Patient Story – Andrew

Andrew, 63 is a retired kitchen porter who lives in Bedminster with his wife and two grown-up sons. He was diagnosed with severe COPD in early 2011 after being admitted to hospital on New Year’s Eve 2010 with a chest infection. Shortly afterwards he had double pneumonia and was very poorly indeed. He had to give up work and got out of breath very easily, which meant that even simple tasks were impossible.

In 2018 Andrew was extremely unwell, chairbound and was admitted to hospital. On admission, he was found to be suffering from a deficiency of oxygen (his blood oxygen saturation, PH and cutaneous CO2 levels were all worryingly low and well outside the normal range, Sp02 68%, PH 7.19 and PCO2 19.8).

At this point HMV was recommended and he was set up on the machine while in hospital. Before starting on the treatment, Andrew needed management strategies to help him clear sputum (thick mucus which is coughed up from the lungs) but this meant he had less problems accepted HMV due to coughing.

Because Andrew needed to use the machine during the night and for top-ups during the day, he was provided with a battery backup to allow for increased hours of usage. He was also given support to connect his oxygen through the HMV machine, something which can be challenging for patients like Andrew.

At first, he found it scary to use the machine and found it strange to get used to breathing with the machine but after a week, he got used to it. He has a full face mask and uses the machine both at night and sometimes during the day. As a result, his breathing has improved and his panic attacks have eased. While he still has to pace himself, Andrew is able to do tasks like making tea which wasn’t possible previously.

He uses the machine alongside long term oxygen therapy and a nebuliser.

Andrew said:

“The machine has been a god-send. My breathing has got a lot better and although I still get tired, the machine really helps.

“Before using HMV, my family used to worry all the time but now they are less anxious and also I don’t snore anymore, so everyone sleeps better!”