My father's cough

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binocular
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My father's cough

Post by binocular » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:11 pm

I'm taking care of my aging parents -- cook, clean, do laundry, run errands.

My father has been having a dry cough for a long time, it got really bad this past week. It's worst at night. He starts coughing around 8 pm and coughs through to 3 or 4 am. We don't sleep, he keeps the whole house awake. He refuses to go to the doctor. The over the counter medicines I brought him and the home remedies (honey, lemon, ginger, ...) don't work. He coughs so badly he almost suffocates. He curses and swears. He is extremely negative about life in general and the prospects of the cough ever goint away.

My own estimation, based on his medical history and his personal habits, is that the mucuous membranes of his upper respiratory tract are inflamed, and the coughing makes it worse. He breathes through the mouth, but there is no physiological impediment to breathing through the nose (I've inquired about this from him and observed him).

I had such cough too, and no medication seemed to help, not even prescription cough medications with opiates. What helped me was to make an effort and breathe through the nose, bearing the tickling sensation that would otherwise cause the coughing -- it went away after a while.

But my father is not like that. He won't even try to breathe through the nose, not even for a minute, and he won't hold back even the slightest cough (dry cough is the kind of cough where coughing leads to just more coughing).
He despises me and he dismisses every suggestion I make, no matter how carefully and impersonally I make it. He keeps insisting that nothing helps, and he rather gets angry with me than try what I suggest. But there's a lot he hasn't even tried. Most of the time, I am just quiet and don't get into conversations with him as he keeps asking, "Why me? Why won't anything help?!"

I don't know how much longer I can take this. I am exhausted from the lack of sleep and from his negativity.

Have any of you dealt with something like that? Have you successfully resolved such a situation? What seemed to help?


Thanks.

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DNS
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Re: My father's cough

Post by DNS » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:18 pm

Sorry to hear of the troubles; hope it gets better for you and your family. That sounds like a great responsibility -- and burden you have undertaken out of compassion.

I am not a medical professional, but it doesn't sound good. He really should see a physician. It could be pneumonia or something else very serious, which can be treatable if detected early enough. It could be something like bronchitis which I believe requires antibiotics, which needs a prescription (at least here in the U.S.). Was he a heavy smoker in his earlier years?

dharmacorps
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Re: My father's cough

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:47 pm

Agreed, a burden taken out of compassion which deserves tons of respect. Definitely know the kind of "patient" your father sounds like.

Unfortunately not much you can do (about anything, the cough or the negativity) unless he is willing to get help. In my experience, the breaking point in these situations is the disease getting bad enough, paramedics get called when the symptoms get scary (inability to breathe). I work in the medical field and it does sound like bronchitis but obviously don't assume I'm right. It could be something else. On the other hand if he is totally dependent on you for his care, then you have a say in this too. I advise you talking to some people who are experienced caregivers to the elderly to see what your rights and obligations are.

Phena
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Phena » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:42 am

Sorry to hear about your situation binocular. Are you able to arrange a home visit by a doctor? Maybe you could suggest this as a compromise?

Getting medical advice would seem to be paramount here, as I'm sure you are aware.

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Sprouticus
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Sprouticus » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:36 am

:anjali:

It's interesting that your father is breathing through his mouth despite there being no obstruction in his nose.
You may have already suggested using a humidifier, but if you put one out for yourself you would have the added benefit of some white noise to soften the sound of coughing.
Namo buddhaya

R1111
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Re: My father's cough

Post by R1111 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:17 am

if any advice you make makes him angry your best course of action will often be to pick your timing and try to minimize his suffering when you give the advice, if its just a theory u should clearly state it.

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Aloka
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Aloka » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:10 am

Hi binocular,

I'm really sorry to hear about your father. My late father had a hiatus hernia which caused persistent coughing amongst various other symptoms. He could only get some sleep if he was propped up in bed and finally his doctor arranged for him to have an operation, which was successful,

I hope you can persuade your father to get some further testing and advice from a doctor.

