Therapeutic coffee…

My coffee really came into its own today.

This morning, within seconds of getting out of bed, I slipped straight into a bout of pulmonary oedema. Not a bad one, like that which put me in hospital last month, but I’m not sure there’s any such thing as a good one, though bleeding was minimal and my breathing, while impaired, was tolerable. The serious element, though, was that my inhalers did little to improve the situation.

I discovered that megadosing, using my Volumatic spacer device (I’ve ordered a second one for the bedroom), is usually beneficial. This involves taking multiple doses of my inhalers on one breath – invaluable when any breath at all is a bonus. Today, though, the benefit was minimal, so I hit the coffee as well.

Why, did I hear someone say? Well, it’s like this, my principal COPD drug is Phyllocontin Continus, and the active component is Aminophylline, which in its turn is a derivative of Theophylline. Which is a dreadful drug – take it, as I did for about 20 years, and puking becomes a major pastime. It’s effective, I’ll give it that, but you will barf. A lot. And coffee contains naturally-occurring Theophylline at a dose high enough to be useful but not high enough to toss my cookies. Or maybe there’s something in coffee which inhibits that – I really don’t know.

What I do know is that, at times like this, it can be – possibly literally – a lifesaver.

I’m pretty sure, having consumed vast amounts of the instant stuff when I was able to work, that Theophylline occurs only in fresh coffee, as I never noticed the slightest benefit from instant, nor do I know if different types of coffee have differing levels of Theophylline, but based on how widely other components can vary, I think it likely. Whether the variation is enough to affect its therapeutic efficacy, I know not, but there’s a research project there for anyone feeling keen, who has respiratory problems, and who gets through more coffee than I do (I drink only Old Brown Java, by the way).