Deep Breath

It was the cough that wouldn’t stop.  I waited and waited but by Monday, after ten days of hernia-inducing coughing (only a slight exaggeration), I gave up and traveled to Kaiser for my fourth appointment within a week.  At this rate, I think I should qualify for a Buy 4 Get 1 Free promotion.  I coughed into my sleeve in the elevator, I coughed into my sleeve in line, and I coughed into my sleeve some more in the waiting room.  When Dr. Quan, my internist, had me breathe deeply so he could listen in with the stethoscope, I coughed some more.  No matter.  He could easily detect the tell-tale sounds of pneumonia in both lungs within a few breaths.

He gave me the option of letting the pneumonia run its course assuming it was viral or instead prescribing an antibiotic immediately, a solution that would be effective only with a bacterial infection.  Since I need to be reasonably healthy again by my Herceptin infusion next Wednesday, I opted for the immediate solution and headed down to the pharmacy to pick up a 5-day course of azithromycin.

Incidentally, I did remember to ask Dr. Quan about my mole.  He examined it closely and said that I should keep an eye on it but keep my hands off.  He suspects that it’s in a constant state of irritation and that it should revert to its normal state within a couple of weeks if I can just leave it alone.

Within a couple of days, I was coughing a bit less although, quite frankly, I was simply exhausted.  Breast cancer couldn’t stop me from exercising, but the pneumonia has.  For 3 stir-crazy days this week, I haven’t been in the pool, on my bike, or in my running shoes.  Today is the last day of medication and I’m not completely well yet, so I called my doctor this afternoon to see if I was progressing as expected.  He said that the cough could last up to 3 more weeks since I probably still have quite a bit of fluid to remove from my lungs.

Alas, this all interferes with plans to do a one mile open water swim at a “Splash and Dash” event at the Stevens Creek Reservoir this Sunday.  Fortunately, another event in the same series is being held next month so I’ll have another opportunity to participate, providing of course the cough has stopped by then.

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