Back in September, I got a sore throat. And after a couple of days, I got that feeling that it was going to take me down for a couple of days. I could feel it moving into my chest, and I knew I was going to get Bronchitis. I know this feeling all too well, having had Bronchitis probably once a year or so since I was a little girl. Usually, it goes away on its own, and I’m ‘down’ for a few days. And, after a while, the cough finally subsides.
But not this time. I don’t know if it was because I had been under so much stress throughout the month of August, or if it was just that my entire system is sort of out of whack this year since Mom died, and I’m just not my usual strong self. Whatever it was, it kept hanging on. I got winded just going up the stairs, to the point that I sort of stopped going upstairs during the day until bedtime. I pretty much lost my voice. And the cough! I thought I was going to cough up a lung or something. It was worse than I can remember in a long, long time. Now, before any of you get started, I was diffusing essential oils in my little diffuser beside my bed every night, and wearing my diffuser necklace with oils on it every day. I smelled like a eucalyptus factory, but I didn’t care.
Now, we don’t have insurance. We are self-employed, and in order to get insurance, it would cost us roughly $750.00/month with a $10,000.00/year deductible. Yeah. . . you read that right. So, unless something is going to cost us OVER $19,000.00/year, it’s not anywhere near worth it for us to buy insurance. So, we don’t go to the doctor unless we’re on Death’s Doorstep. But I knew I wasn’t going to get better on my own, so I went to the doctor. My regular doctor was booked, so I went to see a different guy at the same office. He determined that I had an Upper Respiratory Infection caused from acute Bronchitis. Of course, I knew that, but still had to pay for him to figure it out. He prescribed antibiotics (Augmentin, for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing), some hydrocodone cough syrup and an albuterol inhaler. Office visit: $192.00. Meds: $118.00. For a grand total of $310.00! (Still $440.00 less than one month’s worth of insurance). The antibiotics made me sick as a dog every time I took them, but I took every last one of them. On time. And did not feel any better. At all.
I sent out a plea for prayer on Facebook, and got lots of prayers and advice. I was already doing most of it, (running the humidifier, diffusing essential oils, hot toddies, etc.) but a friend suggested I start applying the Essential Oils on my spine and feet as well as diffusing them. So I did. Immediately. And I started taking maximum amounts of Elderberry extract for my cough. (I’d given up on the hydrocodone syrup, since it wasn’t really helping, anyway!) My cousin’s wife sent me a bottle of “Thieves”, which Abby says smells like Christmas. (I do think it smells better than DoTerra’s OnGuard). I have been using it all, with very minimal results.
I called my doctor, and scheduled a time to see him. I was coughing as much as ever, and wheezing/rattling when I breathed. Which makes sleep nigh impossible! Anyway, my doctor told me that I had RAD: Restrictive Airway Disease, which is reversible, but miserable. He said he’d had it before, and he was very sympathetic. He prescribed prednisone and gave me some sample steroid inhalers. (Thank God for the free samples!!!) He also told me not to laugh, because it would make me cough more. (Have you guys MET my husband? That’s a tall order!!)
Now, my personal doctor knows that I don’t have insurance, and is totally in agreement with me about how awful Obamacare is, so he made sure that the office visit was as cheap as possible. $79.00. And the prednisone was pretty cheap, I honestly don’t remember the cost at the moment, but I think it’s one of those $10.00 drugs. For those of you keeping tabs, I’m still $340.00 under what a monthly insurance premium would be.
Anyway, I took all the prednisone as prescribed, and felt a bit better, and it definitely improved my willingness and ability to go up and down the stairs, but by that point my sinuses had managed to become clogged to the point of excruciating pain. Every time I coughed, my teeth hurt! Thankfully, I wasn’t coughing as much, but I was still coughing. I called the doctor’s office. Again. He called in more antibiotics. I don’t remember what they were, but it was a 10 day supply, and they didn’t make me quite as ill. By the time I finished taking them this past Sunday, I actually felt worse. 😟 I cannot hear anything but ringing in my right ear, and I cannot smell or taste ANYTHING. At all. I stuck a bottle of Eucalyptus essential oil UP MY NOSE and could NOT smell it. I tried ear oil. No good. I am not big on ear candles, since I’m not convinced they actually work, and they hurt my ears.
So, I called again. This time, they said I should come back in, which is what I figured they would say. The triage nurse recommended Mucinex DM. I had already been taking it for days. She asked about the humidifier, I told I’d been running it for over a month. Then she recommended a Neti pot. Honestly, if she’d told me to eat a couch cushion, I’d have run straight into the living room and chowed down! I’m seriously desperate. Desperate enough to send Abby out to buy a Neti pot, which I’ve now used a few times. It does seem to help, but I’m still not able to taste or smell anything, and my right ear is still ringing. But I can sort of pop my left ear from time to time. Then it slowly fills up. I’m going to keep using it to see if it eventually helps.
I have an appointment tomorrow at 1:00. I don’t know what to expect. Like I said, I’m still planning on using the Neti pot, and the oils, and the humidifiers, and the Mucinex. I’ve also started using the homeopathic remedy Kali Bichromium. We’ll see what happens at the doctor visit tomorrow.
In the midst of all of this, I am still working toward getting my midwifery license here in Texas. I’ve been working on Anatomy & Physiology, and have an end-of-module workshop coming up in about three weeks! It is almost impossible to focus on my assignments when I feel like my head is in some kind of a bubble, and I’m coughing like crazy! So I’m a little worried that I won’t remember everything I need to, and won’t pass the exam.
I have also had the good fortune to start an apprenticeship with Michele Fitzgerald, an amazing midwife here in Austin. I started working with her on the 6th of this month, and have already gotten to attend a birth with her. I am very worried that this respiratory stuff is going to be an issue, and I desperately want this apprenticeship to be successful. I already love working with her, and with her other apprentices. Her office has such a wonderful Austin vibe, and she is just so warm and real. I am determined to feel better!!!
So, having said all of that, if you read all the way to the end of this: Thank you! I need prayers. Please pray that I’ll be healed, and all of these things I’m doing will help. And, if you have any suggestions for me that I’ve not already tried, please let me know! Like I said, I’m pretty desperate, and very willing to try anything that might help! (And, fwiw, I quit smoking years ago!)