I'm Hldmbn, which I guess could be short for hold my bone, but really it's the initials of myself and my eldest son. Funny the things you come up with when you're first confronted back in the fledgling years of internet and you need to have some sort of handle to start getting emails!!
I'm 56 yrs old and live in the United States in Texas, I find myself here because I simply googled a question 'can I take Atrovent and Symbicort at the same time?' that came about because I had also queried 'why isn't my Atrovent working like it should?' in the mix of responses I found a thread that sent me to shorten the url and gave me this forum. you know if I'd had to say all that in one breath I prolly couldn't
I was diagnosed with COPD in May of 2006, I was a menthol smoker for 35+ years and I am so angry with myself for not heeding the warnings early enough to have quit, I coughed, was constantly out of breath and started to use those otc bronchiodiolators because, well simply they seemed to work, and I was also using a nebulizer that a granddaughter had for 'breathing treatments' and one day it just didn't work, I couldn't breathe and I knew I was in trouble. I had my daughter call the ambulance and at the hospital was the first time I'd heard anyone use the term COPD, in fact the doctor seemed to not believe me when I said no one had ever told me I had it, but then again the last time I'd been to a doctor was 20 years earlier at the birth of my daughter.
Anyways, I have no health insurance even tho I work full time, I get my meds and refills from a county hospital, every six months when I need a new refill I sit for the duration it takes for the urgent care dr to write me a script for 6 more months, I take Atrovent 2puffs 4x a day and Symbicort 2 puffs 2x a day. I have only been back to the hospital once since my first time, that was just a few weeks ago.
Honestly I am scared, I don't tell many people what I have because I hear too often other comments from other people who have known someone with COPD and they always say it was horrible, or make me think it's the worst thing a person can have.
I wish there was a pill to take, I wonder often if the inhalers are good enough, I have to take my Atrovent that should last for 25 days, but always seem that on the 20th day they are ineffective, and keep me going back to recount again the # of days I've started taking it to be sure I'm not miscounting, and then today I was wondering is it the meds that are ineffective or have I gone to the point where I'm ineffective?
thank you for letting me find a place to just say all that
and I hope I am still welcome after bending your eyes for such a long time reading.
You haven't said if you have seen a pulmonary Dr. or what your fev1 is I suggest you make yourself an apointment with your primary care Dr. & see if you can get some maintenance meds . Glad you found us .there's are lot of good an knowledgeable people here with varying degrees of copd . WE were all scared . You' ve come to the right place
Hi there hl Thank you for sharing your story. Like John said, the first step would to try to get into your primary care doctor and often times they will also give you samples. There is also some sites that sell meds cheaper than drug store that others here use.
Hi and welcome. It was interesting to hear the way you found our forum. I myself googled "COPD forums", but since then have googled questions and been led here. I love how the internet connects things together! You and I were diagnosed at the same time, same month and year. How weird is that?! Mine kind of got me all of a sudden like. One fine day I was playing kick ball with the kids at the school I worked at and a few weeks later I couldn't do it, period. I'd taken a major fall and thought it was from that, but nope, COPD, and my numbers fell fast in the next couple of years. I've been stable now for the past 2 years and hope I stay here for a long time.
The others are right in that you need to be tested to see what your numbers are. A Pulmonary Function Test is what you need to have done. I wonder if the urgent care can order something like this for you? Is there not any type of State health care that would cover you? In the event that it's not a possibility, there are meds that would help you. One is Spiriva, a once daily inhaled capsule. The benefit of Spiriva is that it is supposed to help halt the progression of the illness, in addition to providing some breathing power. I have forgotten to use it before and am very aware by that evening that something is wrong and then realize what I've done (or not done, ) It is becoming a first line of defense for a newly diagnosed patient. My husband, as a matter of fact, was diagnosed very mild a year ago. He was immediately put on Spiriva and a year later has just recently been retested. His numbers went from 87% to 96%, which is a huge increase. Dr. had him remain on the Spiriva, but he doesn't have to go back for another year. It is unlikely that anyone with moderate or severe COPD will see an increase like that, but it just goes to show how beneficial it can be. Anyway, that would be the first thing I would ask my dr. for.
