Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Laughing So Hard It Hurts

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't like going to doctors or taking medications for my injuries and ailments.  I tend to side with the school of "suck it up."   I only go see doctors or take medication if I know that waiting cannot cure me as well as medical intervention.  Of course, this is not the wisest course in all or even most circumstances, and I'm lucky that I have yet to lose any appendage to gangrene.

I caught a cough over the holidays.  During the first few days, I would cough on occasion and needed only to clear my throat to resolve it.  By the third week, I was coughing in such deep-chested, uncontrollable fits that I'd have to stop walking and place my hand against the wall to brace myself.

It wasn't long before I coughed so hard that I actually hurt myself.   One coughing fit had been so violent, that I thought my spastic lungs might have actually cracked my ribs.  I felt a sudden and sharp pain at the broadest point on the right side of my rib cage, and I had trouble standing upright.  I poked my ribs with my finger and nearly doubled over.  To make things worse, I sneezed a few days later and -- though I know this is impossible -- thought I heard the sound of my ribs ripping apart.  It certainly felt that way.

Since then, I have difficulty taking deep breaths and raising my arm past a 45 degree angle.   Lying down is also problematic so going to bed now requires a slow approach, a heating pad, and whimpering.  The worst problem, however, is that I cannot laugh without causing myself pain.  Whenever someone makes a remotely funny joke, I reflexively grab my right side in an effort to physically restrain my ribs from laughing.  Instead of my usual guffaws, I have to hiss out a pathetic "hee hee."

Next time, I swear I'll take some cough syrup.  Or, I'll at least consider it.


  1. I did the same thing!! When my rib popped from coughing, I almost fainted from the pain. It took a month before it stopped hurting.

  2. Angela, I'm starting to wonder if we're related...