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My Bronchitis

Updated on July 12, 2022

Over the years, I had allergies, colds, flu, kidney stone, and Bronchitis. But, none of them was more discomforting and long-lasting than Bronchitis. I had allergies, colds, and/or flu almost every year. However, my Bronchitis occurred on average every 6 to 7 years. My symptoms of the Bronchitis were pretty much the same each time – fever with aching joints, running noise with thick mucus, sore throat, and cough with greenish sputum.

Most distinctly and painfully, my Bronchitis lasts for more than 30 days. All the symptoms subsided within a week except for the persistent, annoying, and stressful coughing. As a result, each occurrence of my Bronchitis imprinted a long-lasting and fearful memory.

Author's work
Author's work

The Cough

The cough started just like an ordinary urge to discharge a foreign object in the throat. It was mild, in short bursts, and controllable. But, after 2 to 3 days, it took a turn to the worst – uncontrollable and 24/7 - and a normal flu episode suddenly transformed into a life-changing event. I tried Tylenol, Robitussin, and Chloraseptic spray but none of them could numb the urge to cough. And worse yet, the more I cough, the stronger the urge to cough.

I went to see my doctor seek relief and all I got were antibiotics. One time, I was given a bottle of codeine, a prescription sleep-aided liquid. Unfortunately, the coughing urge was more powerful than the sleep deprivation. Besides, codeine had a bad stool-stiffening side effect. So, all that was left to do was to toughen it out during those trying times. I ended up with 2 to 4 hours of sleep usually in the early morning when the body finally ran out of the urge to cough.

The Ordeal

This coughing episode went on non-stop for about 15 to 20 days and I started to feel the aches in my rib cages and muscle cramps in my stomach due to the jerking movements caused by the uncontrollable coughing. My appetite and nutrition absorption ability was also compromised. As a result, my body weight was reduced by more than 10 lbs.

Just when I was about to lose hope for a quick recovery, I sensed an ever-slight improvement in my ability to sleep longer in the morning and the coughing urge was not as intense. After patiently forcing myself into the daily routines, my life finally returned to normal after another 9 to 11 days. However, it won’t be for another 20 days before all the residual coughing, aching rib cages, and stomach muscle cramps were completely gone. This whole 30 days coughing experience had been repeated pretty faithfully for a total of 5 times in my life from 1973 to 2003.

The Sixth Time

It occurred again around 2011 and I did not yet have the seasonal flu vaccination. All the symptoms were there and I was preparing for another 30 days of excruciating discomfort. First, I started to use the breathing technique (inhale 1 second through the nose, exhale 1 second through the mouth, and repeat continuously while drinking a little water to keep the throat moist) that I found in the past to be effective in controlling the coughing urge.

It required a conscious effort 24/7 and the coughing urge usually subsided in the early morning which was when I could get some sleep. Then, it came to me that another way was to block the urge. I had tried Tylenol before to block minor coughs and this time I decided to try something stronger this time – Aleve which is a more potent pain relief taken by athletes during sport-related injuries.


To my pleasant surprise, a single 220mg Aleve pill worked like magic. After 30 minutes of intake, the urge stopped and I was able to have a good normal sleep. The next morning, the urge returned and I felt refreshed to control the cough with the breathing technique only. In this fashion, I needed to take only one Aleve pill before I went to sleep.

To me, Aleve was a game-changer as I was no longer at the mercy of my Bronchitis. Overall, the 30-day ordeal had been reduced by half and the stress on my body caused by the uncontrollable coughing was also drastically diminished. Since I am taking only one Aleve pill a day for no more than 5 days, I had no side effects normally associated with the pain killer.


Based on the information I gathered from the Internet, the same virus that causes flu can also cause Bronchitis. Since the infection is deeper into the windpipe and produces sputum, the coughing will be more intense and take longer to heal. It is important to cough out the sputum but only to an extent so as not to overstress the Bronchi linings and the surrounding tissues. Just like scratching on an itchy mosquito sting, the resulting infection can make a harmless bite become a medical issue. The thing that still eludes me is why my Bronchitis occurred only every 6 to 7 years.


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