I’m Sick of My Chronic Cough and Have Lost Faith in a Medical Solution

Kellie McRae avatar

by Kellie McRae |

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normalcy, adversity

I’m frustrated with my body that causes me considerable discomfort and uncertainty. Since my diagnosis, I’ve had an average of four hospital stays a year. I have done my best to avoid an admission this year. I don’t see my doctor as often as I should, but it’s not because I don’t care about my body. Instead, I wonder what is the point of paying for medical care when nothing changes.

Earlier in the year, my lung problems were so severe that I would cough until I felt lightheaded and dizzy, and I often lost my meals. I went to a rheumatologist and a pulmonary specialist. They both ran expensive tests and prescribed medications that did nothing for me. Months later, I’m still coughing until I’m dizzy, lightheaded, and throwing up.

I am sick of coughing and tired of paying out tons of money for zero results. I have concluded that because of my lungs, my cough will continue. When I first received my diagnosis, I began to experience digestive issues. I’ve been prescribed all manner of treatments: antacids, pills, gels, capsules. I’ve tried various natural remedies, including apple cider vinegar, activated charcoal, cream of tartar, and chamomile tea, but my digestive problems persist.

I am starting to believe that doctors are of little help to me.

Before I became ill, I was a very healthy person and would rarely catch a cold, perhaps once every five years. I remember attending a general checkup where my doctors were impressed at my triglyceride levels. When I started a life insurance plan, I received the lowest rate because my bloodwork indicated that I was in phenomenally good health. Then lupus came along and caught me completely off guard.

While I realize that medicines have their place, I am losing faith in finding any relief from my symptoms, no matter how many doctors I visit. I don’t know how to process this. If you have a chronic cough, you know that it takes a toll on your body. I can wake up feeling relatively energetic, cough for 45 minutes to an hour, and end up exhausted and unable to do much afterward. The silver lining is that my abdominal muscles are toned from the coughing contractions.

Even practicing pulmonary hygiene doesn’t eliminate the torture of the constant coughing. The secretions draining into my stomach worsen my digestive issues. Once upon a time, I enjoyed cooking. Now I live on smoothies and only eat when my stomach is chewing on my backbone. I am often so hungry that I’m dizzy, but avoid eating as I don’t know how my body will respond.

I can have a bowl of pasta today with no digestive issues. Tomorrow, the same dish might give me reflux and indigestion, and I could lose the meal within 10 minutes of eating it. I visit doctors without finding relief, while my sadness, anger, frustration, and hunger grow.

I have scheduled a new doctor’s appointment because I know they are somewhat helpful. But lately, I realize that it’s unrealistic to expect them to have a solution for many of my symptoms.


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