Cough It Up

It’s hard to believe it’s only been two weeks since my surgery! It definitely feels much longer than that.

I continue to focus on my healing, resting quite a bit over the weekend. I was tired, which is not unusual when you consider all the healing that is happening on the inside: lung, muscles, ribs, cartilage… Just because those five little incisions are healing, doesn’t mean everything is at the same pace.

My biggest complaint at this point is the coughing. After a lung surgery, coughing is good; it helps get all the gunk out and reduces your risk of pneumonia. In fact, post surgery, you are encouraged to cough (certainly a challenge with a chest tube).

But you know how they say too much of a good thing can be a bad thing…

My coughing isn’t persistent and it isn’t always terrible. But it is annoying. It rarely produces anything; pretty much it’s just a dry cough. Some days are worse than others and it hasn’t really impacted my sleep. But did I mention it’s annoying…? I can generally keep it under control with cough drops or a beverage (but not always). Sometimes, I feel like I’m going to cough up my lung. It can make speaking challenging at times, and my chest muscles are getting sore. I’ve got to hold my rib cage as I’m coughing to minimize discomfort to some of my incisions.

In doing some research, I found that some possible causes of long-term “CAP” (Coughing After Pulmonary resection) include injury of the vagus nerve, GERD, bronchial scarring, and thoracic anesthesia. I’m not saying that any of my coughing is related to this, but it was interesting to see that this is not an uncommon phenomenon and how many things can go wrong (as in most surgeries).

Per Science Direct, “persistent CAP is defined as the duration of dry cough no less than 2 weeks after pulmonary resection, no abnormalities in chest X-ray, eliminating postnasal drop syndrome, bronchial asthma, and oral angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.” While I have no idea what that last one is, I do wonder if part of this isn’t related to postnasal drip. I think I’ll try some Claritin or something for a bit to see if that helps. If it does, then we’re good. If it doesn’t, then I’ll definitely raise it at my surgical follow up.

Wish me luck!

IMDb: Cough It Up (2014/TV)

5 thoughts on “Cough It Up

  1. I so understand, the coughing was pretty tough after my heart surgery. I know how you feel, I hope the clartin helps. Take it slow, you are doing great.

  2. Coughing is no fun after a lot of surgeries. I hope you find some relief soon. You are working hard on your recovery. Be sure to take some time to just sit back, have a cup of tea and look out the window at nature.

  3. Thank you for posting an update! I am thinking of you!! Hope the Claritin helps! Sending you lots of love!!

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