Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Listen To Your Body, Bock" - Part 3

Greta Garbo as Marguerite Gautier in the American romantic drama film "Camille" (1936),
directed by George Cukor and produced by Irving Thalberg and Bernard H. Hyman
For those of you who haven't read Alexandre Dumas, fils, novel "La Dame aux Camélias", or seen the other works  of art that are based on that novel, mainly the film "Camille" (from which the picture above is taken) or Giuseppe Verdi's opera "La Traviata", let me give you the following short information about it as far as it is relevant to this post.

"The lady of the camellias" (whom the originators of the opera for some inexplicable reason see fit to change the name of) is a luxury prostitute in the 19th century Paris. She hobnobs with high society (mostly the older and wealthier men) and other girls like herself. During the course of the story she starts coughing in the sweetest and most endearing way. This gets worse until she starts emitting perfect small  flecks of blood on her white handkerchiefs. It deteriorates from there and eventually she  dies.

Well, now lets leave that little floozy and move our attention to someone much more important, namely  me.

I have been coughing more-or-less constantly for the last ten years. This is of course connected to my habit of smoking cigarettes. Sometimes I cough much, at other times less, it gets worse when I have a cold or the flu. Now let me also confess that my coughs can in no way be described as cute, discrete or  touching. When they are bad they are really bad and take over my body completely and come out as deep, rumbling cascades, so if I feel that happening I usually get to my feet - if I feel it is safe - and remove myself to another location where I can take care of business alone.

Throughout the past years I have had dozens of X-rays and examinations by specialists of every kind. They find nothing strange and all tell me, "There is only one way to get the cough to stop and that is by quitting smoking."

However, last fall there was a breakthrough, I was diagnosed with a mild case of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and have since received adequate treatment for that, meaning inhalation medication of Spiriva (tiotropium bromide monohydrate), supplemented by Oxis (formoterol). This medication allows the muscles in my airways to relax and thus helps keeps them open which allows me to breathe.

Lo and behold, my longtime companion the cough almost left me completely overnight, except for a few cute and rather endearing coughs once-in-awhile. That is until about a month ago, when I suddenly started coughing violently again despite religiously adhering to the routines prescribed by the doctors.

After about two weeks of this, I started feeling sharp pains on the right side of my chest. I suspected I had torn a muscle, but due to pressure from my parents, my boss and my consort I made an appointment to see my Hungarian doctor. He - as always - listened extremely attentively to what I had to say and to my lungs. After having done the latter he asked me to lift my right arm, he then jabbed me in a particular spot with his finger and I almost jumped through the roof. With a soft smile he then told me that he had been worried that my right lung might have collapsed, but that he - after the examination - had come to the conclusion that I had torn a muscle. I should medicate for this with regular off the counter painkillers.

Two days after the visit to my doctor there was a new and - for me rather dramatic development (remember I told you in the beginning that I am a hypochondriac). Blood started coming up when I coughed, not small flecks either but rather largish volumes of it, although I am aware of the fact that it always looks more than it actually is.

Sometimes the discharge was pure blood, at other times it was mixed with coagulated blood or big sheets of blood or with yellow gunk. After it had started, it just kept on coming. I first suspected that I had broken a blood vessel through coughing and waited for it to heal, hoping that it would do so fast. The palms of my hands slowly started turning pale, and that had me worried, because then I understood it was not only minute amounts that left my body.

When the blood continued coming - and after a little more than a week - I told Tomais about it. He lovingly convinced me to make an appointment with my Hungarian doctor a.s.a.p. On Thursday morning I saw the doctor, he listened to my story, listened to my lungs, looked at the palms of my hands and gave me a prescription  for ten tablets of Doxycycline, a referral to get an X-ray taken and some cough suppressant. He told me he now suspected it was pneumonia or some other pulmonary infection. What it was specifically, he would get back to me about on the coming Monday when he received the reply on the X-rays.

After starting the cure with two pills on Thursday, the bleeding ceased completely on Friday, instead I kept coughing up gunk with a brownish-yellowish color and a foul taste. Today, Saturday, it is even lighter, not so bad tasting and the cough is subsiding. My energy is coming  back and I no longer get chills every evening.

So, here we can probably conclude that my body has been trying to tell me to stop smoking, which every healthcare worker has told me repeatedly. I have apparently refused to listen to what my body has had to tell me in this matter. 

1 comment :

  1. You take care ok? We don't want anything bad happening there. And I've stopped smoking a while ago - not too long ago. I thought it would be extremely difficult. It wasn't. Nicotine gums helped me.


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