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My Grama

asprague
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2006

My grama had radioactive implants inserted into her lung after the tumors were removed. Now she is super depressed and we can't get her to exercise to try to strengthen her lungs. Does anyone have any good exercises for older people to do with poor lungs? It kinda sounds difficult, but I know we have to get her doing something not only for her lung problems, but for her depression as well! Any suggestions?

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

How long ago was her surgery? Is it possible that you're expecting too much of her too soon?

As far as the depression, yes, exercise might help, but it might not too. If she's severely depressed, you should discuss that with her doctor so she can be treated.

What kind of exercises did they tell her to do when she got out of the hospital? I'd be hestitant to give you any advice that might be contrary to what she was told by her medical team. . . and this is very clearly something they should have provided you and her with input on!

I hope her condition improves, so that your spirits are lifted too.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Asprague,

I know of two devices your grandma can use to strengthen and condition her lungs without outright physical exercising. Both requires blowing or inhaling on breathing devices that keeps the lungs inflated. One has a flexible tube to blow into with the goal of keeping a small disk in a vertical column where the disk with a smiling face should be held (with the blower's breath) in the middle marker as long as the blower can sustain the exhale. The other one is a bulbous device that can be likened to a big whistle. On the inhale, there's a fluttering sound.

My mother was instructed to blow on those devices for 10 inhales/exhales at least once an hour while she was still sedentary.

The easiest exercise to gradually become accustomed to is walking. Have your grandma walk as far or long as she can before she gets too tired. The more she does, the longer she'll be able to do it.

It is true exercise helps with the depression as exercise can produce endorphins. In the meantime, try to get her mind off of her disease. I know, easier said than done. But engage with her with social activities. Watch movies together and talk about it. Listen to her favorite music, especially ones she may have good memories embedded in. Read a book for her. Anything is possible.

Be attentive to her energy level to know when she needs some quiet time.

I've followed an approach of never showing the cancer patient how that disease affects you. The patient needs emotional strength and the last thing to do is to have them worry about you. So show your best face possible.

Good luck and best wishes.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Also, one of the most gentle exercises is Tai Chi. The movements are strenuous. There is even a Tai Chi regiment which can be done sitting.

You may want to look into it. To encourage your grandma into doing it, be her exercise buddy. Motivation for exercising is better when done with somebody else.

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

As several of your replies indicated, you need to talk to your doctor to see what your grama can do and what is expecting too much. I found that the breathing exercises were good for me but not exactly a fun day at the beach, if you know what I mean(Especially when you have to do them every hour you're awake!). I did them and they helped, but they were about as much fun as taking all the pain meds, which I also did just as prescribed. Then one day I was able to make it to choir practice and got to try out singing. I had to sit to sing at first, but it encouraged me to take big breaths and let them out in a controlled fashion. That's what the equipment stuff is for too, but singing was lots more fun for me. The music was uplifting and getting out with other people helped too. My father-in-law seemed depressed when he was taking his meds for pain after surgery. It turned out that the meds for pain were interacting with the meds for his other health problems. If you can find a really good nurse or pharmacist to check out all your grandmother's medicines, you might find out what is interacting with what and see if the depression is actually that or a drug overdose. Please understand that even when you are taking the meds as prescribed, sometime one drug might cause another drug not to be metabolized, that is used up, as quickly as it usually does and all of a sudden you end up with an overdose of the drug even though you took the right amount. Other things that seem to help with depression can include bringing by a quiet dog or cat to pet, taking her out to lunch, taking her for a ride, going for a short walk with her around the house, block, or whatever her limit is, completing a short task(like baking cookies, making a salad, doing a craft), and getting her to help someone worse off than she is. Anger, fear and frustration can often be underlying depression, so talking to survivors that she can identify with helps. Sometimes talking to a social worker or good nurse can help as well. Good luck!!!

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