Viral Grab-Bag: Please Stop Coughing


I know what you’re thinking.

Please, for the love of God, stop coughing.

I know you’re thinking it because I’m thinking it too. And maybe the fact that I assume you’re thinking that says more about me and my self-centric view of the world or my projection or my fears or something, but maybe I don’t care.

I care about very little of that higher-order stuff right now. I just want to stop coughing. For the love of God.

6 days and counting now. It’s no longer a productive cough, or so I have determined from WebMD. It’s just an awful, painful, grating cough.

When I was younger our neighbors remodeled, restuccoed, and they sandblasted their walls. It’s like that.

Whooping cough. Bronchitis. Tuberculosis.

Please, dear body, just stop coughing. There’s no foreign entity left to remove. I promise. It’s just my immune system overreacting, refusing to let me be. Again. Please, just leave me alone.

Please, stop coughing.

I don’t think I’ve ever used up so many sick days in a row at work. And when I go back, I can’t even really work, because I’m trying so hard to stiffen my throat and not cough, not release this horrid illness on my colleagues.

How do you get rid of a cough like this? Steroids? Botox? Amputation?

I can’t sleep at night, which doesn’t help. After three hours of lying awake, breaking into fits or coughing, I finally drifted off. But then I was up again, every half-hour, punctuating coughs with profanity. Or maybe it was punctuating breaths with coughs.

And so I go to the doctor. Take a deep breath. Blow in this.

It’s not whooping cough. Not bronchitis. Not a sinus infection, or even bacterial.

It’s just viral. A cold. With a lingering witch of a cough.

“How long could it last?” I ask.

“Could be up to two months,” the doctor replies.

Oh no. Please, no.

Isn’t there something I can do? Something I can take? Nope. It’s viral. Wait it out. Put some tussin on it.

And as if that weren’t bad enough: I leave the doctor. I continue in my vain attempts to suppress this cough. I realize the discharge in my eye is getting worse. My eye is all pink and inflamed.

I have pinkeye.

Really? No, but really? Pinkeye?

Pinkeye, which can follow a cold, especially one marked by upper respiratory symptoms.

Oh for crying out loud. Pinkeye. Like in grade school. But without Nickelodeon and no-school-days on the couch, with my mom taking care of me.

Pinkeye, and an evil cough. Incessant, painful, abrasive cough.

I want my mommy.

P.S. DiabeticTussin! Who knew. Now that makes me laugh. Until I take it. And then I cringe and grimace, because that stuff tastes horrid. But it’s allegedly safe for diabetics. But, ew. No wonder they sweeten the normal stuff.

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