I have been coughing for close to 3 months now. I had initially brushed it aside as smoker’s cough but after seeing a bus ad go by that said  Chronic Cough as a HALLELUJAH GOD IS TALKING TO YOU type of sign, I decided to visit the doctor. he actually chuckled when I told him about the bus ad.

looking at my receipts, I first saw the doctor in September where he gave me antibiotics, then another time in October when he thinks I don’t need antibiotics and gave me 3 kinds of tablets instead (MAC Lozenges, Theophylline, Codipront Capsule, Neuflo). now in November, still coughing, I decided to go back one more time before trying traditional chinese medicine.

The doctor stared at me, puzzled that he couldn’t figure out what was wrong. my cough had no pattern, neither a night nor day cough. it was dry and sometimes phlegmy. sometimes i’d cough till i heave sometimes it’s so weak it’s not even a cough at all. he asked about my work habits, things at home, changes in lifestyle, anything that could have triggered what I termed as a lame cough. he had advised against drinking cold drinks, eating sour fruits (which induces phlegm), even against playing with my rabbit coz he thought it was her fur which could be the culprit. it felt like an episode of House, where he sends his team to break into the patient’s homes to collect evidence of what could be probable cause.

Speaking of House, I’ve been catching up on episodes between Season 6 and 7. when in Episode 2 selfish , House figured out the reason the girl was sick by linking it back to the low level cold she had a year ago, which resulted to her collapse, vomiting and throwing up blood. immediately, I turned to Bryan wide-eyed and wondered out loud if I had something serious like amyloidosis or something unpronounceable like that. He looked at me askance and said I should stop watching House.

so back to the doctor visit, I really like this doctor as compared to the one I grew up with. I switched to him a few years ago coz he was located to my ex-boyfriend (it was convenient then). he took his time with each patient which meant the wait at the clinic can be really long but that’s why he plays Avatar: The Last Airbender (the cartoon) in the waiting room. he will ask me all sorts of questions to narrow down on the causes. I used to think he was a pervert coz he had a shifty eye look but recently I’ve taken to chatting with him and I think he’s highly amused by my antics. Like today’s visit, when he asked me if I ate chili or drank coffee, to which I confessed I did a lot, he decided that my cough could be due to acid reflux. the higher acidity content kinda flows back into my esophagus, causing irritation in my throat, which leads to the coughing. so he looked me in the eye and said I had to cut down on chili and coffee.

There was silence in the room. say wut?

Cut down on chili and coffee.

I went NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! people in the waiting room probably looked up curiously. my shout of denial resonated throughout the neighbourhood (Joann did you hear me scream?) Birds were shocked out of their trees. The earth rumbled.  I cried, “but food tastes funny without chili! I can’t live without chili! whenever I come back from long holidays, the first thing I eat is sambal belachan! I cannot not eat chili!” and with coffee, “NO COFFEE?? HOW DO I SURVIVE! HOW DO I FUNCTION! AHHH!!!”

75f5bab1.jpg picture by burbur

Is that chili I see??

The man actually LAUGHED. he LAUGHED at my pain, loss and sorrow. in the end,  we came to a compromise: eat LESS chili and drink HALF a cup of diluted coffee. FOR A FEW WEEKS! good bye tom yam soup, byebye sambal sotong, sayonara assam fish head. actually this reminds me of a game Bryan and I used to play: which would you rather give up. It’s a game of priorities, where in this case, would I give up chili or coffee, in Bryan’s case beer or beef. there’s also an alternative version we played where given no choice at all, would you rather give a blowjob to another guy, or get it in the butt. of course this applies to straight guys only. but that’s another story.

Anyway, the doctor gave me Prospan Cough Syrup, Domperidone and Ranitidine. Hopefully I can finally stop coughing now. I had been so proud of the fact that I’ve not been sick for more than a year now.


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