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Old 08-15-2008, 04:01 AM   #1
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When to go to the doctor?

Y'know, if I hadn't had two ER visits for asthma attacks in the past six months, I wouldn't even be thinking about going. I have a cold. Well, I've had a cold. For a week now. With a cough. That is getting worse. I cannot lie down, I'm starting to get a bit short of breathe, and the cough is getting deeper and more painful. Slightly productive cough. I feel terrible. But, it's just a cold, and there's nothing they can do about a cold.

Anyway, if I did go to the dr, it wouldn't be to my dr. She just gives me antibiotics every time, for everything, and I just am tired of taking antibiotics. One of the times she gave me abx it may was probably warranted, but the other times, not so much. I'm starting with a new doctor in a few weeks, but can't go there until my coverage changes over. I don't have time anyway to make an appointment, and they wouldn't get me in until at least Monday anyway. I'd just go a clinic.

I dunno. Before asthma, I wouldn't even be thinking about it. But now, as I say, I've been the the ER twice, recently, and last time spent a night there, and I'm nervous that this'll lead to another attack that will mess up my life more, and make me sicker for longer. But is there even anything they can do to forestall than happening? I've already done two short courses of prednisone recently too, and I guess that that probably isn't warranted now. What could they do, other than tell me that it's a cold, and they can't do anything for colds?

 
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:30 AM   #2
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Re: When to go to the doctor?

OK, here's the deal. You should be seeing a pulmonologist for your asthma. If you were, you would have a written plan and know what to do when something like this happens. Generally speaking, the plan will tell you how to alter your meds when you get sick. In my case, I take Flovent, one puff per day. When I get sick, have breathing problems, weather gets bad, whatever, I add one additional puff a day. If that doesn;t help, then I call in.

So, we can't tell you to alter your dosages; only a doctor can do that. I can tell you that an antibiotic does nothing for a cold. A cold is a viral infection and antibiotics are for bacterial infections.

You don't say what meds you are on for your asthma and whether or not you use albuterol for attacks. I will give you an old wives suggestion for the cough at night - campho phenique - a little poured onto a hankie or kleenex and held to your nose while you sleep. Works wonders!

 
Old 08-15-2008, 06:30 AM   #3
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Re: When to go to the doctor?

Yeah, my pulmonologist appointment is coming up at the end of September. I'm six weeks into the three-month wait. And yeah, I know antibiotics are not merely useless, but harmful. Wish someone would get the news to my doctor.

I use Advair, and I use albuterol for attacks, but it's not helping much with this.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #4
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Re: When to go to the doctor?

You know, just because he hands you the prescription doesn't mean you have to take it! You wouldn't believe how many times I've refused one.

 
Old 08-16-2008, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: When to go to the doctor?

Yeah, I know. I went. They gave me cough stuff with codiene, and I feel a whole lot better after getting a whole night's sleep with minimal coughing. Said it was acute bronchitis. They also did give me antibiotics, said that it's standard treatment for acute bronchitis in people with persistent lung problems, because it could be bacterial or viral. I dunno.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 12:02 PM   #6
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Re: When to go to the doctor?

Earlier this summer, I had what I thought was a cold or allergies acting up. My cough got really bad. Coughing is my main asthma symptom. I typically don't feel or hear my wheeze. Unfortunately, I can't tell the difference between an asthma cough, an acid cough and an illness cough when they are a dry cough. I went in to the doctor because I was afraid it was an asthma cough and my medications weren't working (Advair 500, Singulair, Albuterol). The doctor said I didn't have a cold, but that my "cold" symptoms were actually asthma symptoms. That was my first round of Prednisone this summer.

I've been coughing almost non-stop since the beginning of June. Last week it got worse. I went in again so they could listen to my lungs. I know my acid is setting off the asthma right now, but the coughing was non-stop and I couldn't get a breath. I had lung x-rays (second time since spring) that were OK. I also had some blood testing. My white counts were up. The doc figures I probably have bronchitis (something new for me). They prescribed an antibiotic. At this point, I am ready to try anything so I went on a short round of antibiotics. If it was viral, I would hope it would have run its course because I had the symptoms for weeks. I don't know either. I very much understand your concerns though. I have been on antibiotics so many times over the years for horrible sinus infections that I just know they have thrown my body out of wack.

My doctor prescribed me a cough syrup about a month ago to see if it would help. She just reminded me not to drive while on it. I assumed it was a codiene syrup. I went to pick it up and found out it was a combination of hydrocodone and an antihistimine. I was afraid to take it. Especially when I need to be working too. I finally took some for a couple nights to help me sleep. Lucky me, I got called for a random drug test the next day. Murphy's law or something.

I can tell you that I have been following the asthma plan my Pulmonologist put me on. Although, he gave me a standing prescription for Prednisone (14 day taper), I have been going in to my PCP because I want to be sure it is an asthma flare-up before taking it and lately, I haven't been sure. My PCP prescribes 10 day tapers. I feel better doing that. My Pulm doesn't want to see me back until I get the reflux under control so I have been relying on my GI doc and PCP. Right now, everything seems to be going around in circles.

Last time in, I asked my doctor if I was coming in too often this summer and when I should make an appointment to be seen. I feel like I am being a bit of a hyprochondriac going in about every other week. Since the beginning of June, I have been to my PCP 5 times and my GI doc 3. Basically, they told me that if my coughing/ asthma is causing me to have difficulty breathing and the Alubterol isn't helping much, it is good to go in to be seen.

I ended up making an appointment at a local university hospital with their GI department based on a recommendation from my PCP so that I can get a second expert opinion. They told me they could get me in at the end of November. I settled for an appointment Sept 30 with the doc's PA so that I can get into their system. They wanted me to schedule with the Pulm instead because of the cough, but I went with the GI doc. It is a chicken and egg thing for me right now. Is the asthma setting off the reflux because the coughing squeezes my stomach or is the reflux setting off my asthma?

 
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