My cough

I’ve had a cough for three weeks now. It’s been more annoying than anything else, but last week, I also started to feel short of breath and very lethargic. Sick? Me? The cough was bad enough to actually get mentioned in conversation with my sister (who suggested bronchitis) and with my mother (a RN and my personal health line who suggested a trip to the doctor). So I went to the doctor.

I hate going to the doctor. Especially when the diagnosis is basically we-don’t-know-why-you’re-coughing-here’s-a-drug-to-make-you-stop. I hate taking drugs. I’ve been pregnant or nursing for 9 years now, and basically anything and everything is not recommended to take while your body provides nutrition for another body.

And yes, I’m still nursing that 17 month old who is at that obnoxious, demanding and possessive stage that signals to me it’s time to start seriously weaning him.

“What is your plan to wean him?” asks my skeptical husband as we debate the prescription drugs sitting on the table near me.

“I’m already working on it,” I claim. He cocks his eyebrows in doubt. “It’s a gradual process.”

I asked the doctor if the cough would go away untreated. “It’s been three weeks,” she said. I agree that three weeks can seem like an eternity, but it’s really not.

We talked about possible causes – something triggered the cough. A cold? Maybe, I can’t remember that long ago (it seems like an eternity). An allergen? Maybe, we did start closing all the windows and turning on the heat, and I have a bad habit of starting fires in the kitchen which generate smoke.

Bill and I decided that changing the air filters in the house was a good idea. It had been about a month since he replaced the 30 day filters with other 30 day filters. We went to Home Depot and bought “up to three months” filters with extra allergen filtering capability. They are a bit more expensive than the standard 30 day filters. We also bought an air freshener that goes right on the filter. Right now my house smells delightfully like cinnamon. Cool. But probably releasing an irritant into the air with every cycle of the heater!

And for the cough? I’m taking the one medication at night after Pete goes to sleep and skipping the morning dose. I’m a really bad patient. But I am noticing an improvement – not only am I coughing less, but my minute per mile pace is getting better – not good, just better. Yeah, I’m sick, but I’m still going for my morning run when I’m motivated to do so. Not only am I a bad patient, I’m an annoying sick person too. See, look at me! I’m sick but I’m running two miles anyway. And making dinner, and doing the dishes and tending to the needs of the whole family. And you think you can spend the day in bed because you have a witty bitty cold?

Ah, time to go to work now. I’ll consider being sick some other time. Perhaps when I hire a nanny and a governess and a cook.

10 thoughts on “My cough

  1. I had a bad and lingering cough when Rosie was nursing. After the same three weeks, I went to the doc and he gave me five different prescription meds. I asked about effects for the baby. He looked uncertain and said, “Well, it should be okay.” Alrighty, then. I asked the pharmacist. She said, “Well, the baby won’t cough, either.” Great. Thank you professional health care providers. As soon as I got home, I checked online. Three of the five were NOT SAFE to take while pregnant or nursing! I was able to take the antibiotic, which cured the cough, and the codiene-laced cough syrup after her bedtime nursing, which allowed me (and my beloved) to at least fall asleep. Pet peeve of mine: I hate a doctor who won’t say “I don’t know, let me check on that.”

    Anyway, I hope you feel better soon. It’s no fun being sick when you can’t take your witty-bitty cold to bed and hide under the covers!

  2. Advice from Newly Asthmatic Barb:

    Get yourself checked for asthma. I’ve found that if I avoid my triggers I do fairly well. But this means no animals, fireplaces, real Christmas trees, or fragrance stuff (air fresheners, candles, perfume).

    This morning I had to dig out my inhaler after getting too close too long to the Pledge I was dusting with, the dust, and a scented candle that hadn’t ever even been LIT, in the bottom of a box of Christmas decorations. Albuterol was the “breakfast of Champions” today.

  3. I also have a dislike of doctor’s checkups.

    I had a similiar problem with a cough and shortness of breath that kept lingering. After running every test they could think of (heart tests, all of this serious stuff that scared me a little), several doctors finally said – allergies! We changed the air filters to the HEPA ones you mentioned and I have been much better ever since.

    I guess, I can revel in the fact that I now know my heart and major functions are completely healthy!

  4. I hope you feel better soon. I am not a big medicine taker either. Sometimes it causes more trouble than it helps. I try to soldier on when I am sick, not because I am brave, but because I am a chicken about going to doctors.


  5. The doc asked if I had asthma, but said they wouldn’t diagnose it the first go round. We’ll see if it comes back.

  6. I hope you get better soon. I’m sure you know to drink lots of water, and all that good stuff.

  7. I always forget about medications and nursing. I have this theory that my body “filters” it out before it gets to the baby or that if it helps me get better, maybe it will help the baby, too (antibiotics for bad infections). I even drink wine while nursing. I know, I know SHOCKHORRORTHESCANDAL! But it never seems to adversly affect my babies. When Matty was a baby, I was addicted to malt powder and he got SO cranky. He turned out to be allergic to milk so I don’t know about that. Also, caffine affects me TERRIBLY and my babies, too…so there goes my theory, I guess. What the heck am I doing commenting at 1 in the morning when I’m all punchy, anyways? Oh yeah, I hope you feel better!

  8. Thanks, Laura. I think a baby could process wine better than steroids, though, so I’m not too militant on that. I do avoid my gin and tonics while pregnant or nursing a little one, but wine is made from grapes and grapes are healthy, right?

  9. You might try apple cider vinegar – a spoon at night and morning, or at least at night. Yeah, it’s not tasty, but it’s safe for moms!
    Peppermint is also a antispasmodic, as is catnip (aka catmint) and chamomile. It can calm down that cough. So you might try some Christmassy peppermint tea (you’ve gotta do it 2-3 times a day; one cup won’t cure you!)
    (not peppermint flavored, get the stuff that lists peppermint on the ingredients. It’s easy to find though!)

  10. Thanks, Milehimama. I’ll add peppermint tea to my grocery list, and I’ll even try the vinegar. Cough is improved, but not gone.

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