Living with and caring for a family member diagnosed with COPD is a constant struggle with a disease that slowly and methodically takes their life by robbing them of their ability to breathe. The disease is chronic, progressive, and terminal and is the third leading cause of death in the United States with over 12 million people diagnosed.
A caregiver to a patient with COPD must continually monitor all aspects of the patient's health and keep a vigilant watch for any signs of breathing deterioration due to allergies, chest infections, colds, flu, or other respiratory challenges. Any indications of sickness have to be met aggressively with medications and fluids to prevent or retard the exacerbation of the COPD. There is no cure for this disease.
From initial diagnosis with COPD in 2006, Holly McBain has and continues to serve as the caregiver for her mother, Joan. Joan moved into Holly’s home to facilitate the care and responsibilities required for a patient with COPD. Joan must take several forms of medication daily, nebulizer treatments, and is on oxygen 24 hours a day. Holly has, in effect, become the parent in the situation due to her mother’s failing health and age (she is 84). Understandably this role reversal has not come without its share of emotional problems.
As a caregiver to a loved one with COPD, Holly offers a unique insight into the trials and tribulations this disease has on the patient, the caregiver, and immediate family. Over the course of time, Holly and her mother have encountered a wide swath of issues concerning the disease and its effects on the patient and how it also affects the caregiver. Her husband and their two boys live in the home as well and this presents additional stressors to the situation. This environment is not one of rarity, but one that is growing in numbers due to the continual growth of COPD diagnosis and economic factors of family members.
A freelance writer since 2004, Holly McBain holds a B.A. in English and is self-educated on a variety of medical issues including COPD through online research and seeking complete information of her mother’s disease management from her physicians. Holly and her husband Allan have two boys, Austen and Travis.
Follow Holly on Google+