I have mentioned The Cough a couple of times in the past. It represents a period which continues to impact my life. Over the next few days, I will try to tell the story.
The Cough began in April of 1997. It was preceded by a flu that lasted a few days and had all the usual symptoms; fever, aches, loss of appetite... It ended with a tickle in the throat which triggered coughing spasms that resembled Whooping Cough. I would cough until I wheezed, gasping for breath, and until a headache overwhelmed me. Nothing seemed to help. A "dry" cough. I sucked on various lozenges, used Chloroseptic sprays, and drank cough medicine by the gallon. Still I coughed. My doctor was no help. He suggested cough medicine, he sympathized, he queried me about possible allergies. I have no allergies and the cough medicine had no effect.
In May of that year, we took a flight to Dayton, Ohio to visit some friends for a week. While there, the "dry" cough turned "wet." I was now coughing up phlegm. I carried tissues, I sucked on lozenges constantly. When I got back home and then to the doctor, he prescribed amoxicillin. It had a minimal and short term effect.
I took to sleeping in my recliner in the living room. Faye could then sleep and I was more comfortable. In short order, I was coughing up phlegm that was like glue. Thick greenish brown mucus that dried hard. It was not just from my throat but also from my lungs. I started suffering shortness of breath.
In July, we met Faye's sister and her family at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando. We stayed only a half day before I had to leave. The heat and humidity combined with my breathing trouble made it impossible to stay. I ended up in a hospital emergency room right after we arrived home.
My O2 saturation was 64%. I couldn't walk more than 20 feet before needing to rest. I was admitted after a couple of nebulizer treatments got that up over 90% and I was considered stable
Thus began a two year battle for survival against a bug called Pseudomonas. I would learn a lot about doctors and medicine, little of it good. I would spend 2 separate weeks in hospitals. I would be on antibiotics and inhalers and Prednisone for those two years. I would miss a lot of work days. I would make numerous visits to emergency rooms. I would be tested, scanned, and mostly pitied.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago