Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week Seventy-five - Godzilla......

My facebook status yesterday read, "This cold is Godzilla to my Tokyo. I never saw the movie - did Tokyo make it?"   

I've had asthma forever.  It was probably the underlying cause of my frequent childhood bronchitis (that and parental smoking).  It might even have explained my lack of respiratory endurance in gym class.  But it wasn't actually diagnosed until some attending physician, tired of hearing his intern cough, made me go get tested.  Overall, it's never been a major problem, never resulted in an ER visit, and never required more than a month or so of maintenance meds every few years.

But this cold.....

Godzilla settled in my chest and the coughing began.  I unwrapped an inhaler that's been sitting in the medicine cabinet since last November (it expires in April for those of you who are concerned about such things LOL).  And I used it.  And used it.  Every four hours, sometimes every three.  In my experience, I'll end up needing it for a three or four days and then everything will go back to normal. I called in sick Monday and Tuesday, and then I took Godzilla to work with me yesterday.

But last night, starting at about 8, I was wracked by coughing spasms. Forceful, empty-your-lungs-and-see-the-pretty-stars spasms.  I calmed it down and went to bed at 9:30, belly muscles aching.  At about 10, I sat bolt upright and fought to get air in, coughing out, and keep the peels of the apple I ate before bed from blocking of my trachea as the force of the cough emptied my stomach.  I went through about six 15-minute-long bouts of nonstop coughing, managing to hit my inhaler once every half an hour.  The stars were starting to appear permanent.  And then...

One cough was so violent I felt the entire right side of my head go numb.  Have you ever turned your head suddenly and felt that burning shock go up the back of your scalp? Take that sensation all the way to the tip of your nose. 

By this time it was midnight.  Hubby was watching a movie in another room, so I went and alerted him (okay, I'm slow - but I couldn't breathe, okay?).  We contacted Curlygirl.  Squeaker's been sick, so she was up anyway.  Hubby dropped me at the ER, and went to get her so she could stay with Babygirl. By the time he came back, I had registered, been triaged and was on my way for a chest xray and blood work.  And then we waited.  And waited. 

Eternity can now be defined as 1 1/2 hours in the ER waiting room increasingly struggling to breathe.  I know all the tricks - I've taught them to patients.  Put some weight on your hands and lean forward - it opens up the chest.  Purse your lips and blow - the back pressure gets more air out.  Yup.  Helpful tips. Not. The head numbness resolved.  Turns out it was a migraine aura, so each and every cough of each and EVERY coughing spasm sent knife blades across the right side of my brain. Thank God I had my sunglasses with me - ER lighting is harsh.

At 1:45 AM the doc arrived, looked me over briefly, and within a very few more minutes there was a respiratory therapist, a shot of summatriptan for the migraine, prednisone tablets and an IV.  After the third breathing treatment, I could finally lie down without choking - around 3:30 AM.  At 5:30 I was discharged after listening to the pompous ass of an ER doc (not maligning his competence, just his bedside manner) finally realized who I was and blessed me out for not pointing out my superior importance to the triage nurse (I guess sunglasses at night DO constitute a disguise).

Sigh.  Doctors put their pantyhose on one leg at a time just like everybody else.  I don't deserve to budge in line based on my 'status'.  Truth is, they put me in ahead of several folks who had arrived before me the only one they took ahead of me was a man who looked to be about 90 years old.

I came home, took a nap, went to work, and came home for a nap.  Daytime wasn't so bad.

But the coughing spasms are back.  It looks like it might be a long night.  I take it Godzilla stayed in Tokyo for little while?



  1. Ok call me ignorant but whether someone is an doc, king of the universe, street sweeper or Medicaid recipient should they wait for an hour and a half when they finding it increasingly difficult to BREATHE? I'll go out on a limb and say that respiration is kinda important. So, if I can't breathe I'll be sure to drive to WB to my niece's hospital because I'll get prompt attention. What a bunch of malarkey. Does that behavior and "timely" treatment fall in line with their mission statement?
    Ok, deep breath (no pun intended)....I really hope you feel better and get some rest! Take care of you!!!! Judy

  2. Oh you poor thing. So awful when you can;t take a breath without coughing. Feel better soon.