1, 2 punch of cystic fibrosis and James Dalton

One of my favorite movies is Road House. Patrick Swayze plays James Dalton, a “cooler,” aka bouncer, or “bar consultant.” When a bar or dance hall needs to clear out the riffraff, he shows up and kicks the sh** out of bad people. If fact, he knows how to rip a man’s throat out with his bare hands – and does.

The end of the 80s and the last of the neon fonts.

The end of the 80s and the last of the neon fonts.

Great movie. Masterpiece.

In one scene, after Swayze’s character is stabbed, he walks into the ER with a thick stack of medical records outlining his long history of injuries, and passes on the pain-killer while the model-hot doctor staples the cut closed. Awesome.

So, I’m pretty much the opposite of this guy, except for the medical paperwork.

Sunday, I broke two ribs, but not in a bar fight, which would have been a 1,000 times more exciting than how I did break them. I fractured them while coughing during a breathing treatment.

I’ve never been shot but I can’t imagine it hurting more than the cough that broke my ribs, or the subsequent coughs that came with blinding, nauseating pain. Luckily, I had an unused bottle of expired Vicodin handy.

After a couple of rough nights of not sleeping well, and not knowing I had broken ribs at that point, I visited the Ortho doc. And even though the half-a-dozen x-rays didn’t show cracked ribs, he told me that I had one. He was half right.

Prescription for healing: pharmacy-fresh painkillers, rest, and Motrin – as much as possible without creating a blood fountain in my lungs.

The next day, not satisfied with the broken rib diagnosis, and thinking it was my intercostals because it hurt in areas other than where the Ortho Dr. thought the break was, I went to my CF doc and he sent me for more X-rays.

The Ortho doc must have purchased his X-ray machine from Craigslist, or in a back alley, because the hospital’s machine showed two broken ribs, numbers 6 & 7, and looking at the film even I could tell they were broken.

But that still didn’t explain the additional rib-cage pain was I having.

The next day, a red bump and blotches that were sensitive to the touch showed up on my lower right side – SHINGLES the clown, where have you been?

F’ing two broken ribs and shingles?

Bar-keep, my good man, mix me a Valtrex & Norco 5/325 cocktail, please. Help myself?  Why thank you very much. I will do just that. 

Yes, once again cystic fibrosis hit me with a 1, 2 punch., and expanded my fat file of medical injuries, hospitalizations and surgeries.

The good news, and this may be painkiller driven, is that I’ve been in a pretty good mood about the whole situation. I laughed when I saw the shingles on my side. Who gets two broken ribs AND shingles at the same time? That’s gotta be kind of rare, huh?

It’s good to be King, even when it’s King of the Idiots.

Oh, and the fun of treatments and making sure I don’t cough too hard – well, it doesn’t get funnier than that.

Some days, I just have to laugh at what cystic fibrosis throws at me. That is until I learn how to rip its throat out.

Yeah, swallow this CF. [Throat ripped out, gagging sound.]

Oh, to be the coolest of all coolers.

12 thoughts on “1, 2 punch of cystic fibrosis and James Dalton

    • Margie,

      Thank you. I’m taking it in stride these days. Pain is gone, but I still like taking the painkillers once in awhile. Helps with work. 🙂

      Hope all is good with you guys.


  1. I thought you would be taller.

    Rest up, I broke my collar bone 3 years ago and not being able to cough sucks. Don’t forget to watch Big Trouble in little China. No Swazy, but it has Russle

  2. Holy Crap! If you hug a pillow when you cough it may make the pain a little better. Rib pain and CF don’t mix. Maybe you could be more like Patrick if you got a nice pair of high rise pants like he’s wearing.

  3. Dude. UC.
    Sooo not cool about the cracked ribs and shingles. But if it makes it you feel any better (and I’m sure it won’t), my hubby found out he had/has cracked ribs in January of this year, also due to coughing. His pain level went from an already 9 to a 20 and we didn’t know why until his admission in jan where the X-Ray showed 4 cracked ribs.
    And the nonCf drs are like, try not to cough. And we’re like, try not to get hit by my fist flying at your face.
    Seriously, some really rough times in our lives. We started a relationship with a palliative clinic and some even more serious pain meds than he was on.
    Hang in there – always a pleasure (truly!!) to check your blog and hear your ‘voice’.

    • Liz,

      I agree about the not cool part. It wasn’t. Better now, thankfully.

      That sucks about your husband have 4 cracked ribs. You’re right, it doesn’t make me feel better.

      Palliative clinic? I’ll have to look that up.

      I’m thrilled you checked in with me. Wishing you and Chris the best.


  4. Ugh. Just… ugh.

    My doctor has told me more than once that I have a tendency for the bizarre, but this? This is INSANE! I think the shittiness of your current situation even beats the time my Achilles tendon was severed by a lawnmower, then I came down with a gnarly lung infection, so I spent the next few weeks hobbling around on crutches, my leg in a cast, with a picc line in my arm and cadd pump in a fanny pack around my waist.

    • Jenny,

      I don’t think my situation is worst than your severed Achilles tendon. I remember that story. You win. I would not trade you for that one.

      Happy to wrote and hope you’re feeling good.


  5. Same happened to me, I fell into a refrigerator, found out days later broken ribs, told me I should see some comfort in a week. Went back in awful pain a week later with bumps over my ribs, felt like someone was burning me all over with cigarettes. Yep, shingles right on top of the broken ribs. Physical trauma can do it to ya, and since shingles is nerve pain, no amount of pain killers will help.

    • Deborah,

      Hi. I think you got the worst of it compared to me. I didn’t think of the physical trauma causing the shingles, but after reading your story, I see the connection.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Warmest regards,


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