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“Doc, what’s up with this annoying cough?”

9:00am. March 30th 2014. Just came back from walking my dog. About to take a shower and still so excited to be able to do so without any assistance anymore. 

How I’m feeling: Hopeful and excited to spend the day with my friend Danielle looking at wigs and hairstyles. 

After a rough dance session on March 3rd and 4th, I decided to make an appointment with my doctor. We’ll call her Dr. M. This cough was starting to get annoying. It had been a while since I had seen my doctor, and so I figured it would be nice to see her anyways and book my physical while I was there.

The appointment was on Wednesday, March 5th and it was a quick and pleasant one. I love my doctor. She has the perfect balance of being objective and professional. She is incredibly intelligent. We spoke about life, how I’m feeling and my cough. She checked my chest, back and stomach with a stethoscope while I (tried to) deeply inhale and exhale. “Try” because at this point, whenever I would take deep breaths I would make a wheezing sound and occasionally cough. I sounded like a 58 year old smoker trying to make it to her kitchen from her living room.

Dr. M. provided me with a temporary puffer to take twice/day to see if my coughing and breathing would subside, along with a prescription for another puffer to use only for the “cough attacks” I have in dance class or while running. She also ordered me a chest x-ray because she found that through the stethoscope, the wheezing seemed to have come from my left side of the chest.

Fast forward 5 days later (It’s now Monday March 10th), I was in the office working on a new project with a new team. The office tends to be a quiet one, and so ever so often – I’d try to liven things up. This time, my way of unintentionally livening it up was through my annoying cough. The coughs were not painful, but having to take frequent breaks to cough it out and drink some water was distracting me from my own work. I had remembered that I had my paperwork from Dr M. for my x-ray in my purse and so I decided to call the Toronto Centre for Medical Imaging to book my appointment. Luckily, there was a spot available that afternoon – the last one of the evening. While, I knew time would have been tight, I decided to grab the spot. I rushed out of the office 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave and made my way on over. A quick chest x-ray. I’ve done those before! I’d be in and out and that would be that.

While the x-ray was quick, there were a couple of small things that caught my attention. At the time, I didn’t think much of it but I think they still kind of stuck to me – at the back of my mind at least. Just as I was about to enter the change room to change out of my gown, the technician chased me down and asked if I wouldn’t mind doing another front chest x-ray. She explained to me that my shoulders were not forward enough and that they needed a clearer image. Of course I didn’t have a problem with it and so, I followed her back to the room. As I was about to leave for the second time, another technician asked the usual “Do you smoke cigarettes?” question – even though I had already been asked the question earlier. I responded once again with “No. Back in university (10 years ago. Holy cow), I used to smoke socially for maybe 2 years. Perhaps a couple of cigarettes a month. If that” The technician than asked “To the point where you would purchase your own packs?” I was beginning to get a little irritated and concerned. “No, I would split packs with friends. I never smoked to the amount where I would go through a pack” Things started feeling a little personal. Also, I thought x-ray technicians were not supposed to comment on any imaging results. It was clearly starting to freak me out – but I figured that because they see and conduct a lot of x-rays on a regular basis, they just wanted to make sure the contextual information accompanied with my images were as accurate as they could be.

The very next day, things took a massive turn…

1 reply »

  1. Just had my own physical last week. Feel the same way about my own doctor. I’ve been in that situation where what they are looking at doesn’t make sense. The look on their faces is priceless.

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