My Itemized Bronchitis Bill, Regretfully

As a budget-conscious, non-salaried young person with serious student loan debt, I’ve come a long way in curbing my spending. I’ve managed to assuage my cravings for craft cocktails; I allow myself only one “H&M Hour” a month; and I bring my lunch to work every day while everyone else blows through twenties at the Make Your Own Pasta Bar across the street.

Then I got bronchitis and realized that even the savviest of the city-living budgeteers is no match for the task of managing a 24/7 coughing fit that may or may not have cracked a rib. Like rent and the occasional new mascara-with-fiber-extension, these costs are unavoidable. What I’ve spent so far:

Duane Reade-brand Tussin Cough Syrup, Cherry Flavor, $8
This is definitely the stuff your mom turkey-basted into your mouth when you were sick and still had baby teeth. And even though I bought the adult formula this time around, I’m convinced it’s still only strong enough to help tiny gossamer baby lungs, becuase this stuff did JACK NADA for me. For a similar experience, but for free, try drinking some shitty tasting water and praying to the Patron Saint of Look at All the Fucks God Gives about your Cold. Tussin? More like NOTHIN’.

Halls Triple Soothing Action Cough Drops, Strawberry Flavor, $6
I’ve blown through a bag-and-a-half of these suckers (GET IT???), and I’ve definitely quadrupled the dosage amount from the suggested one every two hours. In fact: I’m pretty sure my body has built up an immunity to them, but at this point I’m just addicted to all three of the TRIPLE SOOTHING ACTIONS. I tend to not even trust anything that doesn’t have real drugs in it (MENTHOL is the active ingredient! Menthol! The inactive ingredients are feathers, fairy wings and unicorn saliva), but I’m at the point now where I’m so deep in a Halls-hole that OH MY GOD I ONLY HAVE LIKE TEN LEFT.

Duane Reade-brand Daytime Severe Cold Relief Tablets, $8
DayQuil, without the status. And apparently without the ability to FUCKING DO ANYTHING TO MY BODY. In a feverish haze to find out WHY, I analyzed the ingredients, and do you know that they are composed of both a cough suppressant AND an expectorant? Which means this drug both makes you cough and stops you from coughing? And do you know that’s IMPOSSIBLE? And do you know what this paradox has done to my bronchi? I’m writing a letter to you, Duane. DUANE. I’m coming for you. Your drug confused my bronchi. My bronchi are like ????????????????? and my lungs are like #smh and my diaphragm is like #yolo. 

Liquid NyQuil, $3 from my hometown surplus/salvage store, sent in a package from mom, free to me
Oh my god this stuff. This guy. I love you NyQuil! Hey I love you! Also the fact that my angel of a mom scored it at a discount store proves that one should never ever move away from home, where things like moms and discount stores exist for the sole purpose of taking care of you when you’re sick and broke. But anyway, NyQuil. Light of my life. Master of Artificial Sleepmaking. Bon Iver for the Bronchi. Lullaby of the Darkness. Thank you thank you thank you why must the day rise again?

Duane Reade 75% treeless tissues, $1.19/box
Guess how many boxes I’ve gone through? A million bajillion kablammion! Which means I’ve only blasted nasal sputum into like, what, I don’t know, three or four trees uprooted in vain. The circle of life, it moves us all.

Delsym, $12 for the tiniest, most precious vial
I put off buying Delsym, or “Actual Lifeblood” as I’ve been known to call it, because shit costs a lot. But today, day TOO MANY DAYS of relentless coughing, I knew it was time to Go Medieval on Cough’s Ass. Have you tried Delsym? When Lil Wayne talks about Sizzurp, he’s talking about Delsym. When Sasha and Malia Obama get sick, they take Delsym. If you crucified Florence Welch, her wrist wounds would bleed Delsym. When Meatloaf said he’d do anything for love, but he wouldn’t do that, he was talking about signing a written contract stating that he would never take Delsym again, in exchange for love. Delsym. Nectar of the Gods of Pneumatic Innocence. I chose Delsym. I chose life.

Duane Reade Walk-In Clinic, $80, plus a million dollars’ worth of memories
The nurse asked me how to spell “amoxicillin.” The guy who signed me in whispered to me that “it was all my fault” while I was sitting quietly waiting for the doctor to call me in. I got an antibiotic and cough syrup with codeine! Then I went home and watched Law & Order SVU.

GRAND TOTAL: Over $115 and less than $1 billion. A LOT. So, Obama—I raise this question to you. What are you going to do about the rising costs of over-the-counter cold remedies in this country? Something must be done—if not for me, then for my children. But seriously, for me.


Lauren Rodrigue works in marketing and is a blogger and freelance writer on the side. She loves crop tops, tries to spend her money wisely and is probably jealous of you.


9 Comments / Post A Comment

bgprincipessa (#699)

This article is so fantastic. “my lungs are like #smh” … very amusing. Sorry you’re sick though =/ it’s the pits.

Killerpants (#972)

I am also allergic to amoxicillin, and I also don’t know how to spell it. I had to scroll up just now to look at how you spelled it just to type it down here. I usually use a lot of y’s in it, because for some reason I think most drug names use a lot of y’s. See: Delsym.

Titania (#489)

I was sick with bronchitis for like two weeks and had to go pick up a package at UPS. While I was waiting on line, hacking up what was left of my lungs, the man behind the counter turned to me and said, not unkindly, “I bet you’re taking Robitussin, or some other shit that tastes okay. White people don’t know anything about cough syrup. If I get your package next and get you out of here so you don’t get these other people sick, you gotta promise me you’ll go get some Buckley’s, girl. Deal?” And I said yes, and he gave me my package, and I went straight to the drugstore and got a bottle of Buckley’s, and it worked like a charm. And it costs $5. So yeah, go get some Buckley’s next time.

selenana (#673)

@Titania “White people don’t know anything about cough syrup.” Ha ha.

bibliostitute (#285)

@Titania I did not even know this was a thing that could be a thing, but wow!

Do you mean… KATHLEEN KELLY’S perfect apartment?! (Please don’t tell anyone about my fond regard for You’ve Got Mail.)

CaseToTheSea (#1,108)

Aaaand, I’m sorry, some people’s version of sizzerp contains promethazine instead of phenergan. It’s an older, rough-around-the-edges antihistamine that has the serendipitous side effects of drying you out, making you drowsy, and suppressing the urge to puke.

CaseToTheSea (#1,108)

Oh, my follow up post looks obnoxious without the first one ahead of it. I really meant, “I’m sorry” as in “I’m sorry I forgot to include this in my first comment; I’d better clarify”

Codeine. Oh codeine! So lovely. I got sick in February with a hell of a cough (made worse by smoking, I’m sure). But this thing literally lasted a month. Everyone I knew got this cough. By the third day of coughing, my stomach muscles would shake and I could feel the blood pressure/muscles in my head and face straining and was worried I was going to like, burst a blood vessel or something. It was horrendous.

Codeine let me sleep. You know what else worked better than any OTC medicine? HONEY! Honey is so good for you and it soothes your throat and stops your cough. I actually made hot tea with dried basil leaves and a ton of honey and it was amaaazing. Also, the only OTC medicine that seemed to work was these cough drops with superawesome jelly cough medicine in the middle.

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