11th October 2017 Sandra Bird

Great Expectorations And How To Avoid A Coughing Catastrophe

At the recent Conservative Party Conference Prime Minister Theresa May gave her keynote speech to what you would be forgiven for thinking should be her most loyal supporters. However, the content of what she said was totally lost as the reporting of it was focused entirely on her failure to give the perfect delivery. The main cause of her difficulty, described by ‘The Guardian’ as “Great Expectorations”, was a prolonged coughing fit.
At the time this was going on I was totally unaware, busy working in clinic, but just a couple of hours beforehand I had been treating someone who was worried about succumbing to exactly that same problem…

The patient in question is a successful leadership coach, author, and speaker. She had been suffering with a sore throat and cold type symptoms for a few days and, as she had a speaking gig lined up for that evening she was worried that it would all end in tears. This event would have her speaking to a room full of her ‘target’ audience and there was a good chance that she would gain further work from it should the evening go well. She did not want to cancel and risk damaging her reputation, possibly losing forever the opportunity to present to this particular audience. Nor did she relish the idea of going ahead whilst she was feeling poorly, intermittently losing her voice, and very likely to cough her way through from beginning to end.

Most people are now aware of the benefits of health preservation, self-care, preventative medicine, and the importance of looking after well-being instead of reacting to illness. We all know why they say the bit in the air safety announcement about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. Sometimes though, life just gets in the way and it becomes necessary to use something that will just help us through the next few hours and let us do what we must do, before we can rest and allow our body to heal properly.

So, back to my patient. She, like Theresa May, had had a particularly busy calendar in the run up to her speaking gig. She had even scheduled a bit of ‘downtime’ to rest before the event. Unfortunately, the downtime was just a bit too little, too late, and when she stopped for the weekend her body reacted by shutting down. Sound familiar? Anyway, unlike Theresa May, she knew that it’s far better to seek assistance than to carry on like you’re invincible with a resulting spectacular crash landing!

My response to her call for help was to focus her treatment on lessening the symptoms whilst supporting her reserves and voice just enough to get her through the evening event, allowing her to present with her normal high energy and impact. Of course, that was accompanied with advice to rest properly afterwards to ensure a full recovery. All went well and she posted her thanks on Facebook later that night:

“I’d like to give a massive shout out to Sandra Bird who gave me some acupuncture this morning which has helped me feel well enough to give my talk this evening. Thank you my lovely, it’s been well worth making the effort to go!”


Got an important event coming up? Want to be remembered for the right reasons? Call me. Together we can prevent your coughing catastrophe!