Not knowing how severe your illness is without any numbers, I can't say very much about whether you are deteriorating or not. But you are definitely not in control if you are having to use the rescue inhaler that often. A couple of things could be in play. One, you could be experiencing an exacerbation, which is when you temporarily have an increase in symptoms from a cold, infection, or sometimes no real reason is found. We usually have to be put on an antibiotic and also prednisone. The prednisone is usually given in a 'burst', which starts with a higher dose and over the course of 10 days is reduced. The intention is to reduce any inflammation that is causing the exacerbation and thus open up your airways. The symptoms you may be having would be increased shortness of breath (SOB), perhaps some additional coughing and phlegm (with or without a change of color), maybe fever with an infection. We who have experience with COPD know that as soon as we start to notice any changes like this, we have to get in contact with our dr. immediately and get the meds started. A lot of us have either standing orders for the meds or keep them on hand at home.
Another thought may be that your current meds just aren't working anymore. I had to be put on a nebulizer a couple of years ago and use two different types of meds with this, Pulmicort and Brovana. I also have a third that I use when I am having a more difficult time, an additional Albuteral. I found that these work better for me than Advair, which is similar to your Symbicort. I find it easier to slowly breathe in the meds with the nebulizer, rather than with the hand held powder inhalers. Just me, maybe, I don't know. As Aero suggested, there are other means of obtaining your meds more inexpensively, through mail order and even some get from India at greatly reduced prices.
Do you exercise? In addition to quitting smoking, they are the two most important things we can do for ourselves. If you haven't been doing it, you probably think I am crazy to even suggest it, but it really does help. To begin exercising for the first time, walking and weight training, start out very slow and work your way up to at least 30 mins. of walking. Go for the length of time and don't worry about being Speedy Gonzales, that you can work on later. If all you can do is 5 mins. to start, so be it, just add on a minute at a time until you can get up to that 30 mins. AFTER you get to the half hour, then increase your speed and even add short bursts of speed within the slower walks. Great for losing weight that way. Which is another thing you might consider: your weight. Being even a little bit overweight puts an added burden on our lungs. Just lugging the extra pounds around makes breathing more difficult, but also the added fat pushes on our lungs and that doesn't help them out at all. If you have advanced COPD, your lungs are most likely 'longer' and pushing down on your diaphragm. Add a few pounds and you've got more pressure on the lungs.
I would like to suggest you go to our parent organization website, COPD Canada Patient Network, www.copdcanada.ca/. There is an abundance of great information to be found there and even a Respiratory Therapist to whom you can ask questions and get personal answers within a week or less. Lots of past questions and answers to read as well.
I am sure there are others that will come with more ideas, but this should get you started. Again, welcome to the group. Perhaps you'll join us "At the Fence" which is a thread where we meet each day and just hash out our day. We've developed some good friendships here and there's always room for one more!
Take care, Sue PS, I just thought of something else: the weather can have a HUGE effect on our breathing. Just the barometric pressure alone can put you into a spin of SOB. Up north in NY state where I live, the bitter cold winter is reeking havoc on me, but come summer and the high humidity and I'll be just as bad. I would imagine you have some real problems in Texas with the humidity. I suggest staying in the A/C when the days are too bad.
thank you so much so many of you that have replied, ♥ i'm just being able to get back here, I have a full time job, and get snippets of time on the computer, prolly more time could be spent when i get home and i will try since it's such a wonderful feeling knowing there's a place to gol
i have no primary care dr, have never been to one except the one that saw me and attended me in the hospital my first time, the urgent care dr i see to get my refills scripted me, and just recently again the dr at the hospital during my last attack. to tell you the truth i wasn't aware of even the name of the type of dr to see. i have to think that the same problem i had of 'blinders' when i was first having breathing problems, and the accompanying denial, is my problem again, i'm funny/not so funny in that way, i'm afraid to read or examine too closely what's wrong with me, for instance i once stepped on a nail and thought i could get tetnus so i read up on the symptoms to self diagnose myself if needed, it said i would feel a stiff neck, and darned if i didn't. but i'm also realizing i have to get a handle on this and get away from these thoughts that are harmful.
once upon a time my limitations challenged me, if i was tired i tested myself to go beyond that tired and accomplish what i needed to do, now my limitations seem to define me, if i'm tired i find the need to rest.
i did call a local hospital to see if there was a support group and when they met, it's a once monthly meeting for 2 hrs, i'm hoping i will be able to take time off of work to do this, if not i'm going to try at least take an hour off, i don't take a lunch break, it's almost impossible where i work, and in texas they don't have to give you a lunch break.
plz i apologize again for my lengthy replies, it just seems at first i'm going to be all about a bunch of poor me's and hope eventually that will be reversed and be more yeah me's and i can myself set a positive note and mood for someone else as you all have done for me, thank you ♥
ps. i will take to heart and lungs every suggestion that's been offered, it's why i came here and why i am so appreciative of all kindnesses given me by everyone here. thank you and aren't you all glad this was so short? ;D well i'd better post it while it still is