Bonnie’s severe chronic cough began after a sudden vocal cord spasm in 2016. At first, she thought it was just “more of the same” cough she’d had before. Never fully recovering from a surfing accident as a teenager, Bonnie endured a variety of complex health issues over the years, including a similar cough triggered by complications from a surgery. This time, though, nothing would provide relief.
Disrupting Her Life
An active athlete and mother of two sons, Bonnie says the coughing disrupted her entire life. “So many aspects of your life are impacted,” shares Bonnie. “People can’t understand you, so it’s isolating because you just don’t want to talk to anyone. Breathing is a very big part of fitness, so I couldn’t train right. It stopped my whole life.”
Bonnie pursued various treatments at local care facilities, but none resolved her cough. “We tried speech therapy sessions and BOTOX injections,” notes Bonnie, “but not one thing was successful. I was on my last leg.”
The Turning Point
Bonnie says everything changed when she was referred by her laryngologist to Temple Health. At Temple, she met with Barbara Ebersole, BFA, MA, CCC-SLP, assistant director of Speech and Language Pathology at the Temple Head & Neck Institute. “Chronic cough rehabilitation is a unique subspecialty of speech pathology, and very few clinicians have expertise in managing this condition,” notes Barbara.
“My experience allowed me to listen carefully to Bonnie and tailor an intervention specific to her symptoms. Changing behavior can be difficult, so I also serve as a coach to help train and encourage patients as they adopt our recommendations.”