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.