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  • Severe shortness of breath

    I?m a c6-7 walking quad, power wheelchair for past 4 years, 83 years old, 63 years post injury. Small town Dr. and not up on SCI. I,m afraid to ask him for help as he may take my drivers licence. I have a new brauns ability van and it allows me to drive to the park and watch the ducks. My driving is fine, no accidents or near accidents for many years. I hate to give up my independence. Is this severe breathing problem going to due me in or is there relief? Are there many still living at my age and 63 year post injury? Olly
    olly

  • #2
    Congratulations, but you do have to get your respiratory straightened out or you will be a dead duck instead of watching ducks. Your heart may not be pumping enough blood to supply oxygen for your needs. When that is resolved driving should not be an issue.
    BTW how far is it to the park? Maybe all you need is a scooter to use on nice days, no license needed.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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    • #3
      Shortness of breath can happen in 80 year olds with or without a history of SCI.

      If you're having severe shortness of breath, consider contacting your Doctor, calling the equivalent of the U.S. 911 for an ambulance or have a friend drive you the closest emergency room.
      Last edited by 2drwhofans; 03-24-2019, 05:11 PM.

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      • #4
        It’s only about 200 yds from my parking lot to the shores of Lake Ontario and the park. I live in a seniors long term care on the lake and have on duty nursing care help. I’ve had a scooter for over 20 years but with my age and the cold canadian weather it is much nicer sitting in a warm van while watching the ducks. Olly
        olly

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        • #5
          Originally posted by b1zzfr74 View Post
          I?m a c6-7 walking quad, power wheelchair for past 4 years, 83 years old, 63 years post injury. Small town Dr. and not up on SCI. I,m afraid to ask him for help as he may take my drivers licence. I have a new brauns ability van and it allows me to drive to the park and watch the ducks. My driving is fine, no accidents or near accidents for many years. I hate to give up my independence. Is this severe breathing problem going to due me in or is there relief? Are there many still living at my age and 63 year post injury? Olly
          There probably aren't many. There is our own SCI55+, born in 1936 (83 years old), injured at age 16, 67 years post injury, non walking quad.

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          • #6
            See a pulmonologist.

            Originally posted by b1zzfr74 View Post
            I?m a c6-7 walking quad, power wheelchair for past 4 years, 83 years old, 63 years post injury. Small town Dr. and not up on SCI. I,m afraid to ask him for help as he may take my drivers licence. I have a new brauns ability van and it allows me to drive to the park and watch the ducks. My driving is fine, no accidents or near accidents for many years. I hate to give up my independence. Is this severe breathing problem going to due me in or is there relief? Are there many still living at my age and 63 year post injury? Olly
            Make an appointment to see a good pulmonologist in a larger city near you and demand a chest X-ray. You may have fluid build up in your plural cavity or pneumothorax (collapsed lung) causing severe shortness of breathe. Pulmonologist will also do a physical evaluation of you there in the office. Pulmonologist may ask you to do breathing tests to determine the strength of your abdominal muscle to evaluate your muscles for breathing.

            Pulmonologist may ask you to get a thoracentesis done if fluid is in your plural cavity to see if the fluid is positive, neutral or negative.

            Make an appointment as soon as possible. You may not get in for a couple of weeks.

            Ti
            "We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties."

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            • #7
              63 years, very impressive.

              Lots of possible causes. As others have said, get it checked out with a medical professional ASAP

              - Does the on duty nursing care have an oximeter to messure you O2 levels? Easy, painless, and probably free to get checked. EMT's or fire department may also be able to check. O2 levels should be over 90% even with exertion.
              - Are you overweight?
              - Do you snore at night?
              - Any swelling in ankles? or any place else (water retention)
              - Recent weight gain (water retention)
              - Are you taking any 'water pills'? Diuretic.

              Again, talk to a medical professional to get this figured out. Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.
              Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

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              • #8
                Difficulty breathing is a reason to see a physician IMMEDIATELY! Don't wait. If a physician cannot see you at the facility where you live, ask to be transported to the emergency room.

                Many people with high level SCI/D have a limited number of working respiratory muscles, and if they have to start really working at breathing, can fatigue these muscles to the point of respiratory failure fairly quickly.

                The cause of your shortness of breath must be evaluated, and if possible treated. This can range from problems such as pulmonary embolus, heart failure, pneumonia, and other respiratory infections to tumors and (as above) fluid collection in the chest wall. Impossible to determine without a good physical exam by a physician, a chest Xray, and possibly other tests. Please get to the ER now!

                (KLD)
                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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