Coughing in the Time of Covid

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Spent the last two days juggling work & Dr apts at the hospital. Work did not win. I arrived at my Mon apt at 9, almost an hour and a half away from home. Answered the “yes I have cough” and watched the horror on their faces at check in. (Cut the asthmatics a break people!) Ended up back home after four. I thought it was going to be a 15 min apt. Turns out the asthma specialist does what you go to a specialist for – a two hour discussion and every test in the book. Turns out I am allergic to nothing! Which I knew, but Dr wanted to see for himself to verify the battle plan. Basically he upgraded my medicines to things 30 years newer than what I was taking. He gave me his cell number and my own emergency card of prednisone. From now on I call him anytime. I should not have gone thru the last six weeks of struggle trying to battle asthma complications with cold & flu products and outdated antibiotic protocols. Amen.

I have to make one big lifestyle change. I need to exercise. To the point of sweating & breathing hard. Breathing hard = asthma attack, which is why I have to seriously increase my use of the “rescue” inhaler until the new meds kick in – about 20 days. I have been settling for just enough air. Very common with asthmatics. He told me of a world where I will have much more energy because I won’t be scared of no air or getting sick like I did. He also said dropping my BMI even by a little bit, one man went from 425 pounds to 400 pounds, and the asthma gets better. I didn’t totally follow, but the gist of it is adipose tissue releases a chemical that inhibits energy/oxygen in the lungs.

I really threw him off when he asked about alcohol and I said I was an alcoholic. He asked his CAGE questions anyways and I got 3 of 4. He was so confused. He said he had never had someone tell him they were. Everyone he had were in denial and lie or tell him how long they were sober. His first inclination was that if I told him I was, I couldnt be one. He went on with his thoughts about drinking. I just nodded and smiled. Then he stopped and looked at me and said, How can you just calmly tell me this? I said, I have dealt with the shame. If my sharing helps someone that’s great. Then he asked if I had heard of a wonderful woman named Brene Brown? Lol He said I have challenged his whole perception. Then he told me he wasn’t going to put it in my chart so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I said I didn’t care. I tell all my doctors anyways.

I am starting to see the connections. I knew when I had to drop my asthma medicine because I couldn’t afford it, my weight started creeping up, then I started moving less, and then I couldn’t even walk around the block because my chest hurt so bad. I really did a head trip on myself that it was my fault when it’s a chemical imbalance in the lungs. I have only heard of this as to mental or something like diabetes. Then when he said he has this terrible disease too, I was like, wtf? I most certainly have not treated this as a disease, but as something to be ashamed of – cough shaming. In college, the dorm even asked to move home for a while because my night coughing was so disruptive.

I think this is my asthma rock bottom. The treatment is lots of broncho dilation now and then cut back to a maintenance level. There will be a few weeks of more coughing as I change drugs & my lungs adjust. Coughing in this case, is an adjustment, like your eye learning to wear a contact lens. I have always thrown out the dream of having energy & air. This is going to be an interesting journey.

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