Well, frankly, I’m getting tired of waiting around for someone in Kelly’s family to get sick; actually, they’re way behind schedule this month and I’m starting to worry that something may not be happening to them. Luckily, I got an email from one of my other clients whose mother came down with a bad cough, and not a moment too soon:
My mother, K______, has developed a bad cough and we need your help please. She says she thinks it started Thursday, after having the carpet cleaned the day before. She says she stayed in the house while they sprayed the pre-treatment solution and wonders if that exposure to chemicals is what caused the upper respiratory problem.
She has always had a weak upper respiratory system since having whooping cough in childhood and then an exposure to chemicals in the early 1960’s. She wanted to clean a rug and mixed some cleaning products together — probably ammonia and bleach — and then had trouble breathing. I mention this because she thinks that episode is what has caused her upper respiratory weakness.
The symptoms she presents now are what I would call a dry, nonproductive, sort of hollow sounding cough. Earlier she said it started in her throat. She said it strains her throat to cough. She cannot suppress the cough. It hurts to cough. Earlier she said her chest didn’t hurt but now she says her chest hurts.
One of the most significant things I noticed is her eyes: Her eyes are like slits. Definitely not her usual look. Sort of the droopy eyelids in Gelsemium but not really what I would call “besotted”. Hard to describe except to say her eyes are like slits. She also says they are watery and seem to have a film. I noticed “gunk” in the inner corners. I would say her expression is somewhat pained. She has incontinence with the cough. She always has an incontinence problem — from sneezing or coughing — but it is so much worse when she has a hacking cough like this.
She normally lives alone and if I hadn’t gone over to see her, I think she would have been in the bed all day. When I was over earlier we sat outside some and she may have been better for the fresh air. I’m not sure if it was the fresh air or having the company of my daughter, who is with her now and they are doing a crossword puzzle and she said she was better for having her there, that it kept her mind off feeling bad.
Can’t think of anything else to report. Not better for eating or drinking. Says she has no appetite. No desire for anything in particular. Just says she is “aggravated” with the cough. Sounds impatient and irritated about being sick.
This is the sickest she has been in a long time, though, and I am concerned. Would really appreciate your help.