Take a Deep Breathe
One of the medical Issues that I have not explained here yet is my chronic cough, I have had it for as long as I can remember. My military medical records indicate that I was seen for it in the early ’90s, and the Corps got really concerned by it when my roommate tested positive for tuberculosis. I, of course, tested negative every time they tested using both the long and short PPD test. Once they ruled out tuberculosis, it was time to see what they could rule “in”. After x-rays, CTs with and without the nasty Barium sulfate, and a powder for a double contrast study, they found nothing.
In 2016, I had three back-to-back upper respiratory infections, with one turning into pneumonia, during one of the X-rays, the doctor bluntly told my wife and me that they saw a spot on my lungs and that they wanted me to see a Pulmonologist. A spot on my lungs, we asked and he stated that it was just a cloudy area. Suddenly being the smart-ass that I am my brain drums up images of Tom Hanks in Joe vs. The Volcano when Joe Banks is told he had a brain cloud and travels to Waponi Woo to be sacrificed to the fire god.
So off to a Pulmonologist, good thing my wife is getting good at seeking good doctors. This guy (Dr. S.) is a trip, to say the least. He is best to be described as Bill Nye the Science Guy, but from India, right down to the bow tie. Not only is he well qualified, never talks down to you and his bedside manner is awesome too. The first time I met him, he actually bound or jumped into the room and introduced himself. He looked at the X-ray and said that there was no spot, no cancer, no tumor, no COPD, and nothing like that. He asked me about my couch which was in the orders for the test. This guy is awesome, no BS, just straightforward, and no candy. He ran some tests and ordered a methacholine challenge test, thinking that it might be asthma, as some cases of asthma only present themselves as a cough. My wife said that her allergist Dr. W can administer that test and he is right down the road from where we live.
So off to the allergist for a different kind of torture test. So the methacholine challenge test is where they measures your lung capacity before, during, and after inhaling methacholine. Methacholine will evoke asthma in people who have it if you don’t have asthma, then you won’t experience any issues during this test. Essentially I had to breathe into a spirometer to get a baseline and then inhale a small dose of methacholine, followed by measuring my lung capacity again. We repeated this test 10 times, each with a larger dose of methacholine. I was rocking right along until I got the 9th round and I tanked hardcore on that round. I was tired and I couldn’t push as much air through my lungs as they needed, so they determined that I had a mild case of “adult-onset asthma”. This started a handful of medications that eventually caused me other issues.
One of the major issues I had with the back-to-back upper respiratory infections was they put me on 80mg of Prednisone for 30 days, that was fine, I got used to the eating and drinking all the time, and I even got used to the lack of sleep and the night sweats. It was the freaking withdrawals that killed me. I remember being curled up on the kitchen floor in the fetal position, crying in pain all night, I literally could feel every joint in my body aching. I felt my vertebrae hurting, I felt my finger joints, I felt them all and they hurt like tell. Well, a quick Google search in the morning discovered what I was up against. Damn, why in the hell didn’t they tamper me off this shit?