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Year Three, Day 187: Controlled Coughing

I am still fighting the battle of the Cough.

I am a warrior. I will fight it to to the death!

A few years ago, when my daughter, her then fiance, my son and I lived in Salem I had a similar cough. My daughter would twitch every time I hacked. It was a very dry, itchy, nervous sounding cough. She said she was going to direct a movie and call it "Cough".

So I guess the Cough and I go way back. I guess I've been in denial. Every time it would return I would think, "It's a virus, or nerves or acid reflux. My immune system is compromised because I have been under stress."  

I had my home remedies. I would usually eat much pho, drink tea, gargle with salt water, maybe suck on some cough drops. Eventually it would go away and I would forget about it. Until the next time it paid a visit. 

Well it's back now. I'm definitely paying attention! 

I am going to have to start charging it rent if it doesn't stopped hanging around!

So, in addition to raw ginger, honey, tea, pho and breathing exercises, I have added "controlled coughing" to my daily regimen.  

I did a bunch of research online after I read the book I told you about yesterday (Positive Options for Living with COPD, by Teri Allen.) The author is a Respiratory Therapist. I wanted to get several opinions though. I found a plethora of information online! 

I am going to share with you the information from "The Cleveland Clinic" website ( While it has the same information as the book and other sites, it is particularly clear, concise and user friendly. 

Here is a nice definition of "controlled coughing" for COPD.

"COPD can cause your lungs to produce excess mucus, leading to frequent coughing. Not all coughs are effective in clearing excess mucus from the lungs. Explosive or uncontrolled coughing causes airways to collapse and spasm, trapping mucus.
The effective, or controlled, cough comes from deep within the lungs and has just enough force to loosen and carry mucus through the airways without causing them to narrow and collapse. Controlled coughing saves energy and therefore, oxygen."

This absolutely resonates with me. Part of the issue with this cough is the helplessness that I feel. The cough just comes out of nowhere and assaults me. I feel like I am being attacked and I am out of control. If I am in public, it is embarrassing.  I carry cough drops with me, but they do not always work. Usually I am home though. In bed. It is at it's worst at night when I am trying to fall asleep and first thing in the morning. I've tried elevating my head with many pillows. That helps a bit.  
But there is usually a period of time where I just succumb. I am just overcome by a coughing fit.

So when I read that "uncontrolled coughing causes airways to collapse and spasm, trapping mucus", I thought, "Aha!"

Plus, I like the idea of me controlling the cough, rather than the other way around.  

I was at my daughter and son-in-law's house for the morning helping with Baby Gracie.  I was going to accompany my daughter to Gracie's doctor appointment for her 2 month shots.  

Thank goodness my son-in-law got home early.  My daughter called me almost in tears. "It was horrible!", she said. "Baby Gracie screamed bloody murder. She cried so hard, no sound was coming out!"

Oh, my heart hurt. If I had been there I would have been shedding big tears along with my grandbaby.  I told my daughter that it will get easier. Than I said, "Who am I kidding? The memory will fade. Every painful event in my children's life, I felt like it was my own pain. Just recently, when my daughter was home from the hospital, she was in such pain she could not sit. She had to nurse Gracie standing up. My heart ached for her.

But I told her the alternative to getting her immunizations was much worse. She got her polio, pneumonia and HepB shots.  She will go in again in two months. Both Gracie's mom and dad were pale from the shock of it. It is good they were both there. To realize just how precious that baby is and how they desire to protects her!

But while I was at my daughter's house, I found myself explaining to my son-in-law that I need to do my breathing exercises and controlled coughing. I warned him that the controlled coughing might be disgusting, but it was necessary. He was fine with it. In fact, he sounded interested. He just recently got over a bad cold, so perhaps he will file this information for future use.

Here is the controlled coughing technique from the Cleveland  Clinic website:

Controlled coughing technique

To cough effectively:
1. Sit on a chair or on the edge of your bed, with both feet on the floor. Lean slightly forward. Relax.
2. Fold your arms across your abdomen and breathe in slowly through your nose. (The power of the cough comes from moving air.)
3. To exhale: lean forward, pressing your arms against your abdomen. Cough 2-3* times through a slightly open mouth. Coughs should be short and sharp.
* The first cough loosens the mucus and moves it through the airways. The second and third cough enables you to cough the mucus up and out.
4. Breathe in again by "sniffing" slowly and gently through your nose. This gentle breath helps prevent mucus from moving back down your airways.
5. Rest
6. Perform again if needed.


Avoid breathing in quickly and deeply through your mouth after coughing. Quick breaths can interfere with the movement of mucus up and out of the lungs and can cause uncontrolled coughing.
Drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake. When mucus is thin, coughing is easier.

I am pleased to report it is working quite well! I am moving much mucus.

Ok. That was disgusting. But I am happy! I went out for a nice pho lunch with much tea and water!  I really need to increase my water intake. My daughter has been nagging me for years. She is right!

I have high hopes.  But if I don't knock this cough out of the ballpark by the time I finish this course I am going back to the doctor.  I think I need an inhaler. But I am going to keep up with my natural remedies. Since they are natural, they will take longer to take effect.  

Oh, and today was day 150 of my daily hooping experiment! That's 5 solid months of daily hooping! I am proud of that! WOOT WOOT!

I had to hoop in my daughter's trailer. It was most rainy and windy outside. So you can't really see my mad hooping skills since I was so stationary.  Plus, when I am at my daughter's house, I hoop with my spare, disabled hoop. But still...5 months!!
Here is the video:
By the way, I will NOT be making a video of my controlled coughing sessions.

You're welcome.

But I WILL leave you a picture of me reading to Baby Gracie. My daughter and I are starting to buy her books. No silly books for this girl, we are starting her right away on  the original Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne!  I quite enjoyed reading several pages to her today. She seemed to enjoy it too!

I am now signing off to go sit in the steam room and jacuzzi at my gym. 

Cough, be warned. You don't know who you're messing with!
Happy Wednesday everyone!
Talk to you tomorrow!



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