23 January 2009

It wasn't the cough that carried her off, it was the coffin they carried her offin.

Cough, cough. Splutter,splutter. I have had a silly cough for the last four weeks (yes, I repeat four weeks). When I say "silly" cough, I mean one of those tickly sort of coughs, like being fanned with a feather at the back of the throat. Debilitating - yes. Life-threatening - no. Not a chesty-cough (my best friend, by the way, thinks that sounds like the name of a Russian), but irritating nevertheless. It started the day after Boxing Day and I have been coughing ever since. I had given it enough time to develop into a cold or flu or even TB, or to go away completely. To add fuel to the flames, about two weeks ago, it started to hurt when I coughed, so that I had to hold onto my right side before I could dare to cough. If I didn't get to hold my side in time, the most awful pain shot across my ribs! I did not want to bother my doctor unnecessarily with "just a cough virus" and I had already convinced myself that I had probably torn a ligament or a muscle, as there was no pain when I breathed and it did not seem related to the lungs at all. I started to take paracetamol in the morning to ease the rib pain, but then discovered my side hurt when I lay on it at night. So after four weeks of coughing and two weeks of rib pain, I decided perhaps I had better go to the doctor after all, as there was no sign of either symptom clearing up this side of Easter or even next Christmas.

My GP thankfully confirmed my own diagnosis (so nice when they do that!) .... " One of those viruses doing the rounds which are particularly persistent. Come back in a few weeks if you still have it, but it should go away eventually." (When? Easter or summer or 2010?) She also confirmed that I had more than likely pulled a muscle in the chest wall and the pain will wear off eventually, but advised I should keep taking the tablets - paracetamol or ibuprofen.

She then went on to look at the results of my Civil Service medical I had gone to, back in November. (I had received the results a few weeks ago through the post and I had forwarded on a second set of results specifically intended for her.) From these results, it would seem my cholesterol level is a little too high, so much so that she wants to start me on taking statins. I ventured that on receiving the results I had already made up my mind to start a low-fat diet as I could easily afford to shed a stone or at most two stones in weight, having used comfort-eating as my solace during these last few crazy years. But she was adamant that losing weight would make no difference to the cholesterol levels at all. Also she imparted that once you start taking statins you have to stay on them for life, as to stop would mean the cholesterol levels would rise to levels higher than when you started taking them in the first place. She gave me a prescription and urged me to start straight away as this really was the best way to reduce cholesterol and prevent any future risk of heart attacks and strokes. She also gave me a blood test form to have another fasting blood test in 8 weeks' time- presumably to monitor whether the statins were doing their job properly. Having read up on statins, I am a little nervous to even start because
i) I will then need to continue with them FOREVER (not something I like the idea of);
ii) I am worried about the side effects I may get - muscle pain, amnesia, memory loss and Parkinsons being just a few of them (something I like the idea of even less)!!

On the other hand, if it prevents heart attacks and strokes (which have run in my family), then that would be a good thing. I need to weigh
all this up, but seeking the reassurance of my cough not being something dire has resulted in an even more thought-provoking diagnosis.

Before I finish, I want to highlight the TV programme which Doglover so very kindly mentioned in his comment on my previous post. For those of you in the UK who might want to understand the problems of alcoholism a little more, there is a TV programme on ITV on Monday 26th January at 8pm about the former TV presenter, Ed Mitchell, who drank himself out of a job and ended up on a bench on Brighton seafront without friends or family. He eventually got to rehab and is now apparently sober. But there's a long road for his wife and two children to travel before they regain their trust in him. I shall certainly watch it. I have no idea whether his story is similar to the one in our household, but he is certainly in the same line of business as Greg was and from what I have heard already, there may be quite a few similarities. I'll let you know once the programme has been aired. Incidentally,I have still to find out what caused last week's lapse, but find out, I will.

Meanwhile, cough, cough. Splutter,splutter. Ouch,ouch.

28 comments:

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Hope you are feeling a tad better Roseiro...

Not sure if l'll watch, its hard. I watched the recent Gazza one and was in floods, on several levels.Though again it draws you in, so l'l wait and see...depends on the day.

I know you know...

FFF x

aims said...

Try a little honey to ease the tickle....

As for the cholesterol....try looking at diets that lower your cholesterol. I did it that way - not wanting those pills either and my cholesterol is holding at an acceptable level now.

Just a thought - or two - about you!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Ouch! Sounds painful. I had a friend once (back in 1993) and she had such a bad cough that she broke her rib! Sounds mad doesn't it but it might be worth thinking about with the pain you're having etc. I rarely go to the doctors these day because they always find something else.

Do take care and get well soon.
CJ xx

Nota Bene said...

Hope you get better soon.

As for statins I know nothing...but having seen my father with Parkinsons, I'd do anything other than take something that might cause that. I hope there's a good alternative.

Robert said...

I've had a cough since Christmas too! It's not too bad - just annoying, so I'm a bit luckier than you - this once!

I saw trailers of that programme & intend to watch it myself. As I think I told you before, I have known several alcoholics and it will be interesting to see how Ed Mitchell's story compares. Now I'll be thinking of you while I watch!

I hope Greg is on the wagon again...

Coachdad said...

I know the cough you speak of...as I too have it. I have been hopeful it was caused by smoking... a habit a quit last week. Best of luck with everything. I think you often and the situation your in.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Those coughs are an absolute pain and in your case...a literal pain. Hope you get better soon Rosiero..hubbie and I have been on penicillin to get rid of them.

Mr. H has been taking statins and he managed to persuade the docs to give them to him. He's had no ill effects whatsoever from them and he's been taking them quite a while.

Sorry to hear about Greg. Huge hugs and I know what you mean about getting Kay through her A-levels. You are amazing! (So is Kay.)