With best wishes to you and your parents,

Aloka :anjali:

jagodage
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Re: My father's cough

Post by jagodage » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:06 am

Hi Binocular,

I feel really sorry for your father.My suggestion is to get one of his close colleage to attempt to pursuade him to consult a doctor.In fact the intention to cure a sickness should come from the sufferer.

With Metta
Jagodage

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No_Mind
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Re: My father's cough

Post by No_Mind » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:57 am

Hi Binocular,

Very sorry to hear about your father. You mentioned tickling in back of throat in your case. That is caused by post nasal drip. There are several levels of treatment for it ranging from salt water gurgle to antihistamines to antibiotics (depending on the patient's situation).

Keep in mind cough syrups are of two types -- antitussive which stop cough (usually dextromethorphan) and expectorants which bring out the mucus (usually guaifenesin). It is usually first one followed by the second or a combination of both types of cough syrup (like some varieties of Robitussin contain both). Antitussive alone can dry up the mucus but it needs to come out so an expectorant is used alongside it.

Remember most cough medicines have an added alphabet or two like DM (for dextromethorphan), BM (for bromhexine), CD (for codeine) etc .. therefore if you are using a cough syrup someone suggested make sure the spelling is correct

However antibiotics maybe needed if infection is bacterial. Please consult a physician.

I will pray that your father gets well soon,

With lot of love,

No_Mind
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binocular
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Re: My father's cough

Post by binocular » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:32 pm

Thank you all for your kind replies!

My father is a macho type of person. I know that's an ugly thing to say about one's parent. But it really describes him best. I think he is also very much afraid of aging and sickness, and his attempts to cope with the fear itself, as well as with aging and sickness, are causing a lot of trouble and worsening things. For example, he still goes mountainhiking -- but he refuses to wear a hat or a cap, he refuses to wear gloves and longjohns (because that's supposedly only for old people). On those trips, he is actually able to keep up with people 10 or 20 years younger than himself. But then he gets home and he is sick and lethargic for a couple of weeks and can't do anything. We patch him up, and then the whole thing starts over again.
Even though he's physically still capable enough, he won't do any chores around the house, nor make sure that he eats and drinks properly. I have to wait on him, and if I don't, he swears and curses and complains. It has happened that one late afternoon, he started complainig how thirsty he is, because nobody gave him anything to drink. I have good reason to believe that he's not just forgetful. He has always been like that -- "above the mundane". And I accepted it quietly when I was younger, but I just can't do it anymore.

He refuses to discuss anything with me, he refuses to make any plans that I suggest. If I in any way bring this up, he either swears and curses, or gets playful and has a "Who -- me?!?" routine.
It takes extreme diplomacy on my part and a lot of time to get him to change in even the slightest way.

It's hard to have compassion for him. Sometimes, when he's been coughing incessantly, I'm on the verge of telling him, "That's what you get for all your partying!" But I don't tell him ...

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No_Mind
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Re: My father's cough

Post by No_Mind » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:59 pm

binocular wrote:Thank you all for your kind replies!

...............
Binocular, I live with my mom and take care of her. It is hard at times but what keeps me going is .. in this huge world .. she is the only person who loves me unconditionally .. with no strings attached .. and once she dies I will probably never find that again.

It is hard I know but keep walking .. best of luck.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

binocular
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Re: My father's cough

Post by binocular » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:10 pm

He finally went to the doctor. He was prescribed antibiotics and has go in for further checkups. He's still coughing.

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DNS
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Re: My father's cough

Post by DNS » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:42 pm

binocular wrote:He finally went to the doctor. He was prescribed antibiotics and has go in for further checkups.
Excellent, hopefully that will be all he needs, especially if it's something like bronchitis, the antibiotics should do it.

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Dmytro
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Dmytro » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:45 am

Hi Binocular,

Take care of yourself.

As for the simplest devices, ear plugs can help to sleep soundly.
Nasal dilator strips are conducive to breathing through the nose.

IMHO, it is also important to find a good nurse, just in case you would need a break. My relative refused nurse's help in taking care of his mother, - and he's depressed now.

