Ahead of the first ELF Chronic Cough Patient Conference, this month’s patient spotlight is on Linda Clephane. Linda has been living with chronic cough for more than 20 years and is co-chairing the conference on 7 May 2022. Here she talks about her condition, her involvement with ELF and the upcoming conference.
I am a fit and healthy woman recently retired from teaching in a primary school. My life now is a pleasurable round of spending time with my two sons and their families and enjoying an active social life with my husband, friends and wider family. Walking, gardening, reading, cooking, baking and yoga classes now fill my days as much as preparing lessons and teaching lively ten-year-olds used to.
I first became aware of my persistent cough over 20 years ago when we were staying with family in Cornwall and my husband was telling me I would wake up the whole house! Then followed many years of investigation. My doctor was very diligent; I had x-rays and endoscopes, pills and potions to spray up my nose and into the back of my mouth. Nothing seemed to work: I still coughed. Every year during the school holidays, I would go back to the doctor and we would investigate the use of antihistamines or asthma sprays. I was referred to a respiratory consultant, who after two appointments declared she could do nothing for me and signed me off.
I decided to take charge myself. I paid for a course of acupuncture, which was wonderfully relaxing but still I would cough. It was during my reading of everything and anything about coughing that I came across a paper published by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and there was my life laid before me! A hundred health professionals were questioned about the treatments they offered to patients with a persistent cough and it was my investigative path this followed. I emailed the ERS and thanked them for investigating coughs like mine and offered to become involved and it was they who forwarded my email to ELF.
When I was asked if I would like to join the ELF Cough Patient Advisory Group (PAG) I was delighted to be involved. It is so positive for me to hear from other people just like me who had no explanation for their cough and also to have a label to put on that cough – I have Chronic Cough. I could say this to the nurse who was giving me my Coronavirus vaccination while I was coughing behind my mask. He nodded sagely and didn’t seem perturbed.
Being part of the working group for the first patient conference on chronic cough has been very rewarding for me. It was a personal boost to my self-esteem when I was asked to be the Patient Chair and I hope I can fulfil this role in a positive way. I am delighted to hear that health professionals recognise the effect a constant cough has on the mental, social and physical health of patients, and that they are taking active steps to reduce that burden through their research and development of treatments.
I am so looking forward to hearing the speeches from leaders in the field and hope that as many people affected by chronic cough as possible will be able to join us.
I have completed the EPAP training modules and found that very interesting and insightful. Going forward it has prepared me for further research.
Find out more about the Chronic Cough Patient Conference and register to attend for free:
Watch Linda talk about the upcoming Chronic Cough Patient Conference:
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