Saturday, August 19, 2006

Let Me Tell You About Whooping Cough

Oh, my Lord, this is a miserable, miserable illness. I have never been sick for so long in my life, and I'm only on two weeks! My six year old will have been coughing for four weeks on Monday. The Chinese call it "The Hundred Day Cough" or sometimes "The Cough of Enlightenment". Heh. Enlightenment indeed.

One week ago, when I had not slept laying down for five nights I was sobbing to my husband. Literally, I was crying and crying because I could not imagine an end. I feel all the time like an elephant is sitting on my chest. The cough takes over my entire body when it comes. My legs shake and spasm, my arms go rigid, my head throbs with the pressure and my neck muscles spasm also. It's very similar to vomiting, actually, except dry heaving every 10 or 15 minutes all day, feeling like you are suffocating while it's happening. The classic "whoop" is caused by a tightening of the airways surrounding the larynx, so when you try to pull in air between hacking breaths, all you get is a tiny little sucking with a whoop. It feels like drowning. The air won't move either direction.

Everyone is a little better now. It's two steps forward and one step back. Just when I think a certain child has gotten past the worst, they will start waking at night with it again.

This is very similar to what I sound like, except this sample happens to be a man. But the cough sounds familiar around here! I go through 8-10 Poise pads per day because most of the worst coughing fits cause me to pee my pants completely.

This is almost enough to make me consider vaccinating this next child against it, but then again, two of my 5 that got it were fully vaccinated, as was I as a child, so unless I was going to do boosters every 5-8 years (NOT) then what would be the point? The Pertussis vaccine is notoriously one of the less effective vaccines, with Pertussis making the rounds every three to four years pretty much no matter what. The biggest danger and risk is to infants under a year old, which I would not vaccinate anyway.

What I am greatful for, though, is that God, in His Providence has scheduled no births for me until mid-September, and no clients of mine are due until the end of November. This means that while I have missed teaching a childbirth class, and I have to cancel some prenatals, I am not on call and won't be until I am well again.

I am also very, very greatful that I have this now, at 10 weeks of pregnancy, when I am not terribly concerned about abrupting the placenta with the pressure and the contagion will be long gone before my baby is born. I am also not in great danger at this point of the coughing fits causing a preterm labor.

So, while this disease is HELL, it couldn't have come at a better time! Oh, and our ice machine went out in our fridge too, so the ice water I am craving, that helps my throat, is not a possibility. Also thankfully, I have a wonderful, wonderful hubby who has been running around for me (he is one of two that did not get it. My 11 year old daughter didn't either -- and she wasn't even fully vaccinated). He really has been taking good care of me.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Ok, so this is my second time commenting....can you tell I like your blog? :)

So whooping cough is misery, but is it worth the vaccine? My thought is no, and so I didn't vaccinate my kids against it. I mean, I'm home to care for my kids, can't I just nurse them through it if it comes? Why vaccinate, with other possible problems from that, when you can just live through it (albeit miserably), and get your own antibodies?

Am I crazy for thinking this way? It just seems like they want us to vaccinate for so much that's just not necessary in the long run. Chicken pox???? Are they nuts? We used to play with our friends on PURPOSE so we could GET IT!

Polio, smallpox, deadly stuff sound logical to me. But chicken pox, pertussis, rubella? We're talking normal life here. Next, they're gonna have us vaccinating for hangnails!