Underwater, stuffed with feathers, squeezed in a fist

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.


7 thoughts on “Underwater, stuffed with feathers, squeezed in a fist

  1. Cough variant asthma. It’s what I have. If I start wheezing, then I know I’m in big trouble. The inhaler should help. Hopefully he gave you something with both a steroid and a bronchodilator. Plus, a rescue inhaler (like albuterol). The allergies are definitely not helping things. I hope you feel better soon. I’m miserable right now. We can see the pollen on the streets here. Yuck.

  2. Ventolin HFA — albuterol.

    I woke up twice last night, just a little before the four hours ran out. Better than the night before, though.

    Kat, I hope you feel better soon, too.

  3. Well, this is one thing I wish we *didn’t* have in common. I have allergic rhinitis and allergy-induced asthma as well… and, wow, is it a bad year for it! I do love my allergist’s office, but at the moment I’m slightly afraid of the amount of medicine they have me on. Though I guess in their defense I’ve gotten a sinus infection after being off antibiotics for a month or less several times in the last 6 months. Over the past 13 years, I’ve been on all of the antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra). They’ve all worked about the same. Well, except last summer when Claritin did *nothing* for me. I am actually on generic Allegra right now so that may be an option for you as well if you need it. I know what I was told about insurance was that since Claritin and Zyrtec are now over-the-counter, many insurance companies won’t pay for the prescription for either of them (and, I assumed, their generics). All allergy meds depend on building up an immunity over time so you should be doing much better in a few days and even more in a few weeks. And I’m not sure *how* coughing relates to asthma, but it definitely does. Over my past year of seeing my allergist and taking prednisone *way* too often, I’ve learned that a cough and fatigue are the beginning signs of an asthma flareup… after that comes using the rescue inhaler way too often. (Unfortunately, my learning is still all in hindsight). I do hope you are feeling better soon!

  4. I don’t mind that insurance won’t cover what’s available over the counter. I just resent being told that I should take what insurance will cover instead of what I can pay for myself. I think insurance should be about what I can’t afford, and not about providing what I could provide for myself.

  5. I hope you are no longer underwater, stuffed with feathers and squeezed in a fist. I hope the medicine is working out for you and that you are feeling better. Only once have I truly felt like I couldn’t get enough air and it was really awful. Then finally the child was born and I no longer had someone else’s feet and legs inhibiting my lungs’ ability to fully expand. 🙂

    Hope you are all better very soon.

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