for respiratory issues. It bothers me that I'm going to lose two, if not three, of the members of my immediate family to smoking related disease.
You survived because you have more living to do. Best wishes, and i hope you continue not to smoke.
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My husband needs to quit smoking as well. His excuse is that it's the way he deals with stress. He's very young, only 24, but he's been smoking since he was a teenager. I want so badly for him to quit, because I think it sets a very bad example for our little girls, not to mention it's putting his health and all of our futures at risk, but he says he just has too much stress right now to quit. He says he's trying, but buys cigarettes by the carton. That would be equivalent to an alcoholic trying to quit drinking, but buying beer by the 30-packs.  I just don't get it.  Everyone has stress, but there are better ways to deal with it.  And I know that there are lot of elements in cigarettes that are physically addictive, but surely it can't be that hard to beat.  The psychological addiction surely has to be the worst part. I smoked a little for about a year a while back. I did it socially, like when I would have drinks with friends or on breaks with friends at work.  I just realized one day that I didn't LIKE the cigarettes and didn't really see any point in continuing to smoke them.... so I didn't. No big deal. I guess after you've done something for half ( or in some cases, most) of your life, it's a lot harder though.  My heart goes out to everyone battling addictions.....
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I am a 56 year old female with emphysema.  4 years ago I moved my 90 something year old grandmother in with me due to circumstances beyond her control.  It was either that or the other family members were going to put her in a nursing home.  (she was not sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  I have to tell you that two years into the arrangement I was diagnosed and my life was beginning to be harder to manage with the disease.  I got cranky and selfish and frustrated, so I know how you feel.  But the worse I got in my attitude seemed like the more demanding she got and we got in a vicious cycle.  She still at 97, got up, dressed herself, made her bed, fixed her oatmeal.  She was dependent but more in an emotional way.  18 months ago, she got ill (we think due to digitalis medicine poisoning) and she passed away.  I have so much guilt now, sometimes I cannot bear it. I lost both of my parents when they were in their early 50's.  Here is the deal.....life is really pretty simple.  People want to feel loved and cared for.  When it is all said and done, the housework doesn't really matter.  IT IS DIRTY DISHES.....SHE IS YOUR MOTHER  I would almost bet you were not always easy for her to take care of either.  Now that I chewed on you a bit (sorry) I would like to address the issue of lifestyle changes with copd.  As a patient myself we carry a lot of guilt because we smoked and it is d**** hard to quit.  What amazes me is that people, say with coronary disease, that don't start eating right, etc just don't seem to be judged the same way as smokers.  IT IS THE SAME THING.  My suggestion for you for your own mental well being....quit sweatin the small stuff...get your mother out of the house with you sometimes for a day of some fun and enjoy her while you have her.  I can tell you from experience....she already knows she is doomed and she doesn't really want to be reminded all the time.  
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