- April 7 (seven weeks ago): The cough became violent & my chest often felt tight, like my lungs couldn't inflate enough & I couldn't get enough air. (Apparently, this is what docs call "shortness of breath.")
- April 14 (six weeks ago): GP diagnosed bronchitis.
- April 29 (exactly one month ago): I saw the pulmonologist. I immediately started taking the meds she prescribed for GERD, allergies, and postnasal drip, but stopped using the asthma inhaler (Advair) after two days, as it seemed to cause a sore throat.
- May 5 (six days later): I started seeing a new acupuncturist (because the headaches have reemerged and have sometimes been getting pretty bad again), and she was distressed by the severity of my cough & so began working on my lungs (using needles and cupping).
- A few days later: The coughing was still bad enough that, in desperation, I decided to try the asthma inhaler again. I seemed to develop a sore throat again after only one day, and so stopped.
- Another couple weeks: I continued seeing the acupuncturist once or twice a week, not sure if I was seeing any results, as the headaches continued & the cough never seemed particularly improved after a session. The coughing sometimes let up for several hours at a time, but always got bad again, especially if I overexerted myself (even by something as simple as folding laundry). I rarely slept more than 5 or 6 hours a night before I woke up coughing. The cough was sometimes still really bad. I tried to sleep/nap whenever I could, but the cough would get so much worse when I lay down that sleep was always hard to come by.
- May 20 (nine days ago): I had a few days of coughing that was violent enough to leave me grabbing onto walls or counters to prevent myself from falling down & I was getting little sleep. Desperate (and theorizing that the primary problem was actually asthma, since the treatments relating to the other health issues didn't seem to be making much difference), I phoned the pulmonologist to get another appointment on June 11, a bit less than two weeks from now. I also decided to try the Advair inhaler again & didn't develop a sore throat, and so have continued using it twice daily.
- May 25 (four days ago): My friends Daniel and Laura stopped by to visit, and I noticed that I was definitely coughing less. Sleep was still often difficult & I usually woke early due to a light but persistent cough, but I definitely wasn't having any more of the violent coughing fits.
- May 26 (three days ago): I started using a cool mist humidifier whenever I sleep (after a recommendation from the acupuncturist and a lot of online research that backed up her theory about it helping with coughing).
- May 27 (two days ago): I was feeling stir-crazy enough that I finally rebelled against the "Always Resting" plan & took vigorous 15-minute walk, which felt great. I coughed lightly here & there during; my chest felt even tighter and kind of weird afterward; I coughed a bit more afterward; but mostly I was excited and energized by the exercise. (Note: Due to some other coinciding factors—spending a bunch of money on unnecessary items, suddenly starting a couple of projects—I wondered if my spontaneous brisk walk might be a sign of impending hypomania, which can sometimes be triggered by too little sleep.)
- May 28 (yesterday): For the first time in weeks, I went an entire day without taking cough medicine! No Delsym, no Nyquil, no cough drops! I coughed lightly but persistently throughout the day, but it wasn't anything that really affected my functioning.
- Today: Frustratingly, I still woke up with a light but persistent cough after only 5 hours of sleep. I think I'm going to go take some cough medicine again.
I notice that the coughing seems to have considerably improved about a week since I started using the Advair inhaler, and wonder if that is what has made the difference. If so, it definitely suggests that asthma is the primary cause of the coughing and the bronchitis. I'm not assuming anything about linearity of improvement, but even if the coughing continues to lessen, I plan to keep my appointment with the pulmonologist on June 11, because I want to talk to her about the asthma issue.
And, in the meantime, I plan to take some more walks & get some exercise and fresh air, watching carefully to see if it causes more coughing. And I plan to return to CWC on Monday, for the first time in almost two months! I've also begun doing my PT stretches much more aggressively throughout the day, because the headaches have been getting bad again. I hope the frequent stretching makes a difference!