Patient Story – Patricia

Patricia, 71 is retired and lives in Leeds. However, she spent many years living in South Africa working as an Administration Manager for an oil company. It was while she was in South Africa that she was diagnosed with alpha one antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder that can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing, or an increased risk of lung infections. At this time Patricia was told that she had a life expectancy of 60 years.

On returning to the UK, Patricia had originally planned to work part-time but her poor health led to early retirement. She spent the next few years in and out of hospital with lung infections and was extremely poorly. Daily tasks were a challenge. Patricia struggled to walk any distance or climb the stairs and lifting anything heavy was an impossible task. She found herself falling asleep by the afternoon and generally had no energy.

She was getting progressively worse and 15 years ago was diagnosed with COPD, which was a condition she had heard of but about which she had no in-depth knowledge. She was also diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

Her 60th birthday was spent in hospital but shortly afterwards her medical team advised that she use HMV. The first time she used it, she panicked. She found it scary to have a mask over her face but within a week or two she got used to it and adapted to the rhythm of breathing with the machine. Now she wouldn’t be without it and uses it religiously every day.

Patricia said: “The machine is my lifeline and I truly believe that I wouldn’t be here today without it. After being in and out of hospital all the time previously, since using HMV I have had just one hospital admission in 12 years. It really has given me new lease of life.”

As if to demonstrate this, Patricia has a very sad story of a friend who was also advised to use HMV but decided against it because she thought the machine would keep her husband awake at night. Tragically her friend didn’t survive so this makes Patricia even more grateful for the benefits she has experienced from HMV.

Patricia is able to travel with her machine. It’s very light and comes with a bag so it’s possible to take it when going on holiday.

In conclusion, Patricia said:

“I have my independence back. I’m able to get out and walk, meet friends, cook for myself and clean the house, tasks which I struggled with before HMV. I used to get up tired and then sleep all afternoon and night. Now, most days, I have lots of energy and actually feel better today than I did when I was 50! I’m looking forward to celebrating my 72nd birthday in a couple of months – I feel I’m doing well for someone who was told that they wouldn’t make it to 60!”