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(I have already posted this on another thread, but my comments are about half way down that thread, and might not get seen .. so I thought I'd post it separately)
I'm 63, and was diagnosed with copd 5 years ago, and I have received more reassurance, and learnt more about the progress of this horrid disease during the one short hour I've spent reading this forum, than I ever learned from my doctor or any other health professional. Thank you all so much. Suddenly, I don't feel so alone.
There's much I still can't figure out, so I'm hoping I might get a few more answers here:
My copd was diagnosed 5 years ago as 'mild', and I will admit that I was in denial for years .. I had absolutely no symptoms, no cough, no fatigue .. nothing. Walked a lot (fast!), ran up the stairs, never got tired, went to gym .. I actually thought I'd been mis-diagnosed, (and even carried on smoking, fool that I was).
Then, just over a year ago, I caught a cold, along with a bit of bronchitis, and it took quite a while to clear up. So I stopped smoking. It cleared up, everything was fine .. and six months later, I decided (just out of interest) to go for another spirometer review thingy. Happily, it was a huge improvement on the previous one, and I was really chuffed! I was told that with regular exercise, a good diet, and the proper medication there was no reason why I shouldn't live a realitively long and healthy life. I thought I'd cracked it!
Then, about a fortnight ago, I wasn't feeling well and developed a dry, hacking, sort of 'choking' cough ..I was in real trouble.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, after two visits to the docs (blood oxygen levels great, no bronchial infection) another chest xray (still waiting for results) a referral to the local copd clinic (for which I was turned down .. not enough funding to treat 'mild' copd, apparently .. only 'late stage') and some very helpful 'counselling' on how to manage the anxiety of living with a chronic illness, I wasn't much further on. Still had this goddam awful cough. My poor lungs ached so much, and my chest was so raw, I was sure that one more serious bout would finish me off! It doesn't help that I panic like mad when I can't get me breath ..
Thing is ..It's just the cough! No phlegm, no infection, no 'fatigue', nothing! I can cough solid for half an hour, attempting to 'bring something up' and the results might be one tiny speck of perfectly clear sputum. It was driving me nuts!
I almost begged the doctor (and the Triage nurse) for a cough supressant .. even if only so I could get some sleep, but they refused .. kept reckoning I 'have to cough up all the gungy stuff'. That I don't HAVE any gungy stuff, seemed to go over their heads!
So, this afternoon, in desperation, I typed 'hacking choking cough, no phlegm' into Google, and it returned hit after hit about this years seasonal flu. Seems it's one of the symptoms.
Went straight to the chemist, bought a bottle of Bronco-stop (that new one thats advertised on the telly right now .. supposed to stop all kinds of coughs) and within an hour my coughing had calmed down and for the first time in days, I had blessed relief and now (for the moment at least) I feel fine.
My questions are .. (a) has anyone else here had the same sort of non-productive 'chokey' cough, and (b) does anyone find that because they've been diagnosed with copd, that, AS A PATIENT they become defined by the disease? I mean, that the doctors just ASSUME it's the copd playing up (getting worse?) Is it possible I might simply have had a touch of flu?
Personally (and I know every GP practice is different), my doctor has been been little help. I know General Practices are very stretched, but I always get the impression I'm wasting her time, and that she obviously thinks I'm one of 'The Worried Well'. I'm just fobbed off with more medication, and 'referrals'.
I have copd. I KNOW, that the damage to my lungs is irreversible, and I know that for the rest of my life, I'll probably be more surceptable to lung problems than most people, but I want to learn how to MANAGE it, so that my QUALITY of life will be the best it can possible be. The thought of being confined to a wheelchair, with an oxygen mask glued to my face, is too depressing for me to even contemplate. I'd rather top meself, I think.
Oh .. one more question: Does anyone have problems swallowing? Sometimes, I find it difficult .. food 'goes down the wrong way' and I start choking. I realise it might just be anxiety .. but I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who does.
I seem to have been typing for hours. Such a relief to find this site.
Thanks in advance for any replies.
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