Chronic Refractory Cough

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Chronic Refractory Cough

For as long as I can remember, I have had a chronic refractory cough, which is what actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, but more on that later. My mom said I had this cough all my adult life. I, however, can first recall it when I was in the Marine Corps stationed in Iwakuni, Japan. My roommate at that time had tested positive for TB midway through the tour. I never tested positive, but I had mixed results from the skin test and always required either a second test or a blood test to prove I was negative. Now, this had nothing to do with my cough, but it is the memory trigger for me.

When we got back to North Carolina, I had a series of tests to see what the cause might have been. They did an Endoscope through the nose to check it all out. That I can tell you was not any fun. I have always had a hyper gag reflex, to begin with and the tube down your nose while they ask you to stand straight and not move was not a fun time. All they really said was that it was irritated and red.

They did a reflux test, where I had to drink the Barium and then they looked at me. Then they also made me swallow this fizzy junk (Barium meal) and chase it down with water. This stuff made my stomach expand and I wanted to release the gas, but they would not let me. They thought I had acid reflux but I help to tell them that I was not having the heartburn feeling or taste. The test proved negative as well. And that is about as far as they took it.

Over the years the cough progressed and got worse and I would cough so hard that I was seeing an entoptic phenomenon (stars). Then as I got older there were times the cough would get so bad that I would have an episode of Cough Syncope, but I never fully lost consciousness. I would however nearly black out, it would start with me suddenly feeling dizzy and shaky and then my body would start to uncontrollably shake and twitch and my vision out get dim. During this time, I’m 100% aware of my surroundings, and 100% able to hear what someone is saying to me, I just can’t react to them. After 10-15 seconds, it would all fade and I would have full control over everything again.

There has been one time that my hearing started to warble and my vision became like I was in a very narrow tunnel, but that only lasted for a few seconds. When I finally had enough and I went to an allergist in the hopes that he had some ideas.

During one of my appointments, he recalled one of our conversations about me having some type of neurological illness that is yet diagnosed. He wanted to try Gabapentin as he thought that maybe my cough was caused by post nasal drip causing the vagus nerve to become involved, this was causing the chronic cough, so he took the approach of treating the post nasal drip and prescribing me Gabapentin to calm the vagus nerve. Well it actually worked, it worked very well actually and one of the bonuses was my nerve pain in my hands and feet disappeared as well. It was so amazing to be pain-free after all these years. I took the Gabapentin once a day for a few weeks and then the pain and the cough slowly returned. So he had me up the dosage to 300mg twice a day. Everything was great and I was enjoying being pain-free now my muscle spasms seemed to stop as well along with my anxiety.



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    And naturally, thanks on your sweat!

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