COPD Friends
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Bronchiectasis Workplace Etiquette

Wondering if any other folks have had similar experiences. I've had bronchiectasis my whole life, so a major part of my daily routine has always involved airway clearance (a wonderful euphemism for hawking up phlegm). As I'm sure everyone knows, it's not something you really want to do in front of other people outside of a pulmonary clinic. It's not really a problem at home (God love my wonderful and tolerant family) and it's also not a big issue when you're out in the wilderness (beaches are the best for burying gunk in the sand). But what do you do in the workplace? In the various places I've worked all my life I've been lucky to have situations where there were private restrooms where I could go in and cough up the stuff discreetly, but my current workplace is a much larger organization and it's hard to find a time when there's no one else in the restroom. (I forgot myself once and coughed in front of a co-worker and the poor guy just about fell over with alarm: Jeez, are you OK? Yeah, yeah, sorry about that. It's normal for me....) Anyway, I stumbled on a solution that's working very well that I'd like to share. (And there aren't many places where you can share information about this kind of thing!) I'm fortunate enough to have a private office with a door I can close, so I bought a bunch of paper coffee cups with plastic lids, like they hand out at Starbucks. Curiously, my phlegm seems to gather itself up for a major clearance every morning between 10:00 am and noon. Not sure why that is. Does anyone else have a similar schedule? I'd say 90% of what I bring up every day comes up during those hours. The rest of the time it's sporadic, just enough to remind me I still have bronch. Weird, isn't it? Anyway, I found that instead of running back and forth down the hall when it's clearance time I instead close my door and use one of those cups to collect my daily production. I pop the lid on it for decency's sake but now I have this discreet cup sitting on my desk available for collecting anything I produce during the workday. At the end of the day I toss it in the trash, again with the lid still on so I don't alarm the janitors. Works like a charm! Of course I don't have to worry about people sneaking into my office and stealing my morning coffee off my desk, but if anyone did the joke would be on them, wouldn't it? 8-)

2 Replies

how do cough it out?


I guess I'm lucky in that it comes up pretty easily. I just do huff coughing and I'm able to bring up a lot of the stuff. Postural drainage really works well for me but I'm not always in a position to do that (pun intended). My daily routine includes nebulized saline solution and that makes me cough and bring stuff up too. Other things that seem to stimulate production are exercise, laughing, singing, and bending over to pick something up off the floor. (I guess that's postural drainage of sorts.)