Long ago, in a land far away, I got sick every spring. Strep throat every year of elementary school. In college, bronchitis. And the cough would linger for months, with a persistent insidious tickle. Various doctors had various ideas… including allergy-induced asthma, which seemed crazy to me. Asthma had nothing to do with coughing — right? And since when did I have allergies? On the other hand, the lingering cough certainly didn’t have anything to do with continuing to have an infection.
Anyway, this year I got a sore throat again, and did the usual hot salt water gargle morning and night, which, as usual, drastically reduced the postnasal drip and made things feel better. Cough lingered a little, but wasn’t debilitating. Then I spent a couple hours working in the garden, with my new deep hay mulch method, and suddenly everything was awful again.
Monday, Dr. Miller: allergic rhinitis. Probably have postnasal drip chronically, even when it’s not bad enough to hurt. Nasonex for a year, in conjunction with Claritin if I want.
My nose gets much better over the week, thanks to the Nasonex and/or the nasal rinsing. On the days I take Claritin in the morning, I have trouble sleeping — the cough urge is increasingly tickly and insistent. On the days when I don’t, I can take Benadryl and sleep eventually.
Until last night, when even two Benadryl didn’t help. I was getting to the point where I could hardly say a few words without launching a wheezy cough sequence. I managed to wait until this morning and got back to the doctor.
Dr. Stillson: yup, allergy-induced asthma. Allergy shot, inhaler (woo-hoo!), and my choice of allergy pill. (Rather annoyed that he was recommending Allegra not because it’s more effective, but because insurance would cover it and save me money; isn’t part of the whole point of health insurance reform to realize that free and low-cost drugs and procedures are not really free and low cost? No thanks, I can afford the $5 for 30 tablets of generic Claritin.)
So I’m still coughing, but no longer the higher wheezy hacking kind — I can talk in complete sentences again. My throat still feels squeezed and stuffed with feathers and underwater, but not as bad. And I have a little energy again.
Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep, and for getting through my coffee shop performance tomorrow without hack attacks.