How I Solved My 7 Month Coughing Spree

I have been coughing since February 2018. It is now September 2018. For seven months I have been coughing day, night, noon and in-between. It all started from inhaling second-hand smoke from my Florida condo downstairs neighbor for five months prior to February 2018. After 4 visits to the local Florida ER, due to excessive nose bleeding and coughing fits, I had my nose cauterized but to no avail. I decided it was more cost-effective to sell the darn condo than hire an attorney and sue the pants off my neighbor.

lungsIn the interim, however, I have been besieged with one health calamity after the other. When I told my main doctor, at that time, my cardiologist, what I was going through, he recommended I see a pulmonologist friend of his to help solve my coughing fits and the deterioration of my lungs.

The first thing the pulmonologist did was take me off the meds the cardiologist had me on, Lisinopril (to help hinder heart attacks, which the cardiologist said I had a few months prior). One of the well-known side effects of Lisinopril was coughing. The pulmonologist, with the approval of my cardiologist, substituted Losartan. After a month, with no cessation in my coughing (in fact, the coughing got worse) the pulmonologist did a bevy of testing on my lungs.

The doctor ordered an X-ray, CT scan, breathing tests and a Pulmonary Function Test (Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are noninvasive tests that show how well the lungs are working. The tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. This information can help your healthcare provider diagnose and decide the treatment of certain lung disorders) All tests came back negative. There was nothing wrong with my lungs. They were working fine. Nothing showed why I was coughing.

The cardiologist then sent me to a series of other specialists, who in turn did their own testing. I went to a otolaryngologist (ear, nose & throat) who did a scope of my throat, neck and stomach and found absolutely nothing wrong. I then went to a gastrointologist, who in turn did an endoscopy, in a hospital, and found no acid reflux or anything else that was causing my cough.

Last was an endocrinologist (thyroid) who said I needed an operation on my throat because there was too much calcium in my blood due to tumors on my parathyroids. This wasn’t causing the cough, the doctor noted, but he was very sure I needed the operation due to the calcium overload. I told the doc that I was a mad taker of tums and that was what was causing my excessive calcium count. I stopped taking the tums. The doc redid the blood tests and the count came back normal. No one was going to operate on my throat.

Around this time is when I started to become livid. I was coughing so much my back hurt. The pain my lungs had to endure was affecting my back so much that I started spending my days and night on a heating pad. My coughing fits were so intense that I started vomiting anything that I ate. I could no longer carry on a conversation without getting out of breath and violently coughing. I couldn’t talk on the phone. I couldn’t handle my day-to-day obligations. I couldn’t go anywhere without embarrassing myself over my coughing fits. I couldn’t go to the movies. I couldn’t go to a Broadway play without jumping out of my seat and running to the hallway to cough my brains out.

Needless to say, each and every one of these doctors was billing my Medicare account. They were charging all the testing done to Medicare. I was getting bills by the week. Thank goodness I had additional Medicare insurance coverage otherwise I would have gone broke! I wrote about the medicare billing before in this post (click here). The tally was in the tens of thousands of dollars. I should also throw in that in between all these specialist visits I was also seeing my GP. I would cry to her and ask for guidance but she didn’t have an answer for me. She was just as dumbfounded as I was.

I also went to the ER one muggy, summer afternoon. I couldn’t breathe in the humid summer heat and was hoping they’d put me on an oxygen tank. They didn’t. The ER doctor told me outright that he couldn’t help me and that I should just accept the fact that I had a cough and it was probably due to old age. “You know those old people who cough all the time to clear their throats? Well, it just may be that your body is changing and your new old you includes coughing.” CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING SPOKEN TO LIKE THIS FROM A DOCTOR? I’m only 67 years old.

Anyway, to make a very long story short, I actually said a prayer to God and asked for His help. I told Him, all the humans on the planet couldn’t help me and I just couldn’t go on and live my life like this. God told me to do a reverse Google search and type ” what does coughing from BP meds sound like?” A list of reverse effects were listed and I had each and every one of them. Apparently, the Losartan substitute the cardiologist prescribed was just as bad with coughing as the original Lisinopril. I sent an email to my cardiologist and told him I was stopping all medications. I also sent an email to the pulmonologist and told her she was fired! I had her office send my entire medical file back to a pulmonologist I had seen in 2015, whom I knew I could trust. I also have fired my cardiologist because it turns out, I never did quite have that heart attack he said I had. There was no reason for me to take Lisinopril in the first place! I have a new, local cardiologist who says my heart is perfectly fine.

WITHIN TWO WEEKS OF STOPPING ALL MEDS, MY COUGHING HAS COMPLETELY CEASED!

And not one of these newfangled doctors figured any of this out. How sad.

Folks, this is a very sad commentary on the state of our health care in America. It is also a very sad commentary on how these doctors are overbilling medicare and destroying what once used to be excellent health care in America.  ALL of these doctors I saw were young and part of the newer crop of docs that came out under Obamacare. Many of them were foreigners. They didn’t know their ass from their elbow. A simple glance at the side effects of Losartan would have instantly shown coughing was one of those effects. Duh?

We The People have to take full charge of our own health care. WebMD is very good at providing the necessary information. Do your own research and don’t believe so easily what doctors may tell you today about your health. Trust your own gut. And yes, if all else fails, we may have to say a prayer to God Almighty and ask for divine intervention.

Turns out Doctor God was the best medicine from heaven, up above, that I could have received! Amen to that!

 

 

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13 comments

    • Thanks Julie. I’m also singing again, walking again, hiking again. Couldn’t have done them before because I could’t breathe. It’s so nice breathing again!
      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  1. I’m so glad that you finally got to the bottom of what was causing the horrible cough. Several years ago I had a medical condition that round after round of tests and doctors could not figure out. And the not knowing what or why it was happening was as bad as the problem itself. Turns out my problem was work related stress on top of an ongoing neurological condition. It took almost a year for the stress related condition to resolve but once the stress was gone, the condition steadily improved.
    Glad you are better!!

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    • Thanks Florence. Sometimes we need to follow our gut feelings. The cough felt like an allergy cough. So I was allergic to something.
      It’s been nice singing again. A bit off key but. I’ll get there.

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  2. Same thing happened to me a couple of years back. I had a cough that was finally attributed to one of my meds. I can’t remember now if it was a B/P med or a cholesterol med but it went away as soon as the med was changed.

    One of the biggest things I learned when I was a medical assistant was that we have to advocate for ourselves. Doctors are really human and we changed primary care physicians until we were finally happy with the one we chose. There are some loonies out there and you don’t need to put up with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said, my friend. So glad you fixed yourself. We are our own best advocates. Have to ask questions, do research and pay attention to everything.
    If you don’t mind sharing, what is your calcium number? I have been fooling around with an endocrinologist for 5 years over masses on my thyroid and parathyroid, and high calcium. She just wants to keep monitoring me. Sounds like a money-making gimmick to me! I was also being seen by a nephrologist because of the calcium and was diagnosed with Stage II Kidney Disease until all of a sudden the doctor decided I was fine.
    Hope you remain healthy and cough-free for a long, long time to come.

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    • Mommy, when they first tested it was 11.9 which is high. The second time after I stopped the Tums it came in at a normal high of 10.5. Doc is going to retest me in 6 weeks after taking 1000iu of Vitamin D. She’ll also do all the other tests then such as 24 hour urine test. Hope that helps.
      I cough like maybe three times a day now instead of a million. I estimate that by next week it should be zero coughing.
      Fingers crossed.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

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