@A MyCOPDTeam Member a finger oximeter will tell you your sat limits, if you have a infection which generally means green discharge and dark yellowish phelms it is time to see your Doctor to procure antibiotics and prednisone to fight off a infection. You should also head to seek help if you can not settle a episode of shortness of breath don`t let it get to the panic stage. I hope this helps some a discussion for all this should also be discussed with your doctor so you have a plan in place.
The questions depend on whether you're brand new to COPD and to this pulmo or whether you're a seasoned patient and you need a new doc.
If you're new to COPD:
What is my diagnosis? What in my history or tests you did leads you to that conclusion? What do my test scores mean? What meds will you prescribe and what are each supposed to do? What do I do if they don't work? What do you want me to do if I get something respiratory? What can I do to improve my situation? Who can I talk with in your office if I have questions?
If you're a seasoned patient:
Do you feel that the meds I'm on are the best for me given my history?
Are there other meds you think I might do better on?
I exercise regularly, mostly on the xyz for X minutes; what do you suggest?
I'm on O2. My arrangement with my last pulmo was that I keep my O2 sats between 93 and 97 and turn the O2 up or down depending on activity. Is this ok with you?
My action plan was xyz (you fill in the blanks); how do you want me to proceed when I get something respiratory?
I've heard about xyz treatment. Do you think I might benefit from it?
If you're brand new to COPD, you want someone who's going to give you as much information as you can absorb, and you're going to want someone who can answer questions for you when you have them. I hope that set of questions will get you started. Eventually, you want to partner with your doc and develop a relationship that's mutually beneficial.
If you're a seasoned patient, you want someone who is willing to give you credit for being knowledgeable and understands your disease and how it affects you. You have an established routine with a pulmo and you want to continue it. If the new person isn't willing to follow the routine you've set up, then you can decide whether you want to see him/her again.
I recently had to find a new pulmo because my previous one moved out of state. My new guy follows his lead almost to the letter, except he won't use email; he wants phone calls. That's worked so far. Just an example.
I was misdiagnosed for six months and finally ended up in the hospital where I was diagnosed with stage 4 emphysema. I had no clue what to do and went through three Pulmonologists before I found a good one. During this time I lost more lung function. I had a friend who taught me how to breathe, I read everything I could find on COPD. My FEV1 was 38 a year ago and it still is today. I am on low dose Prednisone, oxygen and Advair. I have not been hospitalized or had any infections since I was diagnosed in 2015. I take good care of myself because I am responsible for me. I hope this helps someone.
Questions to ask a new Doctor. First be sure you see a Pulmonologist. Early diagnosis can add years to your life. When the doctor does all of the breathing tests and X-rays ask him to explain FEV1. It will determine the stage. 1,2,3 or 4. Ask to see your X-ray and have him explain what has and is happening to your lungs. Ask about rehab, oxygen, steroids and which inhalers would be best for you. If the doctor does not want to take the time to go over all if that with you, get a new doctor. You have to advocate for yourself and knowledge will keep you alive.