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Reactive Airway Disease.

That's why I can't stop coughing.

It sounds impressive, but it basically means that something - could be anything - irritated the bronchi in my lungs.  A cold, an allergy, exposure to an irritant (i.e. smoke, dust, pollen.)  That irritation made me cough.  My oversensitized bronchi were more irritated by the cough.  Which made me cough more.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Apparently sometimes this cycle will stop on it's own, but I'm to the point of coughing until I gag, leak, and am unable to catch my breath.  I'm wheezing - which is a really scary noise from the inside.  I can't get my breath after climbing the stairs.  All Not Good.

Having the worst fall allergies that I've had in *years* is just insult to injury.

The doctor has given me:

*  A lighter version of cough syrup with codeine.  This one should allow me to get some sleep and still function the next morning.  I'll let you know.  Last night I screwed it up - it wore off and I woke up coughing to the point where I couldn't breathe or walk, so I went to the bathroom and took a half dose to carry me through the rest of the night.  Unfortunately codeine screws up my thought process pretty badly, so I didn't check the time until *after* I took it.  4:58am.  Getting up at 6:00 did not go well, and I was pretty loopy until 9:00 or so.

*  A course of Singulair.  She decided to use that instead of an inhaler because of the added bonus that the SIngulair might additionally give me some relief from the fall allergies.  Also, the albuterol hasn't really done much for me when we've tried it.

*  A two week course of Prednisone to knock down the inflammation.  She's given me a pretty heavy course, and my doctor is VERY conservative about prescribing drugs, so I figure the wheeze must sound as bad to her as it does to me.  I worry a bit about this one, because it's an immunosuppressive, and I live with a petri dish.  On the other hand, I need to do something to allow me to function and my lungs are clearly not going to fix themselves.

I really don't feel like my lungs have been entirely right again ever since I actually had honest-to-God influenza.  My big fear is that this is going to happen every time I get a cold.  Which is approximately every three weeks when you live with a toddler in daycare.  I'm guessing that the trick is to find the combination of drugs that work for me to interrupt the inflammation cycle, and keep them on hand so that I can stop it at a week rather than a month plus.

But it doesn't mean I'll have to like it.

I AM enjoying the shot of energy from the prednisone though.  If I have to deal with it, I may as well enjoy what side effects I can.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
All my sympathies.

I've had lung trouble all my life -- from allergies to asthma to pneumonia. So I really feel for you. It's crappy. I hate when a cold gets into my lungs (like it did last May). I will cough for a full month. It's exhausting.

I will say that since I went off grains, not only my fall allergies have gone away, but my lungs are appreciably more resistant. I don't know if it works for everyone, but perhaps reducing your grain consumption might help. The idea of taking Prednisone scares the crap outta me.
Sep. 21st, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
Prednisone scares me too. Not being able to breathe scares me more, so I'm willing to give it a go. And I have the luxury of having a doctor that I truly *trust.*

I've thought about what you've been doing with the grains, but I'm not sure that I have the intestinal fortitude - and I'm pretty sure that the rest of the household isn't ready to do it with me! But it's something I'm considering.
Sep. 20th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
My fall allergies have been really bad too. I can't imagine lung difficulties on top of it. My sympathies. I hope it all works and you're feeling better soon.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Well, on the bright side, the first hard frost will take care of the allergies.
Sep. 20th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness! :-( That sounds terribly distressing. *hug* Take care of yourself.

This might sound like over-reacting, but I think that while you're going through the autumn pollen season AND taking prednisone, you might consider wearing a pollen mask...maybe something like this:
Billions of cautious Asians can't be wrong...everyone in Tokyo wears them during hay fever/flu season.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Not for me - masks make me feel like I'm suffocating. It's a mental thing - I can't even pull the bedcovers over my head. I'll cocoon my face and head, and leave a hole in the covers for my nose and mouth.

Like you, I'm sure this too shall pass. Then I need to learn to manage it. I suspect that as Charlotte gets older and we're not getting sick every few weeks that I'll do better when my lungs have more than a week to recover.
Sep. 21st, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
Hopefully the meds will do the trick for you and it doesn't become an on going issue. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
I feel for you! And Charlotte & Bob, because a coughing family member can be scary.

Rob's been fighting something like this for far too long too -- I must admit I read your scrip list hoping for something they HADN"T tried him on yet. Dr's trying to get him to talk to an allergist about foods to avoid during pollen season... Let's keep each other posted if new ideas turn up.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )