Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

February 10, 2008


Coughing so widespread the cough drop business must be booming


          An irritating cough has had me by the throat for a week or so. After trying cough drops for days to no avail, I went to see my doctor. When he asked me to take a few deep breaths, I began coughing uncontrollably. He gave me a shot in my hip and a prescription for antibiotics.

          Three days later the coughing has subsided but not entirely. My friends give me little hope. Ed and Frank tell me to get ready for a long ride; both say they have been coughing for more than a month. Nothing seems to stop the coughing.

          This coughing illness is maddening. Start coughing and the people who love you the most will tell you to cover your mouth or go out of the room. They don’t want to be around you. Suddenly you know how a leper feels when his family sends him off to the leper colony. Is my next stop a coughing colony? That would be hell really – to be confined to a place where everybody was coughing incessantly.

          Sleeping is almost impossible when the coughing takes over. About the time you think you can go to sleep, you start coughing again and it is out of your control. For two days I coughed until I could hardly catch my breath. That was frightening.

          The medicine has helped. My fever is gone. But I am weak physically; the constant coughing wears you out. My chest is sore from all the heaving and sputtering.

          All this has caused me to remember having read that whooping cough epidemics have sometimes resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. So coughing is not a new phenomenon. I suppose it is as old as the human race. A coughing fit probably drove Eve out of Adam’s bed more than once. Your wife does not want to sleep with you when you are coughing like crazy.

          So what causes the coughing? Is it a symptom of the flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia? Is the pollution in the air causing this coughing to be so widespread?

          Are drugs the only remedy for coughing? Surely there are some good home remedies that will work. My friend Ed says he remembers taking Creomulsion when he was a child but nobody sells it anymore. Right now he is trying Cold Eze on the advice of his doctor. If that does not work, he may try a little Jack Daniels next. If my coughing persists I may have to forget that I am a preacher and take a swig of Jack Daniels myself. It is a cough syrup, isn’t it?

          Some folks blame coughing on too much sugar and flour. Others say the way to cure the coughing is to take a large dose of Vitamin A, B, and C. The Vitamin A that works though must be the A that comes from fish liver oil. They call that the ABC Remedy. But I wonder. My doctor did not send me home with vitamins.

          Coca Cola seems to help some people. I tried hot tea with lemon. That helped some but did not stop the coughing. Hot drinks seemed better than cold drinks.

          Hopefully my coughing will stop soon and my family will let me back in the house. My wife may even sleep with me again. But heaven help me if this coughing is contagious and my wife gets it. She will never forgive me.

          If my coughing lingers on for a month, I may try to buy some stock in the cough drop industry. It could be that the sale of cough drops will turn our economy around and save us from the current recession.  I wonder if I can get Smith Brothers online. As far as I can tell, they will be in business until the end of time. Coughing evidently is with us – from the cradle to the coffin. + + +