Best wishes,
Dmytro

binocular
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Re: My father's cough

Post by binocular » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:06 am

Dmytro wrote:As for the simplest devices, ear plugs can help to sleep soundly.
I've tried! But my father's cough pierces through walls, and through ear plugs. It also seems to be too late, because I've already developed a kind of audio hypersensitivity and can hear the slightest noise he makes, even from afar. (The way mothers can hear their newborn infants even in their sleep.)
Also, I do need to hear him, just in case he needs help.
Nasal dilator strips are conducive to breathing through the nose.
That's interesting, I've never heard of that.
Do you have any ideas on how to get my macho father to use them?
I once made him a short mala to pass the time when he was in the hospital. That didn't work out well ...
IMHO, it is also important to find a good nurse, just in case you would need a break. My relative refused nurse's help in taking care of his mother, - and he's depressed now.
Yes ... we don't have the money for that at the time. I would certainly love a break from being my parents' personal servant ... Being a personal servant isn't so hard, actually. But being someone's psychological punching bag is.

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Dmytro
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Dmytro » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:26 am

binocular wrote:I've already developed a kind of audio hypersensitivity and can hear the slightest noise he makes, even from afar.
Now that's a problem. Please take breaks by all means. Your father needs you to be healthy.
Also, I do need to hear him, just in case he needs help.
We're not in control of what happens with health. At least at night it's worthwhile to let things go.
Do you have any ideas on how to get my macho father to use them?
With external authority - preferably advice from someone with formal powers, - doctor, etc.
Yes ... we don't have the money for that at the time. I would certainly love a break from being my parents' personal servant ... Being a personal servant isn't so hard, actually. But being someone's psychological punching bag is.
Perhaps it would be possible to find someone in similar situation, and cooperate with them, exchanging shifts?

binocular
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Re: My father's cough

Post by binocular » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:46 am

Dmytro wrote:With external authority - preferably advice from someone with formal powers, - doctor, etc.
To make matters worse, his GP broke his leg and there are now other doctors filling in for him. My father had a measure of respect for his GP, but he doesn't have it for the doctors that are filling in for him. Also, hospitals here are on complete or partial lock-down because of the flu.
Perhaps it would be possible to find someone in similar situation, and cooperate with them, exchanging shifts?
Oh, but the shame!
I'm sure that a big part of why this recent episode of my father's sickness is so hard on us all is because we haven't prepared for it. The worst time to try to come to terms with sickness is when one is already sick.

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Dmytro
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Dmytro » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:44 am

binocular wrote:I'm sure that a big part of why this recent episode of my father's sickness is so hard on us all is because we haven't prepared for it. The worst time to try to come to terms with sickness is when one is already sick.
Somehow this is often the only time.

May you solve all the issues, and learn many valuable lessons in the process!

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Coëmgenu
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Re: My father's cough

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:37 pm

binocular wrote:He despises me and he dismisses every suggestion I make, no matter how carefully and impersonally I make it. He keeps insisting that nothing helps, and he rather gets angry with me than try what I suggest. But there's a lot he hasn't even tried. Most of the time, I am just quiet and don't get into conversations with him as he keeps asking, "Why me? Why won't anything help?!"
From my own experience, seeing relatives age and eventually die (though not my own father and not personally attending to them) my experience is that all you can do is be relentlessly positive, though at the same time criticizing decisions they make that you think are foolish, without being "too mean". It is a difficult and thin line to walk across. That is all I can say. The "old" think they know all the answers, and are hesitant to invite the opinion of the comparatively youthful. Similarly the "young" think they have answers that can "solve" aging-and-death, some do at least. They are foolish. I am not assuming you are among the "foolish" that I outline. Aging-and-death is the ultimate reality of samsara though, from a Buddhist perspective. Even the Buddha deemed so much as to say "my back aches".
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

binocular
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Re: My father's cough

Post by binocular » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:02 pm

Coughing season has officially begun! I am looking at about six months of 24/7 coughing.

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