I hate cough. I despise it in all its forms. Even its spelling! It sounds like cow-ugghh! I am just coming out of a terrible coughing bout and it was as bad as it always is whenever my body catches onto this virus or bacteria or whatever it is that causes cough. Bottom line is when I start coughing, I keep coughing. And I so want to get rid of it!
It all began with a mild sore throat which I knew was not really mild. I could sense its fury right then. So, to nip it in the bud, I started with salt water gargling. There are times when it does get nipped and the world is a happy place. But I was not so lucky this time around.
The next day, sure enough, the sore throat had led to mild cough accompanied by running nose. Sometimes, it runs its course through a common cold with dripping nose (no cough) and then the cold too goes away and again the world is a happy place. But this time, the cough persisted while the cold took control of my body. As always, with running nose comes irritation and fatigue – BECAUSE IT NEVER STOPS. It is like having a reservoir inside your nose!! I am sleeping, and at 3 am in the night, I can feel the watery leakage inside my nose. It right down tickles you out of your sleep. This happens despite the Vicks Vaporub rubbed generously over the throat, neck, chest, feet, back and wherever the population has applied and found it working wonders. Even inhaled from steaming water. And despite all this, watery leakage continues. Whats more annoying is that this leakage accompanies a mild fever that kind of makes you lethargic.
Ok, so I now had to quickly get rid of this Tickly Leakage along with the ensuing Flu. From the nearby pharmacy store, I got hold of a Tylenol For Multi Symptom Cold. In fine print, it was written that it was effective for cough too! Wow, this seemed a wonder drug surely – killing flu, cold and cough all in one shot! I started with once-in-4 hours 20 ml dosage. There was surely some improvement. The leaking stopped and gave way to solid mucus that now started coming out in great chunks.
Solid mucus surely is the sign of The End being near! A few drops of Saline Solution and all will be well. Six drops in each nostril. But alas, it only led to some sniffing but nothing else. A colleague took one look at me sniffing away to glory and said I was short on Vitamin C. Apparently a body rich with Vitamin C will produce enough antibodies to kill whatever it is that causes common cold and cough. So she gave me a box of Berry-flavored Emergen-C powder pouches that had to be mixed with water. I kindly refused her offer, bought a bigger box of my own and from that day onwards started with one pouch a day in the morning. Now that wasn’t too hard.
Ok, so now this Mr Solid Snot started secreting by gazillions - thereby making me visit the restroom almost twice in an hour to blow out my nose completely – an activity that used to take almost 10 minutes each time - only to come back to cubicle finding it full again! I did some research to see why my body was producing so much snot. I was shocked to find two things. Apparently, almost a liter of mucus is produced daily – so I might as well forget about getting rid of all that snot by blowing my nose – and mucus was good for the body! Anyways, now it was blocking my nasal airways thereby forcing me to breathe through my throat.
Remember this throat itself is not that great in shape. There was this constant coughing. So my throat now had to take this additional responsibility of supplying oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Fallout of this is that the throat starts getting dried up very fast because there is lack of saliva movement and whatever is present for the general lubrication is getting evaporated fast. Outcome? More cough! For cough to be kept in bay, the throat has to be kept moist and wetty so that the dryness will not cause the cough reflex. Not only that, this solid snot was getting clogged in the airway too which was like adding fuel to cough. So I had to think of something else to destroy the new enemy Mr Solid Snot along with this cough that kept increasing by the day. As a temporary solution though, I got myself a flask of hot water which I started sipping regularly. Apparently, being hydrated is one of the first steps when having cold and cough. I even got a bag of Halls chewable tablets to keep the throat hydrated and reduce the cough reflex.
Then I did some more research to understand if I was taking the right syrup or if I should be taking something else. Apparently expectorants was what I needed since it had the exact task of draining mucus by thinning mucus and lubricating the respiratory tract. A key ingredient of an expectorant syrup is guaifenesin. The Tylenol syrup that I was taking did not have this ingredient. No wonder nothing was happening. Off I went to pharmacy store again and this time I got a Mucus Relief syrup which had 400 mg of guaifenesin. Surely this ought to drain out Mr Solid Snot!
