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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Afternoon, Sometime

Update: It took all danged day. Two dental appointments and one doctor's appointment, but the offending chopper is removed. So tomorrow. End update.

This morning is devoted to a nag follow-through. Using my terrifying female powers of naggery*, I have induced the Chief to call the dentist for an appointment this morning. Much to his surprise and perhaps chagrin, he was granted a same-day appointment. Thus, I am driving him to his date with dental destiny.**

*The technique used was the insidious nag. I mentioned it once and then looked as if I wanted to say something multiple times but didn't. This has an erosive effect on male powers of resistance - the hapless male can feel the Sword of Naggery dangling over his innocent head, and eventually the pressure builds to the point at which any way out seems worthwhile.

**The Chief is actually very good about going to the dentist unless he has a bad tooth. Since he called for antibiotic last Friday, I concluded that he did have a bad tooth. It is notable that since he started the antibiotic, his blood pressure dropped significantly. This raises suspicions that he has had an infection in there for some time.

Amazing powers of man management.
I'm certainly willing to be "man managed" at this point, lol.

I continue to cough up green.

I did get a chest x-ray last week though. Everything looked good.

My doctor suggested trying acid reducers for a month in case it is acid reflux causing my problems. There's certainly ample stress.
Mark - "Willing to be managed?"

Perhaps when your girlfriend gently suggested that you WEREN'T over it, willingness to be managed could have been manifested by resting a few more days. Launching into a stair-climbing exercise program to prove her wrong was not, how shall we say, being amenable to reason.

Ah - do doctors no longer culture sputum? If you are coughing up green you almost certainly have some sort of an infection in there.

Perhaps you should ask your girlfriend for advice. She seems to know what's really going on with you. Just a gentle hint. Women do have their uses.

"Launching into a stair-climbing exercise program to prove her wrong was not, how shall we say, being amenable to reason."

I really wasn't trying to prove her wrong. I'm pretty much open to anything at this point. I tried rest. I tried fluids. I tried the personal nasal steamer. I tried saline nasal spray. I've been on two rounds of different antibiotics. I tried chest x-rays. I'm trying acid reducers and there seems to be some hope there, but who knows?

I asked the doctor point blank last week if I should be exercising or not. He said it was fine as long as I felt okay to do it. Other than coughing up green when I first get up, I don't really feel sick. I'm not coughing now. I probably haven't coughed in at least 10 minutes. I do generally feel like I am getting better, but the pace is SO slow.

The doctor thinks that doing nothing is no better or worse than being placed on more antibiotics, at least for another month or so. He's open to simply monitoring it in hopes that my natural defenses kick in.

I also asked the doctor about a sputum culture. That's something my girlfriend and her family really wanted me to get too. I even had green on a tissue to offer since I coughed it up on the way there.

He told me that the test is normally reserved for people with severe problems in intensive care and can be very inaccurate at determining the actual cause of the problem.

I also asked him if I was at risk of doing permanent damage to myself. He didn't think so. He can see my lungs and throat. It's just not that bad. He's concerned that the stronger antibiotics did not clear me up though.

I am at least trying to be managed! :)
One more thought.

When I went in to the doctor a month ago he told me that if he saw me again I'd be getting a chest x-ray.

When I went in a week ago he gave me the option of waiting another month. The doctor said there was a 95% chance they'd see nothing on it. My chest sounded good.

I did take my girlfriend's advice though. I told him I wanted the chest x-ray anyway.

It did come back normal but I'm still glad I did it. It's one less thing to worry about now. If stress is helping this condition continue, then anything that lowers my stress level is a good thing.
Mark, I was wondering if your doctor prescribed albuterol or another steroid inhaler for you? You didn't mention that. That's what cleared up my cough and my daughter's, too.

I've been prescribed one round of weak antibiotics several months ago and one round of heavy antibiotics just over a month ago. That's it.

I didn't see my doctor at my worst though. I just rested and hoped I'd get over it. I was in fairly bad shape then. I'd wheeze slightly when breathing. My throat felt constricted, like I was breathing through a straw.

These days I have almost no symptoms at all. My chest feels totally clear. My throat feels good. My sinuses are always a bit congested due to allergies but they are pretty good too right now since this is not my allergy season.

If you were to meet me right now you wouldn't guess that I have or have had any kind of respiratory problem.

So I wait (with the approval of my doctor), in hopes that my natural defenses can finish off whatever is left. It's been a LONG wait.

If I see him again I'll ask about the inhaler though. Thanks for offering that.
Mark - to be honest, I think you should get a second opinion from another doctor. It's very possible that your doctor knows you well and is prescribing the best course of action for YOU. It is also possible that you have not given your doctor all the information he needs.

However there are some red flags here, and since you have generally been healthy and active it is a concern. I would consult another doctor and make sure that you accurately describe the entire course of events. Ask about your sinuses.

Since you tend to sinus inflammation, it is possible that you have a bacterial infection in your sinuses that is draining into your throat. Acid reflux can cause chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, but green mucous appears to suggest that you have another problem.

Also, you, like me, are getting on up there. You should be checking into your sinuses. Chronic sinus infections carry other risks, such as potential stroke.
I'll put in a plug here for nasal lavage for anyone (like me) with chronic sinus problems. Neti pots apparently work too, but they sound like too much bother to me. The lavage kits are simple--just a squeeze bottle with a bottom siphon, you put some salt in and warm water and squirt it in your nose and through your sinus and out the other nostril. The bottle costs, I think $7 at a drug store. It's easy to remember, too--one of the brands is "NeilMed" (no relation).

I can't say it's pleasant, but it's not uncomfortable, and breathing normally on a regular basis is awfully nice. It cut way down on the number of colds I get.
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