Nursing home resident with COPD shares warning to others - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Nursing home resident with COPD shares warning to others

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An oxygen concentrator sits next to a patient to help them breathe. An oxygen concentrator sits next to a patient to help them breathe.
A patient wears a mask that helps deliver medicine. A patient wears a mask that helps deliver medicine.
A breathing tube runs up the front of a patient. A breathing tube runs up the front of a patient.
COPD Case Manager Marcheta Hays helps a patient get their medicine ready. COPD Case Manager Marcheta Hays helps a patient get their medicine ready.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Imagine relying on an oxygen tank to breathe everyday and if it runs out, the fear of replacing it quickly.

That's what people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, live with everyday.

November is COPD Awareness Month. At St. Vincent's Nursing Home, a nurse helps Bill James get medicine to help him breathe.

"It's pretty bad with the breathing," James said. "You have a lot of breathing problems."

Four times a day, every day for the last five years, James gets the medicine, but it's only to help him not to heal him. 

"It's a chronic disease and it cannot be cured," COPD Case Manager Marcheta Hays said.

Hays said St. Vincent's Home has the only COPD Treatment Program within 50 miles of Quincy. Those with COPD are tied to an oxygen tank wherever they go, which can really obstruct their daily life.

"When I worked in the ER, I even found some that caught their O2 tubing on fire trying to cook," Hays explained. "So, I mean, it's just very debilitating."

A big contributor to developing the disease is smoking. James admits he started smoking when he was 14 and didn't stop until he was in his late 60s.

"Got to the point where you couldn't breathe at all," James added. "It was bad."

Because there isn't a cure for COPD, Hays said some won't quit smoking saying it doesn't do any good. She said that's not true.

"We end up with some other problems, like high blood pressure," Hays explained. "Many different things. It doesn't just affect the lungs."

The treatments will continue for James everyday for the rest of his life. However, he hopes others will take his advice.

"Quit," James said. "Just quit smoking. Don't try to put it off. And never start."

St. Vincent's Nursing Home also has a COPD Support Group the community can attend. They meet at the home's community center the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m.

Read information on COPD by going to the CDC website here.

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