These coughing spells are extremely worrisome, so I was pleased with Kathy's attitude when she was here yesterday. "We are going to get this coughing under control," she told me. She started me on Plan A--cough medicine every four hours, whether I was coughing or not, and she already had a Plan B if that didn't work (an additional medicine). I guess this is the same attitude that cancer patients find so helpful when they come into hospice--they are told that their pain will be controlled, when often they have been suffering for a long time. It's that quality of life issue again--nothing is more important for the sick person than to know that they will get real help with whatever that person thinks is the most important thing.
Again, I can't help contrasting this with the mental health system, where often what people want is very practical stuff, like finding a place to live, and instead they have to jump through all kinds of hoops because someone else decides what's most important. That approach makes the person feel even less in charge of his or her own life.
In any case, I haven't had another coughing spell. I have been using the cough medicine, and I also need to do two nebulizer treatments a day (I managed one yesterday). For some reason, I couldn't sleep last night, which happens very rarely these days, and I got up for good about five-thirty. I was feeling pretty good, so I was able to go into the kitchen, leaving Marty to sleep, and have some tea and cinnamon raisin toast (I think this is going to be my standard breakfast for awhile--until I get sick of it), and read. When I heard Marty beginning to stir I went into the bedroom with the newspapers (getting all the way through the apartment and to the front step is a big excursion these days, and I had to sit and rest in the living room for a bit before getting all the way to the front door, and again on the way back), and we did the Times puzzle, which turned out to be one with an interesting twist and fun to do.
Nancy, the hospice chaplain, came for a visit and she, Marty, and I lounged on my bed and talked for probably an hour. A lot of what we talked about was chit-chat, but I've discovered that it's not necessary to focus on the "heavy" topics--things come up very naturally in the course of conversation, and we did end up talking a lot about support, the difficulties of asking for help, and my being able to give up control over details without feeling an overall loss of control.
Marty left a little while ago to run some errands, and I will probably try to take a nap and see if I can catch up with some of that missing sleep.