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Sorry to hear you have been feeling "under the weather" Rosiero. Don't know anything about statins, so won't comment on that, except that I think I'd be inclined to go the diet route first to try to reduce cholesterol. I did wonder about your ribs hurting as I have a cousin who had cracked ribs from coughing. Anyway, take care. A x

Elaine said...

You poor thing. I hope the cough goes away soon.

I would try the diet route too, before the medication. What about that Bennecol stuff? It's supposed to be pretty good...

I'll definitely watch on Monday.

Take Care x

April said...

I hope you cough will get better soon. Many people are ill at the moment, but you ae ill for too long a time.
As for the cholesterol, mine is a little too high, too. When I stopped immediately eating cheese (I like it, I like it, but it's much too fat) it was better immediately.
I did some research on the Internet then and learnt that the cholesterol thing is very complicated and that even most of the doctors cannot interprete the results of a blood test correctly.
... I I were you I wouldn't take that stuff and first try other things.
P.S. and there are many book about it.
Grüße aus Köln,
Ingrid
http://cologneblog.wordpress.com/

Stinking Billy said...

rosiero, so why are you posting with such a virulent bug? Don't you know that coughs and sneezes spread diseases? Oops! I think I have just caught it from you! ;-) x

DulwichDivorcee said...

Hi Rosiero, just popped in to see if everything is ok - saw you had deleted a comment from my blog. Hope the cough will be better soon - I quite agree with Aims about honey, it is amazing (though I am not recommending a hot toddy for obvious reasons). Get well soon xxx

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Have been on statins for quite a while. Not strong enough to keep it down by diet. The trouble is, once you read side effects you think you have everything it mentions.

Violet said...

Just found your blog...I was romantically involved with an alcoholic/addict until his addiction started to hurt me, too. We are still friends but it's hard so I have some knowledge of your struggle. Hugs from across the pond!

Millennium Housewife said...

I'll be watching x

Flowerpot said...

That cough's been doing the rounds here and it lasts forever so take care. As for cholesterol - I know several people who have reduced their levels throguh diet so you could always try that first.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I came off statins because of chronic leg pains. My GP read me the riot act "you may have a stroke etc. etc" I said "as opposed to being unable to walk? Tough choice" I had a blood test last week and have been called into the surgery. Think of me arguing with the GP AGAIN on Wednesday!

I'll be watching that TV show too.

Ellen said...

Hi, sorry to hear about your painful cough and hope that you will feel much better soon. Like your other blogger chums, I would feel inclined to err on the side of caution before starting to take statins. With luck, watching your food intake and perhaps taking Snoopy for some extra-long walks will do the trick. Fingers crossed for you. D

sallymandy said...

Hello and hugs from an Al Anoner across the ocean in Montana, U.S.A.

Rosiero, you are a friend I've never met because we are both affected by someone else's drinking. "We come to realize that no situation is really hopeless and there is no unhappiness to great to be lessened."

I hope you will keep up your own recovery in Al-Anon, because it changes lives. I have been a member for nearly three years. I wonder if you have read the book about the Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage.

If it's inappropriate to post about Al-Anon, please forgive me. I feel for you in your situation and wish you all the best.

Love from Sallymandy in Montana

Gill - That British Woman said...

dh has that cough, and it is painful to hear people with it.

I hope you feel better at some point soon.......though like the doctor said it could be a while......

Gill in Canada

Kit Courteney said...

I've still got mine, too. Mine started Boxing Day night. I keep thinking it is about to vanish and then it starts up again. On Saturday I discovered I had tonsilitis too. Oh, the joy.

I do hope yours clears up sooner rather than later. I was told mine would 'go after a few weeks'... hmmm... great.

Is that Ed Mitchell programme a repeat of the one shown last year? I saw that and it was fascinating.

Get well soon :0)

Fern said...

Comiserations on the cough, hope you can shake it off soon.
I think, like you, I'd be very reluctant to take the statins. My old boss had a heart attack in his 50s, he cut out fat, lost weight and took a supplement called lethicin to lower his cholesterol. He is still fit, well and riding his bike for miles, now in his 70s. Perhaps it's worth a visit to a good health food shop and maybe even a dietician, as some foods like walnuts, lower cholesterol before you make up your mind.

Millennium Housewife said...

siero, I've just fiished watching the proramme you mentioned and it was eally nteresting. Too short though, I didn't feel like I learned enough about how it descended into the hell it became and from what I've learned from you the family's journey wasn't represented enough. It was a real learning experience though as to how an intelligent educated person with support and a family can be taken over by this disease thanks for recommending it and hope all's well over at yours MH x

rosiero said...

Thank you for all your lovely get-well wishes about my cough. They obviously worked - I am pleased to say that it seems to be rolling back fast now (about bloomin time) and the rib is also much improved.

I am still dithering about the statins but have decided to tackle the cholesterol with diet first and if that does not alter the cholesterol level considerably by Easter, then I'll think again.

Welcome Violet and Sallymandy - thanks so much for dropping by. So many of us have been touched by alcoholism - I am amazed just how many.

I saw the programme tonight and will post on it tomorrow. I agree with MH that it was perhaps not as informative as I would have hoped and certainly not long enough either.

Fat4Now said...

I quit smoking at the New Year
Coughing and spluttering more now than i did when i was hammering the weed :|

KatduGers said...

Hi, there's a blog award waiting for you on my blog! We survived the storms that battered France and Spain over the weekend, but it was interesting! I also have now caught your cough! Glad you're feeling better!
Kat x

rosiero said...

Thank you for the award Kat. I shall do my best to pass it on. Sorry I have given you the cough. That does not seem a fair exchange!

rosiero said...

Fat4now - sorry about the cough, but glad you have quit the smoking. I expect your body is adjusting and you will notice the good effects soon, I am sure!