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Medicare Card As a kid, I was sick a lot and I missed school quite a bit. I seemed to spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office and I was often diagnosed with sinus infections, colds, post-nasal drip, chronic/acute
bronchitis
, or pneumonia. For months at a time, I lived on antibiotics, cough medicine, and cough drops. During my sick times, it was a nightly routine to slather my chest with Vick’s VapoRub and put oven-warmed towels on my chest to help me breathe.

It was a struggle for my folks because my coughing was keeping them awake. I have memories from when I was just an itty-bitty thing struggling to suppress this constant coughing. On occasion I would go sit in the closet in my bedroom coughing into my pillow trying to silence my coughs so everyone could sleep. I would do this until the wee hours of the morning and sometimes I would fall asleep in the closet.

Then, the coughing would suddenly clear up and everything would be fine. My life would return to normal and it would all seem to be just a bad dream… until the next time. This was my pattern for years. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s when I ended up seeing an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) for an ear infection, that I finally got a new diagnosis to my sinus and respiratory
issues.

While getting treated for an ear infection, I told the ENT my history of coughing, colds, etc. and he examined me. He said he saw evidence of multiple issues. He felt absolutely certain much of my problem was caused by allergies. He
suggested that the chronic wheezing I was experiencing was due to allergic asthma. He also asked me if I was aware that I had a deviated nasal septum. I had no idea what that even was, so he demonstrated it to me. He pushed close one nostril and had me inhale through my nose. The air freely moved into my lungs. Then he held down the other nostril and had me inhale. There was very little, if any, air into my lungs! I was completely shocked by that. How could I have not been aware of this?

He tested me for allergies and sure enough, I had significant allergy issues. I began daily allergy medicines, shots, and using an inhaler for the asthma. I also had a septoplasty to correct the deviated septum. The problems weren’t fixed over night, but bit by bit I began to improve. It has made a huge difference to the quality of my life. I eventually stopped taking allergy medicine and the shots all together. I can’t even tell you the last time I had a sinus infection, cold, or bronchitis.

It’s difficult for me to believe that at one time I thought the misery I was experiencing was a “normal” part of life and just something that I had to live with. When family, friends, or total strangers on a street comment to me about frequent colds or other chronic sinus issues, my first question is always, “Have you been to a specialist to be tested for allergies?”

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