Monday, January 16, 2017

Turning the Corner

I'm finally turning the corner, physically and emotionally, on 2016 and preparing for the future.

It's been a rough six weeks. Basically, around Thanksgiving, I began to have my normal annual entertainment: persistent coughing, a little bit of wheezing, and a tremendous amount of physical discomfort. This is every year, although December 2015 was a remarkably easy one. This year, though, they were changing 30-plus year old carpets in my office. Best part: they were doing it one cubicle area at a time, which meant that every day, a new round of dust, dirt, and mold were flung into the air for me to enjoy. So, my usual annual issues were exacerbated immensely by my work environment, in which I usually spend 9 hours per day or so.

Long and boring story short, the cough got worse, which included wracking physical pains because of 24-hours of nonstop coughing; lack of sleep; lack of appetite. I was in bed, straight, from 12/27 through 1/3, only getting up to do a little bit of work at home for the bank. New Year's was spent in bed - I knocked myself out with a sleeping pill around 10. The Wife and the boys had a slumber party downstairs. The Boy and The Wife made it through midnight; the other two didn't. I went to the ER the next day and given an ineffective breathing treatment and some cough medicine (which was also ineffective). I went to my PCP the next day, who said the magic words: beats me, we're doing everything we know to do, let's see what happens in a few days.

So, when I went back to the breathing doctor, I did hear some nice words. It's the weirdest cough, because my lungs are essentially clear (when listened through the stethoscope), and the chest x-ray is always clear. The breathing function test is essentially normal. Heck, once the wracking pain went away, I knew that I could jump on the treadmill and run three or four miles without issues (...albeit coughing the entire time). He's decided that we're not going to treat this like asthma, but he's going to try to figure out the underlying cause of the cough.

I have an appointment at the Voice Center in a week and a half for a scope & check up. He thinks that it might be laryngospasms, which can trigger the airway irritation (which he said he could see) and cough. It also explains why the albuterol breathing medicine is entirely ineffective, and why cough medicine isn't effective, either. I'm hopeful about this, because maaaaaaaaybe this could also explain some of the singing issues that I've had for the last fifteen years or so. For whatever reason, when my voice hits a middle C or above, it entirely locks up - regardless of how much vocal instruction I've had, regardless of how much practice I'm doing, regardless of the amount and quality of air I use. That would be nice, if we could discover that the same underlying cause. Two birds, one stone, and an enormous quality of life improvement. My pessimistic nature says no way it's that easy, that I get to enjoy a nose/vocal fold scope to find out that everything is entirely normal and the cause of my persistent cough is a medical mystery.

However, over the past week or so, things are finally starting to subside. I'm eating normally, and I'm sleeping relatively normally. I'm coming off the steroids (best part: doctor thinks that the steroids aren't really helping, so I'm destroying my liver for no real reason) at the end of this week. I'm fortunate, in that my manager has been incredibly compassionate and accommodating - he certainly didn't have to, and I thank G-d for it. The members of our team have also been great and patient with me. I enjoy the people with whom I work - the biggest thing that's kept me at the bank is the people in my department.

I'm incredibly thankful for my wife, who has cared for me, patiently and lovingly, for the past month and a half. She's been truly amazing all the way through this ordeal, staying by my side and ministering to me at any and all hours of the day and night. I know that friends have had spouses who have not been as patient and kind; but The Wife truly understands and exemplifies " sickness and in health." I hit the lottery when I met her - one in a billion, without a doubt.

My New Year's resolutions include more writing this year. One would think that I have the time to do it these days, without a musical ensemble to call my own. It was an eventful end of year, with Little Bear playing two years up in kid-pitch baseball, and the boys starting at a new school, and The Boy taking up trombone (...and excelling beyond anybody's expectations), and me playing saxophone with The Wife's orchestra, and The Baby learning to read and playing his violin well (...and throwing really, really hard with his left arm, also a huge plus), and The Wife's new chorus, and some early spring cleaning, and my father turning 81 (and what that means), and decorating my house for the holidays, and my pending religious changes..... there's a bunch of things that are happening, waaaay more than seasonal blog updates so that Google doesn't think I disappeared.

I did just register "," so that's a thing that happened.

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