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Roz

Colds, coughs and such....

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I'm interested in hearing from people who have had lobectomies. I find myself with another cold which is characterized by a nagging cough. Has anyone else noticed that when they get a cough, following lobectomy, that their cough sounds different? Also, since we have less lung, it would make sense that breathing would be hampered with a cold-I'm curious what others have done and how you have managed the symptoms.

 

thanks,

Ro

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Roz,

Indeed, nagging, productive and long-lasting coughs are my new "cold and flu" normal.  I'm not sure I notice any difference in sound but my breathing is indeed hampered.  I only have one lung and when a cold settles into it, I am bed ridden.  Here are my tips for dealing with coughing and congestion.

Mucinex is my new best friend.  My cold symptoms follow a pattern.  First a sore throat, then ear ache, then chest congestion, sometimes fever, and coughing.  I start Mucinex when I notice an ear ache and sometimes I keep it from settling into my chest.  When it does go into my chest, I use my rescue inhaler (Combivent) once in the morning and once in the evening.  I follow each inhale session with a long steam shower and that in combination with the Mucinex eases some congestion and makes my coughing more productive.

My real danger point is fever.  I keep a 14 day supply of Leavaquin (doctor prescription) on hand in the home and at the first sign of fever, I start taking this antibiotic and also schedule an appointment with my GP.  Fever is a point of concern with my doctors because it may open a path to pneumonia and that is indeed a very dangerous situation for me.

During the school season, I do my best to stay away from children.  I'm retired now and don't interact with a lot of kids and adults for that matter.  But, if I'm out and about and hear someone coughing, I go the other way, quickly.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Tom,

I appreciate your reply. What's tricky for me is that I work in an elementary school. I just started back to my job two weeks ago, and just like that, I got this cough, cold, etc. I will see my pulmonologist tomorrow because I want to ask about some kind of inhaler. I am bombarded by germs all day, so somehow need to have an action plan so I don't catch everything. Which lung do you have (left or right)? I will ask about keeping an antibiotic on hand too, just not Levaquin because I had a bad reaction to that one. Mucinex is a good idea..If I don't sleep again tonight, I'll ask him about it. When I cough, I sound like a dog barking. Hard part is all the coughing leads to aching rib cage which is still healing.. Thanks for your advice and for your response. 

 

take care,

Ro

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Roz,

Mucinex should make it easier to avoid the long non productive sessions. Works for me. 

My left lung remains. 

Hopefully summer break will allow your immune system to get normal. 

I’d be constantly using antibacterial wipes during school.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Roz, I had a right lower lobectomy about a year and a half ago. A couple of months later, I had a wretched cold that turned into bronchitis. I couldn't get in to see the doctor right away because we were having snowpocalypse her. When I did get in, I got some antibiotics plus a cough prescription for Tessalon Perles and an inhaler. During that bronchitis, I had a mostly unproductive cough that wouldn't stop. I think it did sound a little barky, now that I think about it.  i thought I was going to cough up my insides! It eventually mostly went away, but I still have some unproductive cough, even when I don't have a cold. My breathing sounds scratchy occasionally, too. I'm not really short of breath with it, but sometimes I use the inhaler which helps if it is really scrapey sounding.  I think lungs behave a little differently after they've been rearranged by surgery.

I try to combat germs by every means possible. I carry hand sanitizer and use it a lot, for example after riding the bus or using door handles in public places. I try to keep my hands away from my face, especially my eyes and nose, which isn't easy for me to do. When I fly, I wipe down my armrests and tray table with Purell wipes (these are handwipes and not really for cleaning surfaces, but I think they're less likely to annoy others with the smell than stuff like clorox wipes. All this does seem to help in keeping me from getting so many colds. I think I can contol what I pick up on surfaces, but stuff in the air is harder to control. Working with kids, it's a lot harder since kids are by nature pretty unsanitary!

Best of luck in staying germ-free.

Bridget O

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Thanks Bridget!  I saw my pulmonologist today and he gave me an inhaler to try for a few weeks. If that works, then he'll send in a prescription. He said my lungs sounded okay, so that's good. He said it was common for lung surgery patients who get a cold, it's possible that the bronchioles react as they might during an asthmatic attack does. The inhaler has two products in it, one helps with the inflammation and I forget what the other does. He said Mucinex (as Tom suggested) is okay to take if you feel it helps you cough up phlegm. 

For now, I will stock up on Purell and wipes. Unfortunately germs are everywhere..it's building our immune system back up that will help us fend it off. I think having the summer off will do the trick...just have to fight off this cold first, and then get through 6 weeks of working in the school. I'm sure once I relax at the beach for awhile, my body will get ready for the fall onslaught!

 

Take care,


Ro

 

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You are definitely in a no-win situation!  I had bronchitis and the flu earlier this year and I've never had the flu.  Turns out the coughing/sneezing/bring-fever-to-work guy who sits outside my office brought the flu to me.  Now, I'm even more cautious about touching surfaces and touching my face.  I do not want that mess again!!

Fingers crossed you can get some recovery time soon.

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Thanks Susan! I'm back and work and fighting off the cold! The inhaler has been a lifesaver!! I don't blame you at all for being cautious about germs. I am as well but sometimes it is beyond our control. I have often kept my windows open in the winter just to keep the air flowing and let the germs wander away. I guess I was surprised at what a cold would look like after having had two lung surgeries. Docs don't tell you that info..Anyways, I'm feeling much better! Thanks for the response! Take care and be well!

 

Ro

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