Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Survive Enterovirus D68

Ok, I'm not totally SURE that's the cold I have, but if it's not...it's pretending well. Last Tuesday night I went to bed feeling like I had a bad allergic reaction to something. It happens. I took a Benadry, Ibuprofen and Claritin and went to bed. I awoke feeling worse than I did before bed: Runny nose, all stuffed up, that feeling that you've been run over by a bus. Yeah, it was not fun.

I took the day off from school, begged off my chores to Alex and just slept most of the day. A few days later I was better, but that cold has migrated to my lungs - my old, asthmatic lungs. I wake up, hork up some mucous, toke on my inhaler and get some coffee.

So how does one cope with having a bad cold like this without having to go to the doctor? Well, over the counter meds and some good old-fashioned home remedies.

OTC Meds:

  • Mucinex DM - Well, any generic medicine containing Guaifenesin will work. My generic med has that and a decongestant. Now the caveat to taking Guaifenesin: It will dehydrate you..make you go pee a lot. It also makes your pee smell like the medicine, BUT, it is the best there is for chest congestion OTC. 
  • Ibuprofen - When I cough, I get headaches. I also coughed so hard the first day that I started throwing up. When that happened, I heaved and coughed at the same time and swore I cracked a rib! A sharp pain encircled my chest right under my armpits. Oh it was a beautiful pain that took what little breath I had away. Thankfully, it subsided after a few minutes. 
  • Benadryl  - histamine reducers always help. I buy the caplets, split them in 1/2 and take that. 1 Benadryl will put me to sleep.
  • Vicks vapo-rub and inhalers. Dude, you just can't go wrong with menthol to open up the airways. 
Prescription Meds: 

   I've been hoarding the last prescription meds that I got before my insurance ran out. Pulmicort and an Albuterol Inhaler. The pulmicort is an inhaled steroid for asthma that I take once a day. Normally I wait for winter to start taking it because of my reaction to cold air, but this is an emergency. My stock is diminishing rapidly. 

Pretty soon I'll have to find an overseas source for this med...that doesn't require a prescription. Yes, I know it's illegal, but I don't have health insurance, and I am adamant that I will not be forced to pay for Obamacare and Abortions. I'm willing to purchase my drugs illegally as long as I'm not forced to be a party to murder. ...Yes, it's THAT important to me!

Home remedies:

Vegetable soup... the more hot stuff you can push past the lungs, the better. It frees up the mucous. The veggies replace lost vitamins.

Oranges - Thin mucous and give you more vitamin C

Heating Pad - Sitting at night with the heating pad over the upper part of my back helps my chest congestion. It also feels pretty good.

Sleep - Don't discount good rest.  Take it easy, don't rush the recovery. It should take a few weeks before I am back to normal.

Cover your nose and mouth when outside in cold air. I've got a cowl that I put on while doing morning chores. It's wide enough to allow me to dip my nose into it and breathe when I start feeling the struggle for air. My big triggers for asthma attacks is cold air and exercise.

The morning Purge: This requires me to stand in front of my bathroom sink, breathe in deeply then forcefully push the air out of my lungs while pursing my lips. I actually sound like I'm saying 'who' while doing this. What this does is bring up phlegm from my lungs. I end up having to cough and hack the goo into the sink, then I rinse it down.  If left alone this stuff will fester and start an infection.  
 
- This is also a good time to check the color of that goo. White, you're ok,, dull mint green, ok. Bright green or yellow, time for a doctor visit. Also, if you can't shake that run-down feeling, you need to see the dr. 

- This purging hurts. I'll not kid you on that. You might also start throwing up. Oddly enough, if you DO toss the 'ol cookies, you'll feel tons better afterwards. There was one time where the stuff refused to loosen from my chest. I cajoled my husband into smacking my chest while I exhaled to loosen the stuff up, much like parents have to do with kids that have Cystic Fibrosis. He was afraid to hurt me, but I needed it done. With a cupped hand, he smacked my back under my arms while I exhaled. Eventually the goo got out. A sore chest for a day or two is much more preferable than pneumonia. 

Right now, I've survived the first week of this cold. Yesterday I walked from the far end of the school to my car and had to stop once to catch my breath. 


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