Anyone who has spent time with me in the last month or so has heard the Cough of Doom. Or anyone who saw me in April. Or December of last year. Or August of last year, etc. Apparently, I have a triannual cold-that-turns-into-bronchitis thing. I finally realized the periodicity of it this time around (OK, I’m sorta slow when it comes to recognizing health patterns), so I made an appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat guy (Dr. Clark).
My appointment was this morning… here’s the re-cap:
1) We are still not sure what’s causing the quarterly bouts with bronchitis. The suspicion at the moment is that it’s a persistent sinus infection. I’m having a CAT scan this afternoon to see if that’s the case. I see ENT again on Friday; however, the bronchitis part of it is really not his field, so I’ll probably end up working with my GP on that one. I was tempted to suspect the newest “nasal variable” in my life (India, my puppy), but this has been going on for at least five years (my first one was right before Larry & I went to Iceland in 2001). They do seem to have gone from biannual to triannual though
2) As far as the constant coughing that comes with every round of bronchitis (and won’t leave — even with Advair), apparently the combination of coughing and talking on long calls and in speakerphone situations and over background noise (etc.) has irritated my vocal cords (“caused an ‘insult’ to them, as he put it). They are puffy and don’t close completely. (He stuck a camera down my nose! I asked if I could watch so they set up a monitor for me! Ew! Cool!).
The irritated vocal cords are what’s making cough. And coughing is irritating the vocal cords. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. (Fun.) (As an aside, this explains why it gets so much worse on days where I’m back-to-back on calls, as opposed to, say, Saturdays.)
So, I am starting Prednisone today *and* going on vocal restrictions (yep — you “heard me” correctly… not anything above conversational tone: no conference calls, no speakerphone, no talking above ambient noise) and trying reduce talking as much as possible. Once my vocal cords are more happy and less irritated, the coughing should stop.
Anyway — so I figured I should write this rather than tell you ;-)
May the torture begin.