The Relentless Attack of ‘The Cough’

Kate Spencer avatar

by Kate Spencer |

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The Cough

It began as just a typical cough. At first, I thought it was related to a common cold or some type of seasonal allergy, and I expected it to last only a week to 10 days. Over time, it became a hacking cough, deep in my chest but unproductive. Until I ate a meal, that is.

The coughing would resume. It was hard coughing that took a lot of effort, and once it started, it wouldn’t stop. Eventually, I would run to the bathroom and cough up my entire meal. Only then would I experience some temporary relief. I gradually started to avoid eating; the end result simply wasn’t worth satisfying my hunger.

After seeing a whole host of physicians, I was pointed in the direction of a pulmonologist. I tried eagerly to schedule an appointment with one, but pulmonologists in my area simply didn’t have any openings for months. It was June when “The Cough” set in and I started trying to make an appointment; it was October by the time I actually got one. Unfortunately, my insurance carrier didn’t allow me to go to a doctor who could get me in sooner.

In the meantime, I took every cough medication I could find to help with what I started to describe as my “barking.” I eventually found that a cough syrup with codeine gave me the most relief from my distress, but it was only temporary. The Cough eventually came back. People would often say, “You should do something about that cough.” Or “Have you seen a doctor?” If they’d only known how hard I was trying.

Before long, it was difficult to imagine life without The Cough. It was there with me morning, noon, and night. The constant coughing was tiring, but made falling asleep difficult. It would wake me up, too. It interfered with my desire to eat and my ability to keep food down. I spent the months before my appointment walking around in a fog, searching for some type of respite.

I finally learned to hold a pillow at my chest when I coughed. This trick helped alleviate the pain and soreness a little. Even after the bronchoscopy was performed, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and The Cough eventually cleared up, my chest remained sore for a very long time.

Now when I start coughing, either due to a common cold or seasonal allergies, I immediately grow concerned. Is The Cough coming back? Should I be alarmed? The experience is apparently embedded as deeply in my memory as it was in my chest.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


Sarah Farrington avatar

Sarah Farrington

I am sick most days through coughing. I am 19 and at Uni, so this can be embarrassing if I cannot make it to the bathroom in time (and also very limiting). It's been like this for 5 years now and I have been diagnosed with Cough Variant Asthma. I cough all the time, but the vomiting starts when I have the likes of a cold, or someone is smoking near by. Done it twice already today - once all over my room carpet (yuck) and then again in the sink. Oh the joys :(

Jackie J avatar

Jackie J been diagnosed with sarcordosis for 15 years or more now.I have good days and bad. The worst days is whenever I start developing a cold. That cought is a deep hacking acky cough.When sometimes causes bronchitis. I suggest to everyone when u develop a deep cough consult a doctor. Just to b safe.
Also i am on a steroid medication and 2 inhalers
Which i do get relief from these meds.I understand exercise like walking will help lessen me having to take these meds and thats something I need to work at because i am so lazy. So any other advise you all may share with me would be greatly appreciated

Kate Spencer avatar

Kate Spencer

I hope consulting with your physician will be helpful. Take good care.


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