Monday 30 July 2018

Getting my excuses in....

As excuses go, I don't think the ones I've saved up for Lakeland 50 are bad ones.

If you read my last post, you'll know I've had some health issues lately. So, a bit of an update before I go on with my Lakeland report.

The weekend after I had these pains I went to Latitude festival with some friends. I had a terrible cough the whole week up to it, then totally lost my voice over the weekend from constantly coughing, combined with dancing, singing and drinking in a dusty environment. The cough still hung around.

Since then, I have stopped having chest pains and seen the Cardiologist. The night/early morning of my appointment gave me a bit of a scare though. I woke up suddenly about 2 in the morning, choking and completely unable to get my breath. Who was more scared out of me and Doug is unclear. But after what felt like 5 mins (probably seconds) I finally got my breath after some deep wheezing sounds in my chest, Doug trying to slap my back, me trying to slap him away. It was horrible, I have never experience that.

Doug offered to take me to A&E but I figured I was seeing the Cardiologist that afternoon, I'd mention it to him. I didn't really sleep much more after that, between googling whether I was having a heart attack and worrying I was going to die in my sleep.

Penny met me in Bedford for my appointment where I had another ECG and went through in detail the problems/symptoms I'd been having. He listened to my heart, read my ECG (decided it was wrong, and the lady had put the wires on wrong). He said there's nothing wrong with my heart. I told him about the choking incident, he said I probably just choked on spit while I slept.

When he was satisfied the ECG was normal, he agreed that running shouldn't be an issue and that 50 miles the next week should be fine if I feel OK. He recommended seeing my GP if the cough persisted. Relieved, but still not fully satisfied that I was "well" I went for a glass of wine and some lunch with Penny in the sun.

I was in Swindon over the weekend and did a lovely run on the Saturday on the Cotswold way, not too many coughing fits. Sunday I had a sports massage followed by a bloody awful run!

I should probably say now that every night, from that night, I woke up choking.... it was super alarming but I figured it was just normal, but not great for getting a good nights sleep as for a couple of hours after I'd be a bit unsettled by it.

Doug made me get an appointment with my GP but as I was in Germany with work for 2 days I couldn't go until Weds.

I explained the last couple of months to the GP and she examined me, listened to my lungs. All seemed clear. She seemed satisfied that she'd solved the conundrum.

"You have Whooping Cough" she said

"what? isn't that what babies get?"

"Adults too. I had it not so long ago"

"Oh. What does that mean?"

She explained that it was probably too late for antibiotics but gave me a script anyway in case. Booked me in for a chest x-ray (just in case) and a blood test to confirm her diagnosis.

I didn't really know what to do with this info. She said it is sometimes referred to as the "100 day cough" because that's usually how long it lasts.

Since then, I've done a huge amount of research and it sounds like it's actually fairly common but often misdiagnosed.

It is however, fucking horrible. I still wake up at least once a night choking. I feel fine in myself. I have no real obvious signs of illness except when I have these violent coughing fits, which have me gagging at times (but not passing out or vomiting like a lot of cases I've read about)

In my research, I've found out the following key pieces of info  - apart from it being highly contagious in the time before you have symptoms.

1) the disease is almost undetectable when the bacteria are doing their thing. Their "thing" is essentially destroying the Cilia - which are the little brush things that remove mucus and dust and germs from your airways. Irritate the fuck out of the airways and trick your immune system into not knowing they're there chomping away at these important little brushes and leave your airways sensitive and prone to choking fits.

2) Only when they've done what they set out to do you start getting symptoms, normally cold like ones. Mucus, coughing.

3) Once you are through this. You're pretty much locked in to be coughing and choking for the foreseeable future(100 day cough didn't come from nowhere) Most people seem to say it last a couple of months, some say it's lasted up to 8!  The main cause of alarm for other people this horrible insuck of air that creates the "Whoop" sound - a bit embarrassing when this happens in meetings.

4) the vaccine we're given as kids wears off after about 10 years.

What I'm not sure about is the damage I will do by running or how long these Cilia take to come back. What I do know is that I have 6 weeks until Tor De Geants, and it's highly likely I'll be coughing then still.

So I think I've brought you up to date to the few days before Lakeland and good news is I've not got a heart problem!

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This latest blog will be hopefully following my transwales experience. Enjoy with me :-)