Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Zee lovely wife she tells me I must go to the doctorb about zee cough. So I go.

The good news is that my blood pressure was 110/76. That's normal. Maybe she made a mistake.

I choke and cough a lot when I eat, due to the way ALS weakens the muscles that make sure that the air goes one way and the food and drink go the other way. But as a result of this cold-cough, I have been coughing much, much more when eating. And sure enough maybe the salivas and zee sinus drips they go down the wrong way sometime?

(By the way, if you are grossed out by all this, let me say that part of the reason I write the blog is for me (OK, by some philosophies, all of the reason), and part of the reason is for you pals of mine, but also, part of the reason is for people who may have ALS and want to read about what it is like, and get useful information from someone who has been there. That's why the gross details).

The main thing that is a drag about the cough is not that I fear some kind of ALS-related loss of breathing capacity (coughing is probably a good workout fro the breathing muscles) -- I'm not at that stage yet. It's that the cough or infection or whatever makes my whole body feel weak an assaulted. I feel it is in times like this when the neuromuscular deterioration that characterizes ALS advances.

The doc listened to my lungs and said that mayhap I have bronchitis because zee phlegm she go down the wrong way. And so he gave me a bag of freebie Augmentin (a pretty feeble antibiotic) which I am supposed to take twice a day with meals for five days.

He also said I should suck on hard candy when I have a cough, because that produces more saliva and will help make the phlegm go down the right way.

He also said I should take a double dose of Robitussin DM. I said I thought I remember reading that a scientific study showed that cough syrups have no effect. The doc said that Robitussin contains a local narcotic that actually works.

OK, whatever.

So, when the doc asked me to get up on the table so that he could listen to my lungs, I tried to back onto it and slipped off. So then I tried again and slipped off. Thinking that this would look to him like an ALS thing, I reeled over to the wall which was quite nearby in the tiny examination room, pushed off that, and got up enough momentum to successfully mount the table.

Observing this, he smiled and said, "You do have a style about you."

And suddenly I wondered: Is he gay? I thought I was the only one allowed to say presumptive yet kind things to people.
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