My dad, who's now 83, was diagnosed with COPD about 10 years ago. He was a long-time smoker, but he'd quit back in 1987.
This year, he's had a severe exacerbation. He went from not needing O2 at all to being on 02 at 2.5 lpm when at rest and 5lpm when active. I guess this all stemmed from a chronic sinus infection that developed after dental work a few months ago (does that make sense? Can that kind of thing exacerbate COPD this badly?)
A big challenge we are having is maintaining his 02 sats at night. He yanks the 02 off his nose at night - we've tried all the solutions I've seen here on this site, from taping to using those sports-strapholders for eyeglasses - and he still gets the 02 off his nose. He's always been a very active sleeper, and a mouth breather, and combining that with the 02 coming off and the more shallow breathing everyone does when sleeping, his sats drop to very scary and dangerous levels (I saw 73 the other night. Came right back up to low 90s when we got the O2 on him). And I think it's making him delirious, as he fights me when I try to get the cannula back on. (He doesn't have dementia)
He has a home health aide now, and his health aide, my mom, and I have been taking shifts at night checking on him, but he still manages to get the cannula out. And this morning, after he'd slept peacefully all night so we lowered our guard and started to get ready for the day, he managed to pull of his oxygen at some point and walk to the bathroom (without his walker). His aide got to him, and got him back into bed, but by then he was gasping for air. And still mouthbreathing, so probably not getting all the air he could.
So we're at wit's end. His pulmonolgist keeps insisting that masks don't work as they're uncomfortable, but I've gone on amazon and ordered a mask. At least that will stop the mouth breathing being an issue. But do people keep the mask on? How are we going to manage that, when he gets the cannula out regularly? What are our options here?
I know that every time his 02 drops like that, there's organ damage being done, and he's already got CHF as well as COPD, so he can't afford any damage.