Breathing Gets Harder

March 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

Every few years, usually during the winter season, my respiratory system starts acting up. It starts with a sore throat and a general ill feeling throughout my body, then progresses to an uncontrollable cough and loss of voice.

The last time this happened was during my senior year of high school. I coughed so hard at night that I couldn’t sleep for hours, just lying there coughing my guts out. I remember having to sing at Winter Camp and not being able to hit all the notes because my throat simply refused. I even coughed up a bit of blood during English class and J got so worried. I reluctantly took the Chinese cough medicine my mom gave me but didn’t believe it could be cured so easily. After a few weeks, the problem went away.

This time, it started with a slightly feverish feeling. I thought it was the flu, since that seems to be the current trendy illness. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t sleeping or eating well at the time due to other reasons. As the days passed, my throat became incredibly dry. I started drinking a bottle of water a day, which is a lot considering I rarely consume liquids outside of mealtimes unless I’m singing. I inhaled almost an entire bag of cough drops in one day, which was delicious like candy but ultimately did not help. Roomie #1 offered me some medicine but all I had was a scratchy throat and a sick feeling, so I thought I could wait it out. I usually don’t take pills unless my symptoms become unbearable, like a runny nose or those cursed cramps.

Eventually the coughing began, and I finally realized that I most likely did not have the flu. Curses. The mysterious illness had returned. It took me 2.5 weeks to completely recover. Roomie #1 offered me her sleeping pills, which I gladly took two nights in a row. Unfortunately, I only received 7 out of the promised 8 hours of sleep each time, and I still woke up multiple times in the middle of the night.

My mother tells me that I had some kind of chronic pneumonia in the first few years of my life. Apparently I spent half of my time living in the hospital because I was sick all the time. Thankfully, my health improved once I moved to America at the age of 3.5.

When I returned to China 6 years ago [holy crap it’s been a while], I became quick ill with uncontrollable coughing and was diagnosed with pneumonia after getting a mucus test and x-ray-type-thing. For 15 consecutive days, I laid in a hospital bed for a few hours with an IV stuck into the back of my hand, dripping antibiotics or something into my veins. It definitely put me off needles for life.

Even when I visited China this past summer, I became sick within the first week. I’m starting to think that studying abroad in China next year isn’t such a great idea…

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