26 August 2013

Like a Phoenix

I finish my vanilla matcha latte, make a quick trip to the women's room and just make it back to the gate in time to hear that our plane is within distance from the airport. Yes! An hour late but I am not complaining because my body is still trying to catch up with my mind.

I was not ready to leave this morning...

This last month has been scary and brutal. In my last post about my Virginia trip I mentioned my diagnosis of bronchitis. Well, the cough and congestion has been taking its sweet time in leaving me. 

It started with some innocent enough throat clearing after mango margaritas at La Hacienda in Frisco during a basketball tournament weekend. Then the day before I headed to VA, I just had a dry cough. I didn't concern myself much and didn't treat myself to anything more than Emergen-C. In the sleepless days to follow, I was clamoring for AlkaSeltzer cold meds and trying to ease my cough with hot showers while away. 

When I returned home from my trip with a worsening cough, I stepped things up a bit taking puffs off of Scott's inhaler and helping myself to Emi's leftover cough syrup from her bout with bronchitis in January. There was little relief and I was choking on the mucus (I know, TMI). I was worried that my cough was more serious so I went to Urgent Care that Sunday where the doctor diagnosed me with bronchitis and sent me home with antibiotics, prednisone and my own cough syrup with codeine so I could sleep.

I took the meds dutifully for a few days, but 5 days later following last dose of prednisone, I coughed so hard I hurt something. Dr. Google assures me it was costochondritis. Then I started waking myself up in the middle of the night gasping for air.

I would fall asleep mostly on an incline (desperately wanting to flip over onto my stomach) and wake up 2 hrs later with the feeling that there was a film of saran wrap over my windpipe. I would gasp and panic and wake Scott up and eventually when I exhaled and tilted my head back, I could breathe and shakily talk. I used the inhaler to try to help open things up during those episodes.

After the 3rd night of this fun, I headed to the ER to make sure I didn't have pneumonia. At night when reclining in bed, I would experience wheezing from my right lung, the one underneath the painful ribs. It hurt so much to even put a bra on (but I did). The ER doctor x-rayed my lungs and while he heard the wheezing a little, my films were clear and I still had good movement. He concluded that I had Acute Bronchitis and switched my antibiotic from Augmentin to Azithromycin to kick things into gear.

When I asked about the scary gasping for air episodes at night, he said to come in if I experienced it again. I didn't go back to the ER but the gasping for air every 2 hours continues most nights still.

I went to my "regular" doctor a few days later to see if I was experiencing asthma.  The nurse had me blow into a spirometer, gave me a lung treatment (told me to "smoke this") and then had me blow into a spirometer. The lung treatment stirred things up in my lines and I had a coughing fit in the doctor's office, but the doctor said I didn't have asthma, she suspected allergies and said to take Mucinex and she prescribed Singulair which treats asthma but helps with allergies. I took that for just a few nights and it did not prevent my spasmodic coughing episodes at night.

I listened to the advice of a co-worker and tried 24 hour Allegra to address any post-nasal drip from allergies and Mucinex to help clear my lungs. That seemed to provide relief for a few days. I would feel better during the day and then think I was going to die the next morning when I was not getting enough sleep.

I talked with my dad about my concerns and he said he was about my age when he started having allergies. I still don't accept that this is allergies but I was desperate for relief and sleep. He said Mucinex almost killed him and didn't clear his lungs and he recommended Claritin-D. I went back to my doc to check out my very tender right rib and request some Claritin-D. She suspected my Gallbladder (!!!) and called in a script for the anti-histamine and set up an appt for me to have my gallbladder scanned. Can you believe I was actually relieved to hear that it might not be my lung?

So I got 30 days of Claritin-D and have taken exactly 1 dose because I hate the medicine head. I think it helped me a little that night I took it, but I still had some coughing and the next morning I was so detached, I cared about nothing. It was hard to get out of bed and actually go to work feeling so apathetic.

That day on the way home, I picked up a Vick's personal vaporizer and that little device really helped me out. Hot showers and baths have always been a part of the ritual in getting over this health issue, but during the day when I really wanted to hang on the beach or in a steam sauna, this little guy helped me out. Closest thing to rinsing out my lungs that I could do for myself.

So I'm on my way to Napa for work and I'm hoping the grape country will help me recover.... This morning was no cup of tea though. My back and lungs were hurting from coughing and I am sure that in my haste to pack and get ready for my trip that I did not take in enough fluids. Saturday was going along so well I thought I was thoroughly healed up. Then David and I went to Chili's for lunch and that's when I didn't feel so hot. I think sugar and dairy sets me back... wonder what wine will do...

I'm in Phoenix getting ready to board a flight to Sacramento and drive an hour to Napa for work and some play. Even though I feel half dead I am excited about the week!


  1. I also suffered from dry cough a few months ago. It was really bad and I couldn't sleep for many nights, so I know what you were going through. It's nice to hear that it was only allergies. I hope you had a good time in Napa!

    Javier Carol @ USHealthWorks.com/Everett-Broadway-Center

    1. Thanks, Javier. I think Napa helped. I also think that taking something for allergies that I don't admit yet that I have has staved things off this spring too. I think Allegra works as soon as I have any symptoms and doesn't give me medicine head. Take care!


I would love to hear back from my readership (all 2 of you) so please don't be afraid to say "hi" or comment!