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The nose knows

March 4th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

OK, so I’ve had an “unexplained cough” for a long time now. Several years, in fact. Each year at my annual physical I would tell my PCP (an APRN) that I still had “that cough.” They had done a chest x-ray (normal), a breathing test to rule out asthma and then I was in Prilosec for just a week, to see if I had acid reflux. I was really supposed to stay on it for at least 2 weeks, but I stopped after 1 week with no difference.

I had some extremely infrequent instances of acid reflux, nearly every time after I had a big bowl of pasta…with lots of acidic tomato sauce…. for dinner.
So, as I said, I would dutifully report the cough each year, and each year she’d do one test and then never follow up with me, and truth be told I wanted to forget about it so I didn’t call her. For some reason I had it in my head that diagnosing the source of my problem would be a long, drawn out affair with lots of diagnostic tests which, even with health insurance, I feel I can ill afford (haven’t met the deductible this year).

I finally went to the ear, nose and throat guy today, who she’d finally referred me to last year before I got that middle ear infection.

I told the doc my issues and lickety split, before I could say I don’t want that long tube thingy up my nose, well, he inserted a long thin tube thingy up my nose. Frown He said it was definitely inflamed and suspected “silent” acid reflux but wants me to do another unpleasant procedure next week to determine for sure.

The unpleasant procedure is to have them insert another tube, about the size of a piece of spaghetti (not sure if that’s width or length) up my nose while it’s connected to a mini computer attached to my waist. I have to go home with this thing and sleep with it overnight so it can record the acidity in my stomach! Then I return the next day to have them remove the tube. Ick. Ugh. Gag.

If that’s in fact my problem, I have to go on medication. Not clear how long. Could be a few months or forever. Also, becus I’ve had this cough for a long time, he wants me to go to a GI guy for a barium x-ray to make sure there’s no damage to my esophagus tissue or whatever. Happy, joy, joy.

I do feel somewhat relieved to know this is probably what it is. My other fear about this thing was that it was a cancerous tumor in my throat, and I was taking a rather fatalistic approach to it all. (I tend to self-diagnose the worst case scenarios all the time.) Silent acid reflux can be somewhat helped by changes in habit and diet, meaning, don’t eat 3 hours before bedtime and avoid things like tomatoes (love ‘em), chocolate (oh no), alcohol, caffeine (no!), cheese and eggs (uh oh).

I’d just like this cough to go away. It’s gotten to the point where people notice it and ask what’s wrong, and it’s also frequent enough that I worry I’m gonna start hacking away during at an inopportune time, like a job interview. Which I had scheduled for this a.m. until they called and said it was cancelled cus the woman was sick.

So I go back on Monday to have the tube inserted. I have Mondays and Tuesdays off from work, so that works fine and I won’t lose any work time. But I’m already feeling nervous about it.

7 Responses to “The nose knows”

  1. Carolina Girl Says:

    Hoping all goes well. Wishing you the best and a great report.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    Sounds awful, but if it leads to a solution it will be worth the discomfort. It may not be as bad as you think.

  3. snafu Says:

    I hope this results in resolving the coughing problem. Would you consider keeping a food 'journal' and for the week until the test eliminate those food that are irritants as an experiment? Coffee, chocolate and tomatoes may be the most difficult, start to plan some other rewards for your diligence.

  4. starfishy Says:

    ugh - those up-the-nose tests are horrible! i had a persistent cough during january and finally had a whooping cough test. it was awful. i hope you find a solution soon!

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    My mom had a persistent throat clearing thing .. for *years*. She finally figured out that it had to do with the stomach bypass she had in 96? It had gone on for so long that she has done permanent damage to her esophagus. So ... better to figure it out now than later.

  6. freeme journey Says:

    hello my friend , I work in a Gastro unit where we do all these tests and I promise the thought is worse that the procedure, once the diagnosis is made and you are compliant on your medication you will be feeling like a brand new person. Hang in there!! But if your doctors says stay on the meds then stay on them and don't do the stop, start thing because then you will never get it controlled. Just a word of caution, surgery is the very very last option as a solution - the surgical results are limited and tend to be overstated. If it is recommended that you go for a second opinion. Goodluck and hang in - remember minimum of 3 - 6months chronic meds first, before you make major surgical decisions. Take care Smile Will watch your blog to see how you are doing luv from across the ocean

  7. MonkeyMama Says:

    Good luck - sounds icky!!

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