A couple of shots of this new syrup and all hell broke loose, which I knew would happen anyways. Good thing about it was that I knew I was at the peak stage, and the only way now was to go down. Like being at Logan Pass on Going-to-the-Sun road! Mr Solid Snot got broken down to a million shrapnel and if the cough was one per one Solid, it was now one per shrapnel!
More colleagues came to help. Many gave advises but one gave a small box of cut ginger, and asked me to keep biting one at a time until I got better. I started doing that and boy, was it spicy!! Back at home, I smashed ginger, poured honey and put turmeric into boiling water and had it in huge gulps multiple times. My mother-in-law went a step further and mixed garlic and jaggery by hand and asked me to eat it raw. It was like eating fire!
Then my mom suggested boiling garlic in water. Alrighty! Here we go – drank that stinking “garlicized” water and ate that stinking garlic. All to no gain. It was as if I had not done anything. Cough continued like before and shrapnel continue with same frequency.
Tired of what “outside pharmacy stores” offered, I then looked into the home medicine cabinet. Well, there was this Kid’s Benadryl. Why not?! Two spoonfuls. Honey! Sure. Two spoonfuls every two hours! After all nothing can go wrong with more honey in the body. Remember reading so much goodness about honey!
Frantic searching in the tablet box led me to Cofday tablet which I had got from India – thinking then about the inevitable. Gulped one without even thinking twice. In a short span of time, I had about a dozen things acting against that virus or bacteria in my throat and nose. Come to think of it, it was like Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Surely there was no way that cough can hold up against so many guns shooting at it. I even had visions of going to that fantasy black man in The Green Mile who could just hold my throat, feel my pain and spit out all my evil worms from his mouth thereby relieving me from my troublesome cough!! Or, something as mechanically simple as replacing my throat and nose with brand new defect-free parts with warranty!
Although there seemed to be signs of relief, I was not convinced. This time, the cough was even more during night time. I lie down and I used to cough. So I stopped lying down. I was sitting upright till 2 am in the night just so that I didn’t have to cough. I knew that I had to take something with more of dextromethorphan since that would suppress the cough. Almost all syrups and cough tablets had this ingredient. I took the Tylenol syrup again which had a good amount of this suppressant. Then I messaged by cousin who is a doctor and she told me to take ibuprofen as a starter and an antibiotic if it persisted. Ibuprofen worked like a charm and I slept like a log. I followed the same steps as highlighted above for one more day and this time the coughing spell was reducing. However, this entire cough spell was now causing ache in the ribs and jaws! So I contemplated taking an antibiotic – Levobact, which I consider as a magic cough pill for me since it is very powerful and almost always works. But I only want to take it when it is too much to handle (like just before going to the doc) and this time, I felt it was almost nearing the end. So I saved it for the next time.
My wife hates cough too but she hates medicine even more. So she relies entirely on her own immune system to tackle and kill the evil aliens in her body. Usually she succeeds within a few days. But me on the other hand, rely entirely on allopathy, homeopathy, apathy, empathy, sympathy, whatever-pathy! It is more of a belief thing more than anything else. Like looking at a piece of paper bearing God’s photo and believing He is the Almighty. It is all in my mind that if I take something, it is going to solve the problem. And this medley of medicine-taking with its multitude of side-effects usually ends up in a battle one against the other and causes the ailment to prolong for over a week. I know that it is a brick wall but yet I keep going and banging my head against it.
Finally, after almost 10 days of non-stop medication, one fine day I stopped taking medicine and relied on the antibodies inside my body to get me back to normalcy. Couple more days of short bouts of cough and finally, lo and behold, there were Blue Skies all around.
Life like this, breathing with the nostrils effortlessly and mouth not barking like a dog incessantly, was unimaginable a week ago. Ah! What a joy it is! The joy of Simple Breathing…!!