Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cough cough cough

So last October I got bronchitis and, dunno why, but the cough never left. Although the cough sounds wet, it's non productive. Whenever I lie down I sound like a leaky tea kettle: lots of whistling and wheezing each time I exhale. But I was raised in a family where we didn't go to the doctor unless the bleeding couldn't be stopped. For example, when he was 5 years old, although he was obviously horribly ill, my older brother's appendix had to actually burst (which caused all sorts of interesting, to say nothing of life-threatening, complications) before my father consented to my mother seeking medical treatment for him. As a result, my reaction to this persistent, annoying cough, and the hoarseness that sometimes accompanies it, was not to go to the doctor but to "tough it out". Stupid reaction, I know, but I'm willing to bet that many others my age can relate. Last March, when I'd had the cough for just 5 months, I developed a low grade fever and became exhausted. I finally went to my doctor, who diagnosed walking pneumonia for which he prescribed a steroid shot and a Z-Pak. After treatment, the fever resolved and I was no longer exhausted, but the cough was completely unaffected. I've coughed all summer and my voice is no longer clear, which I hate. So today, August 17, 2016, I went back to the doctor to see what can be done. He said he could hear me coughing from outside the room "and that cough is HORRIBLE!" The good news is, my lungs sound clear; the mystery is, what's causing the bronchitis? For the record, I've never smoked, or, as I like to say, five of my six siblings did, so I didn't have to. Nevertheless, he sent me for a chest x-ray (to rule out more ominous causes of persistent cough, although that's not what he said). Also,  I got another steroid shot, for which I'll have to pay almost a hundred dollars out of pocket because some bean counter with no medical training at my insurance company has decided there is no reason, EVER, to have a steroid shot. But in situations like mine, a steroid shot is absolutely called for, so I'll pay the out of pocket. The doctor said he was also going to prescribe a much stronger antibiotic, "but some people have tendon problems with this". "Oh, you're prescribing Cipro?" I asked. He turned around and looked me in the eyes. "How would you possibly know that?" he asked. "I work in pharmacovigilance, remember?" I answered. "So I know it's a fluorquinolone antibiotic and there's a possibility my achilles' tendon could snap coincidental to my taking it. The good news is you can prescribe the brand name, because we happen to manufacture it so I think I get it for free" (actually, I have to copay $15, which is fine with me).

15 years ago, a guy whom I was dating wrote me a script for Cipro to treat an upper respiratory infection, but I've never believed in overkill, so I had him re-write it for a milder antibiotic which worked fine. But having had this damned cough for 10 months, even though there's a class action lawsuit due to the side effects, I'm willing to try Cipro. And I hope the damned chest x-ray looks good. Bette Davis had it right: old age is not for sissies.


pam said...

Damn, girl! I sure hope your meds work!

emmapeelDallas said...

Thanks, me too. He said this might be asthmatic bronchitis, but since I didn't have childhood asthma and didn't develop adult asthma in my 40's, he thinks it's unlikely. I just want the cough to go away. I'm sick of it. (Do I sound like a grouchy old woman or what?) :)

Lisa :-] said...

Wonder if it coukd be a reaction to something environmental...?