Wednesday (1/12/11) 10:54am - ... wherein Peter is *still* sick.
So it turns out that the weird fever problem I reported last week is actually an illness in *two* stages. First, you have chills and aches and malaise for a few days.
Then, that goes away and your lungs fill up with mucus.
The health clinic has diagnosed me with bronchitis, which means that my lungs are inflamed and filling themselves with goo, which I then have to cough up. They've prescribed albuterol, which forces my bronchi to be more open, and guaifenesen, which breaks up the goo and makes it easier to cough up. I'm also taking decongestants, just so my nose & sinuses won't contribute *more* goo.
That said, my lungs seem to have an infinite amount of mucus. It seems like every time I get a moment's peace, I'm suddenly desperately hacking up some new tiny bit of green goo like a cat dealing with a recalcitrant hairball. I've missed most of the work week, my voice is shot to hell, and I just don't seem to be getting better.
A handout from the clinic says that acute bronchitis goes away after at most two weeks, so I suppose I have a maximum of ten more days of this.
Man, that does sound like what I have/had, except I think my case isn't as bad. I started out with aches and pains, no fever though, and then was hacking up green gunk for a week. I had the breathing problems, but I used the albuterol I already own (for my asthma) and that seemed to help. I'm hacking up less now, and feeling a lot better, so I'm thinking I can forgo the doctor's visit, right? Really contagious? Eeeeep.
Unless you're showing other symptoms, I imagine the doctor would just give you some guaifenesen to loosen up the goo & call it a day. Apparently this is one of those maladies where the only real prescription is 'let time pass'.
Thoroughly disgusting advice from my experience with bronchitis: you want to try to not cough as much as possible, because every time you do it just exhausts you and hurts your throat more, and it can be hard to stop once you've started. Sometimes you can't help it, but when you can, try sort of silently gagging/clearing your throat instead to bring up the mucus. Having water nearby at all times helps with suppressing coughs - be especially sure to do this when you're driving, because you DO NOT want to be coughing uncontrollably when you're behind the wheel of a car, let me tell you.