Thursday, May 31, 2012

General Health Update

Nobody likes getting a cold.  But for most, it is a few days of being miserable and then back on to normal life.  It is not so simple when you live with Cystic Fibrosis.  For me, most common colds turn into full lung exacerbations.  While this has not turned me into a total germ-a-phobe, I do cringe when someone speaks the words "I'm getting over a cold."  It's inevitable...I soon too will have the same cold, but suffer through much more complicated recovery. 

On April 9, I went to bed with that I-think-I-am-getting-a-cold-feeling.  Sure enough I woke up the morning of the 10th sick.  Sore throat, fatigue, stuffy nose.  I stayed home for work for two days (and watched a ton of movies).  By that Friday, I could tell my lungs where now impacted, as I started coughing more and more.  Without hesitation, I call my CF Clinic to start a course of oral antibiotics. I wanted to start treatment right away.  Prescriptions were ordered for 750 mg of Cipro twice a day and 160 mg of Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim twice a day.  I waited out through the weekend to start the antibiotics hoping the cold would just stay a cold.  But the lungs where not clearing up and I could tell they would not clear up on their own. 

After completing the two week course of treatments, I still had a lingering cough.  Not so much chronic, but I would go through coughing "spells" as I would cough a lot in a short amount of time.  I was concerned with these symptoms post-antibiotics.  So I went into my clinic to check in with the doctor.  I saw "the other" CF doctor at my clinic...he is very clinical.  He talks to his patients like we are all medical doctors, using terminology that the average person just doesn't know.  But the bottom line was this: my PFTs only dropped slightly, about 5%, but still above 90%.  His thoughts were I would recover on my own...not really the help I was looking for.  I generally think in more aggressive terms when it comes to my care.  I have a follow up call with the CF doctor on June 10.

Since then, I started having sinus headaches, so I think the cough is more related to post nasal drip rather than an infection in my lungs.  I am working with my ENT...but he is hard to get an appointment with.  We did speak on the phone and he had me start Pulmicort in my nasal rinses and increase rinses to twice a day.  I have used this medication before, but I don't think it is helping this time.  My visit with the ENT will be June 11.

One thing I love about my health care team is the ability to communicate via e-mail.  Although the doctors don't always get back to me as quickly as I would like, they do respond.  It makes managing my care so much easier.  We can be in communication without having to make appointments. This can help facilitate prescription, tests, and general advise.  Good stuff!

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