Friday, March 25, 2016


My worst difficulty with this asthma exacerbation is that all my earlier coughing on has done something to my rib cage. My right lower ribs (or diaphragm or intercostal muscles) hurt excruciatingly when I cough and I still have to cough to get phlegm out. I hear it rumbling in my chest and a tickle begins. I stand up, grab onto my side and aim for my bathroom sink. After a few deep gurgly coughs, globs of phlegm shoot out. Sharp burning pain and thank god that's over.  When my bad coughing first started last week the pain was quite general - throughout my chest and back. I've felt that before. Yesterday it was in the back and today it is in the front - nasty new sensation. I tried tying a scarf  around my waste a few times to keep things from moving about when I knew I was going to cough but it made it harder to actually cough so was not a great idea. When I am not coughing and have taken an Advil it is barely noticeable - just a sort of lightly burning pressure. 

It also hurts to poop (too much information!). This was really annoying yesterday. I eat bran buds and lots of vegetables and fruits everyday and never have constipation or diarrhea. In fact I always claim to have an iron stomach - my best feature. However, I think the 3 weeks of nausea inducing Teva Trimel (which I thought I was fixing with lots of ham and cheese) plus my current combination of drugs (including azithromycin) has wreaked havoc on my good bacteria. They are not doing their usual excellent job - instead making me feel I need "to go" when they are probably just producing unnecessary amounts of gas. Hopefully I have now got a grip on this. I am back to taking a new probiotic "K" recommended by my pharmacist. I hope my weakened good bacteria are welcoming these millions of reinforcements or that at least the new guys are keeping bad ones from taking over. I also took metamucil yesterday to supplement my morning buds. I always take metamucil on vacation to ensure I get enough fibre when bran buds may not be available. It seems to have helped.

Other difficulties - well it's hard to puff out a peak flow because that hurts too. Also gets me coughing - which may be a good thing because it clears my lungs but messes up my reading. I'm sure my breathing is much better than my readings indicate but so far this morning I can't blow a good reading. I remember when I was in Australia in 2004 having a bad exacerbation, prednisone was so amazing. Within about 4 days (my PhD graduation day)  I had absolutely no coughing and got through the ceremony with no trouble. I 'm sure that will happen soon.

The other thing, of course, is all the unplanned peeing. You cough hard - you pee. You wear the right gear and know when you get better this will stop too.

In the meantime I'm reading a fairly interesting book on the first invasion of Iraq by the British during WW1, taking short walks, documenting my shakey legs, mild nausea, bitter taste, and (so-far) stable emotional state and "enjoying" this beautiful sunny Good Friday in Nanaimo. Cherry, magnolia, forsythia, skimmia and pierus - all in bloom - and daffodils at their best. Rob and Josie hopefully finalizing their new house deal and Elspeth and Glen working on their new hedges. No big trip to the East this spring but surely RVing on Vancouver Island, boating in the Gulf Islands, going to the Asthma Conference, and maybe joining a walking group. Also - I'm sure I'll feel like painting again, Not euphoric just yet - but hope to be soon.

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