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Worried about my husband's respiratory problems
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Worried about my husband's respiratory problems

My husband has developed some sort of respiratory problem that I fear is not being properly diagnosed. About 15 months ago, he lost his sense of smell. He had been having no other sinus issues, and we thought it might be something to do with using a c-pap machine (he'd been on it for baout a year). But he cleans the hoses and mask, changes the filters. Then he developed this cough that would come on him in fits. Once it started, it would rack him until he would feel like his throat was torn. Our family doc felt he had a cold. Not buying that, we went to another doctor, who took x-rays and said it appeared that the sinuses were full. They put him on antibiotics. It didn't help. Meanwhile, the cough started to be accompanied by an audible rasp in his throat and sinuses, most evident just as a coughing fit hit. Eventually he was diagnosed as having a long-term sinus infection, based on a CT-scan of his sinuses. There were almost no open air spaces in his sinuses. ENT doctor said he should have sinus surgery. They put him on one course of antibiotics, and on Singulaire and Nasonex. They also wrote a Rx for cough syrup (Tussionex). They tested him for allergies, and that came back positive for animal hair, mold, and dust.

The anitibiotics didn't seem to make any difference at all. The Singulaire may help a little, but he still has coughing fits, and the rasping noise is almost constant now, and much worse. It sounds wheezy too, down farther in his chest, yet the lungs seem unaffected. He used a inhaling test like they give you after surgery, and just about maxed it out. The sounds his chest and throat are making now remind me of someone having an asthma attack. His eyes stream a lot now, and he has headaches all the time. He is reluctant to have surgery, as we both suspect that the cause is something he is being exposed to, and the ENT doc said surgery is not necessaily going to change anything.

We have only outdoor animals (cats, rabbits, free-running poultry). But our house is old....one section was originally slave quarters, with the other two sections being added later. Walls are mostly original plaster covered with several layers of wallpaper, structure is all original wood. Some renovation work has been done by others before us, which we intended to pick up on ourselves, but our health has deteriorated, and we can't afford anything else. The plaster walls and ceilings are crumbling and you can't keep the "dust" cleaned up, it comes down so fast.  The old wood structure is soft in places, and I fight a running battle with black mold, especially in the oldest section. This is a very humid part of the country, and the house has settled on it's piers until the joists are almost on the ground.

We recently spent 8 days in a nice modern hotel, and we think he improved a little while there, but not much. Makes me think it is not just allergies.

Being retired, he is home all the time. I work during the day and spend lots of time outdoors or in modern buildings. But I too have a constant post nasal drip and fight a thick stuff in my throat that is hard to cough out, and it seems to get worse when I stay home a lot. I remember the previous owners coughing a lot too, when they lived here.

Could the plaster dust and mold be causing some sort of damage or infection?  Would allergies have caused all of this? If so, wouldn't you expect removing him from the environment for a week to have elminated the problems?

extra info...he is on high blood pressure meds, pain meds for severe osteoarthritis (vicodin), and fluid pill (HCTZ). He's in his 50's and did not grow up in this coastal climate (mountain boy). Had Lyme and Babesiosis a couple years ago.
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