Archive for COPD

SOB, Once Again

Take a big breath!

Take a big breath!

Many hospice patients have MOM for one of their prescribed medications. And who wouldn’t want a mother’s love when entering into hospice care? Mom knows best, right? But wait! MOM is one of our hospice’s many acronyms, an abbreviation for the familiar Milk of Magnesia.

Then there’s SOB, which I’ve mentioned in past essays. But whenever SOB is one of the medical concerns for a patient, I’m one part amused and one part saddened. The acronym is for Short Of Breath and not the curse, “You son of a _ _ _ _ _!”

Being SOB represents many patients greatest fear. A number of illnesses compromise the lungs and regular breathing becomes a struggle. No one wants to gasp for air. No one wants to pause for long seconds between each word as they slowly, slowly, slowly try to communicate. No one wants to go to sleep at night, dreading a lack of air will force him or her awake or, fatally worse, that they will never wake. Another acronym linked to SOB is COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, according to the Mayo Clinic website, “refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult.” That’s a simple and a terrifying definition. On too many occasions, COPD is the primary diagnosis for a patient entering hospice and having “six months or less to live.” Bluntly, cigarette smokers are high on the bad scale for a future with COPD and SOB. Read More →

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