How I Broke a Rib From a Coughing Attack

Last updated: August 2022

In November of 1989, I was hospitalized with asthmatic bronchitis. My GP had been trying to treat it for weeks and finally admitted defeat and admitted me. I remember that when they initially drew blood from my arm, the blood was purple due to a lack of oxygen.

A broken rib from asthma

Once in my room, they immediately hooked me up to an IV containing Solu-Medrol. Since most asthma medications are usually "uppers," I was awake for almost three days. On one of those nights, I coughed so violently that I actually heard, and definitely felt, my rib crack. I could barely breathe and was unable to move for five hours until the doctor arrived in the morning. The x-ray just confirmed what I already knew. I think it was the longest five hours of my life. They didn't tape it and breathing was excruciating.

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