Thursday, January 26, 2023

There's Got to be A Morning After...

 (muses) I wonder what happened to Maureen McGovern? Excuse me. 

(after a visit with Google) Well, she's recorded 25 albums in her life and she is a well known Broadway actress. in case you're wondering. She also, sadly, has Alzheimers but interestingly, she has been a long time advocate for music therapy for this population. 


I was good and mad at Tim yesterday. REEEALLY mad. So mad that I couldn't even bring myself to talk to him because I knew that I would yell my head off. It is rare that I get that frustrated with him, but this was one of those times. 

Looking at it head on, I know that what lies beneath all this anger is simple fear. You hear about it all the time. It's not nearly as bad as it was a couple years ago, but you still hear about people dying from severe respiratory symptoms, complications from Covid and RSV. 

Now, we know that Tim does not have Covid. (Not sure about the RSV, or even if he has been tested for it.) is a long held concern of mine. He has had this cough since before Thanksgiving. What would happen if he got covid or RSV on top of whatever this is? (or both ~ my baby grandaughter got both simultaneously before she was three months old.)  So, privately, I worry. If I vocalize these concerns to Tim, he doesn't respond to them. He is not much of a worrier. 

So since before Thanksgiving, we have been having these little debates. 

"Tim, try rubbing Vicks on your chest." ("I don't like the smell of that" or "I don't like the feel of that.")

"Tim, try Mucinex D. It is supposed to loosen the chest congestion so you can cough it out." ("I don't like the taste of it.") 

I go out and find the Mucinex D and bring it home in pill form. The man refuses to take the full dose as prescribed by the packaging.)

I try suggest cough syrup before he goes to bed. He doesn't like the taste. If things get bad, he will go to the kitchen and get the cough syrup and take a swig. He doesn't take the full dose because he doesn't like the taste. 

"Let's try a vaporizer." (It builds up moisure on the windows.")

"You need to see a doctor." ("It's only a cold.") Later when it became obvious that this was no ordinary cold, the reply became "I think it is getting better." Except it didn't. The cough might ease off, but it has never gone away and it consistently returns.)

After days of arguing, he saw a doctor. I had called and made him an appointment.

After the antibiotic and MORE days of arguing, he saw the doctor again. I had called. It should be noted that they were going to order another round of antibiotics. I argued with THEM, saying, "I really think he needs to be seen. I am concerned about the rales. That was when they ordered a sputum culture and the second round of antibiotics. 

The nurse/doctor's wife called to say Tim needed to speak with the doctor about the lab results. When the doctor never called back, her response was "I spoke to your husband MYSELF yesterday." "You did," I agreed, "But you told him he needed to talk to the doctor." Long pause. "Did I?" The phone went on hold. She came back on line and was quite indignant over what she felt were confusing lab results. The doctor called back later and told him that the lab results showed nothing. 

Two months of this really was trying my patience. I had questions about those lab results and no one to ask. No way to get a second opinion since nobody is taking new patients right now. Having this background worry added to a pile of changes and worries going on in our lives right now, and you have a wife who was feeling rather plowed under. 

Not being a worrier, Tim was fine. 

We fast forward to yesterday. I'm tired. He's tired. He renegs on the visit to the walk in, we debate it in our understated way. All day we debate it, in our quiet way. 

And then he changes his mind. We go. Because he made this momentous decision at just the time when William was getting out of school, I wasn't there to get my questions answered, or to push for further testing. He walked out of that having a prescription for treatments that did not work.

I was mad. 

I was mad at his doctor. Mad at the waste of money. Mad at him

So I told him. And it was not in the quiet understated way he is used to. I raised my voice. I swore. I ranted. I did not drop it. We spent the night not speaking because it was better that way. We do not need to frighten William. We could hash it out while he was in school the following day.

I slept in another room. If he was choosing to cough all night, that was on him. There was no reason that I should lose sleep over his stubborness. 

(Side note: When I'm mad as hell, I rarely sleep well anyway, so it didn't really make much difference.)

This morning, we both sat on couches looking at each other from the opposite sides of the room. I posed a scenario to him. "Tim, say my car was not acting right and you wanted to have a closer look at it, and I said, "It's fine." I'd be behaving stupidly, don't you think? Because you know a lot more about cars than I do, and not deferring to your judgement in the situation doesn't make sense."

He nodded. 

"So," I continued. "Would you agree that while I don't have a medical degree, I'm a bit more knowledgeable about medical things?"

He nodded. 

"So why have you been fighting me every fucking step of the way for over two months? I feel like I'm dealing with a stubborn child. You won't follow label instructions, you argue every single suggestion I make, meanwhile, you're coughing nonstop and exhausting yourself and by extension, me."

He looked at me silently.


No response. 

Me: "Can you knock off the bullshit?"

He nods.

And that is as close as we are going to get to a detente. 


  1. I think I'm as frustrated just from reading this.

    In marriage, I'm a firm believer in choosing my battles, but this wouldn't be one of them if in Tim's shoes and would be one of them if in your shoes. Hopefully you can make some progress in diagnoses now.

  2. I just don't understand why no one will do a simple chest X-ray. It would take about 15 minutes and could make all the difference in the world. Yes it shows something or no it doesn't. At least then you'd have a new starting point from which to work.

    1. And I meant to say thank you for saving me from having to look up Maureen McGovern. Sad.

  3. Please get your husband a chest X-ray. A persistent cough like this could well be a sign of lung cancer. You need to find out what this is, and soon!

