My Cough

I’ve had a cough for about a month.

It started when I went on a jet ski in Zhu Hai. I came back on shore short of breath, and remained that way for the rest of the day. I felt better the when I woke up the next morning, but the shortness of breath slowly morphed into a cough over the next few days. It was particularly bad at night and in the morning. I was on the road for more than two weeks after the it started, so I just let it fester and grow without going to the doctor.

By the time I got back to Beijing, the cough was almost comical. After about 9:30 each evening I could hardly hold a conversation with anyone because I would break out in a fit of coughing. I went to the doctor, who gave me an antibiotic and an asthma inhaler. He told me that the inhaler might make my hands shake. I got my yearly physical at the same time.

The antibiotic (or was it the inhaler?) changed the cough, but didn’t make it go away. Back in Beijing, in addition to the coughing at night, going outside seemed to activate it as well. I left work early one day because I was worried that I was bothering my coworkers.

When I went back to the doctor for the physical follow-up a week later, he told me that–aside from the cough–all of the tests showed me to be in great health. He gave me a new antibiotic and told me to use the inhaler more frequently or at a higher dosage. “Are you’re hands shaking?” “No.” “Then you’re not using it enough. If they start shaking, then you’re using to much.” “Oh.”

I just finished the second antibiotic, and I think it worked. I’ve still had some minor coughing over the last two days, but nothing like before. But as I look out my window at the smog that I’m about to enter into, I wonder if Beijing will ever let my cough go away.

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1 Comment

  1. Hmmm…how ’bout using an ‘air tank’ on your back like divers do? Some people run with weights on, so the tank couldn’t be ‘that’ heavy and I don’t think air weighs too much.

    Usually people only have two lungs for a lifetime.

    You and yours are precious! I know you’ll find a way to take care of yourself.

    Just know we’re saving you lots of fresh air here in NC!
    Love, Mom

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