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It isn't Whooping Cough

ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

The reason whooping cough was even mentioned is that I live in Snohomish County (Washington State) which has the largest current epidemic of whooping cough. So I text my Primary Care Physician.

Since I said Whooping Cough in the text, I was initially treated in the parking lot. Nose swab plus vital signs. The physician also initially saw me in the parking lot.

Well, to get to the end of the story: I have PNEUMONIA. The good news is that I also now have antibiotics.

The moral to the story is: Even though we have Cancer, we can still get sick in other ways. I had incorrectly attributed my cough to irritation from the Larry Tube in my throat.

Like all of us Cancer Vets, we have learned to tough things out. But some things need to be looked into rather than toughed out. I'm only glad that I didn't cough on any of you. Rick.

VivianLee5689's picture
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2012

I am glad you went to the doctor and now are getting the meds you need to get well.

Posts: 1912
Joined: May 2012

I haven't been in this as long as some of you...but have always tried to tough things out. And now yeah the c-word is always lurking. Please all of us, take care of ourselves as we are our best knowing of our bodies. I am thanking God it wasn't whooping cough ! Scary stuff. Hope the meds work quickly Rick, pneumonia is nasty stuff ! Best to you as always, Katie

ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

I am bumping my own thread to the top (this one time only) because I think there is an important lesson to be shared. I didn't make the lesson clear in my original post.

I had been to see the otolaryngologist/surgeon for a regular post-treatment check. In his office, I had a severe 10-minute coughing fit, where it was difficult to catch my breath. He prescribed a narcotic cough medicine (codeine). Now, doctors don't prescribe narcotics willy nilly. So he must have recognized the cough as severe.

YET HE DID NOTHING TO DIAGNOSE THE REASON FOR THE COUGH. Since he did nothing, I assumed that this cough was not unusual for laryngectomees. After all, he sees several larngectomees each week and should know what is in the normal range and what is not.

But the cough remained debilitating even with enough narcotics to knock me out. So I went to my Primary Care Physician (after thinking I had the worst thing I could imagine: Whooping Cough). Well, it wasn't whooping cough but pneumonia.

The surgeon does not treat pneumonia; but the Primary Care Physician does. So the patient must go from doctor to doctor until the right one is stumbled upon.

I feel sorry for those of you whose health care systems (or insurance plans) severely limit you access to doctors. Like if you had to go through one Primary Care Physician all the time.

This also means all patients that have a serious illness have two choices: they can be a pain in the *** or they can be dead.

Missing pneumonia; I can't believe it. Six weeks the diagnosis was delayed. Think of all the patients (adults and children) that I passed in the halls and waiting rooms of the medical center. Think of all the produce in the supermarkets I passed through. It should make your skin crawl.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

thanks for sharing this.
distressing, to say the least. actually, it angers me.
but there's a lesson in there somewhere, so thanks.

Posts: 1912
Joined: May 2012

Hey there !
Great post, and is a revolving door amongst doctors. As with any disease, we have many doctors. My husband is a brittle diabetic....and it took us awhile to find a primary (local) that would be willing to work with his specialist in (diabetes, heart, kidneys blood pressure....list goes on and on). And now add me to the list of the revolving door. It is very frustrating to at first navigate. But this pneumonia could have knocked you down and hospitalized ! Hopefully yours was not the type that is easily spread. Thank you for your insightfullness ! (one word ?) Katie

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

Glad you have an answer (and meds). But how irritating - to know that you could have been feeling much better MUCH earlier if the surgeon had just asked a few questions before getting out the pad to order cough medicine.

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