  4. I can feel your frustration oozing over the Internet and coming in my direction.

  5. You used the term, stubborn child. I was thinking along these lines. There may or may not be more to it underneath it all.

  6. Debby I don't think you have to explain you're frightened to your readers, that much has been obvious. I read all of Tim's responses here and I can't help but think "pride goeth before a fall", why are so many men that way (me included). He DOES need that chest x-ray, I can't believe the doctors haven't ordered one after this long. I just had one on November 1 (when I went to the ER for upper chest pains)! Please keep sharing, I just pray--sincerely--you get some answers soon. PS. I didn't know that about Maureen McGovern! Ugh! :^(

  7. He needs to see a pulmonologist asap. I'm in agreement with Jim Davis; this could be really serious. Renee in Tulsa.

  8. Please call for a lung doc appointment = pulmonologist. Go with him.
    Take the dates of past events and meds. My covid was negative but positive for type a flu and required 2 rounds of the correct antibiotic and I still coughed a lot before it was gone. Linda in Kansas

  9. I think you are not the only one who is scared. As long as Tim doesn't have a diagnosis then perhaps in his mind, there is nothing scary there, rather like a child who when covering his eyes, believes no one can see him. As long as no doctor tells him it is serious, then he can go on believing it is not serious.

  10. I think he is probably scared too.

  11. My husband won't go to doctors either, ever, and when I say ever, I mean never. I've gotten to the point where I think he'll just probably drop dead one day and that'll be it. He won't see a dentist either and his teeth are rotting. My husband is a smart man but not when it comes to himself. I keep reminding myself that he is an adult and is allowed to make bad decisions, as am I. That helps, a little.

    I guess with Tim you have some choices. Let him deal with it in his own way, with potentially dire consequences, or not. Or make his life awful enough that he does finally see more doctors. But let him know that if he does decide to keep ignoring it, that it's on him. Another option is to push him down the stairs. A broken bone would get him to a doctor. One has to be open to thinking outside the box:)
    Feel free to ignore any and all advice:)
    Sending hugs and my sympathies.

  12. I do wish that he dealt with his fear in a logical way (identify what ails you and fight that) - fighting fear with the tool of ignorance is a complete waste of effort. Very easy for me to say from all the way over here. Hugs to you. Jeanie

  13. He sounds like my husband. It sounds like a power trip to me. All those excuses why he couldn't use this or take that. That's childish. I finally decided to quit nagging my husband. He's an adult and I'm not his mother, not his babysitter. And by the way he has melanoma and lung cancer despite years of being reminded to wear sunscreen and to at least try to stop smoking. I'm sorry but sometimes people are going to have to reap the results of their actions. He knows you're worried and you're suffering and still he ignores you. Shame on him.

  14. My husband is the same, although when I get mad and tell him he's going to have to go to the doctor, he'll do it to satisfy me; but by the time I get mad and insist he goes, he's usually pretty bad off. He hasn't smoked for years, but a couple years ago he coughed and got so weak all he did was lay on the couch; I finally got him a doctor's appointment, they did a chest X-ray. Everything looked fine, but they said he should see a pulmonologist. He did, and found out he had asthma. Before that, he kept having stomach aches... was laying on the couch sleeping and not eating. I'd get up at night and he'd be on the couch groaning. Again, I made him go to the doctor. The doctor sent him to the hospital saying it sounded like gallbladder. Well, it was. But what should have been a half-hour surgery took five hours, and he was in the hospital for 8 days because there were tiny gallstones all through his body cavity. He came home with two tubes coming out of his chest, just because he didn't go to the doctor in time. I feel your frustration. He even put off heart pain so long that when he finally went to a cardiologist, the doctor made him take an ambulance to the hospital a few blocks away, saying he wouldn't recommend him to drive around the block. I love the man, but you'd think he would learn.

  15. I hope that does end the bullshit, Debby. I think the analogy you shared was perfect and does the trick. Mrs. Shife hates it when I get mad and will not speak to her but I know I need time to figure things out in my head and have some concise thoughts. Otherwise, I am going to say some things I regret because I am too emotional. Best of luck and I hope Tim starts feeling better.

  16. What about looking up an herbal remedy or finding Tim a good Herbalist? Honey is very good for dry coughs.

  17. Hope it all gets worked out soon.

  18. Everyone has already said everything that I wanted to. My husband ignored a cough that lasted a long time, a pulled muscle in his back, weight loss and fatigue and died of lung cancer in 2012. I hope Tim has a nasty case of bronchitis instead.

  19. The medical/insurance establishments of today suck. Period. I have followed Tim's cough since way back and am appalled with his care (lack of). After the second MD visit, a CXR should have been ordered with follow-up CT Scan by now. I'd bet he is really frightened by the "what if" . . . As are you. It would take at least 2-3 months to see a pulmonologist as one suggested - if you could get a referral! Coughing all night for 2-3 months is NOT normal. Praying you both get some relief ASAP. Just my 40 years RN experience two cents worth.

  20. Oh goodness - reading this after I'd read your follow-up post. WHAT a worry for you (both). Men are so stubborn aren't they? Mine's the same. Praying he gets proper diagnosis and treatment now.

  21. I agree with Ms Moon -- I think Tim has been afraid to confront this situation head-on. It IS scary but it's always better to know.

  22. Some people can be in denial. My husband is just the opposite. Any issue, and he wants to see the doctor. There has to be a middle ground.

  23. Oh gosh... oh gosh... I'm frustrated just reading this and knowing what's coming since I'm reading your posts backwards.


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