Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just a Christmas cold?

I haven’t seen Elizabeth in probably 40 years—our husbands were co-workers and we’d chat at the office family Christmas parties with all the kids hanging on to us.  But we reconnected on Facebook.  Last week we had to cancel an invitation because my husband got a cold, and we decided not to “share.” Today I noticed this on Elizabeth’s FB page—the story of a Christmas cold and how she lost her voice—maybe permanently.

“ This is how it started: a guest brought a cold to a Christmas Eve party three winters ago and I caught it. I had never had a sinus infection or pneumonia before but knew something wasn't right because my chest would do this weird bubbling sensation when I exhaled. Right after New Year's Day I went to see my primary care doctor about it and he misdiagnosed the pneumonia as acid reflux. I was left untreated until right after Valentine's Day when it finally got so bad I was having serious trouble breathing. I finally hit bottom and was taken to a hospital emergency room by emergency squad. At the hospital I was given the chest x-ray I should have gotten weeks before and they diagnosed double pneumonia. I was treated there with a nebulizer and given a prescription for an antibiotic, slowly recovered, but my lungs were permanently damaged by then and I have never been the same since. After another trip to the emergency room for breathing problems a year later (emphysema was diagnosed from a CT Scan) I was referred to a pulmonologist.

The first medication I was put on was a Breo inhaler daily; it worked for the most part but eventually caused thrush to grow on my vocal chords--a common side-effect with the use of a steroid inhaler; we are told to rinse our mouths after use to keep that from happening but we can't rinse down far enough to reach the vocal chords. I was recently treated with Diflucan, an antifungal, told to stop using the Breo inhaler and was switched to something else, but it did not bring my voice back.

I also have ulcers on my vocal chords. In late July/early August a guest brought a coughing/sore throat virus and I caught it. The virus, because my immune response was compromised due to the Breo, pushed things over the edge and caused me to lose my voice; it has never come back. It may never come back so I am more-or-less a mime now.”

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