Ever since I was a little girl, my parents have had a rule. When you are sick, you are SICK! You have no privileges beyond keeping your behind on the couch or in bed. It’s the same rule in the Navy (minus the couch)- and well considering so much of my family revolved around the military I guess it was an adoptable no brainer.
Since I came home from visiting Popeye in California, I have been sick. The 3 days after I got home all I could do was remain in bed. I forced myself to go to work that Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I honestly can say it wasn’t the smartest choice in the world because again I was sick.
After work that Friday, I went into Urgent Care to find out what was wrong. At first the diagnosis was that I had picked up a virus from the plane. I was given a steroid to help with the swelling in my throat and was given precautionary antibiotics (yes- antibiotics for a virus??? doesn’t make sense). The steroids helped my throat, but the 500 ml antibiotics were too large to get down. I tried though! With the medication and going to bed early, I made it through that work week.
My three day weekend began on Tuesday. I had plans to accomplish various projects that were started and not complete around the apartment. Upon waking, I found that accomplishing anything was more of a chore than I could handle. I remained in bed thinking a little rest would take care of it. Wednesday and Thursday yielded the same results as Tuesday. I couldn’t get out of bed. (well, not exactly true. I still could take our puppy outside for him to do his business. I microwaved myself chicken soup, and I bounced between resting in bed and spending long periods locked in the bathroom under a super hot shower/ bath to help my breathing) I surrendered my “weekend”.
Thursday evening was different though. I had a cough prior to Thursday but around 2200 the coughing started and it did not let up. It was so violent that I lost the contents of my stomach twice. By 0300 on Friday, I knew I would not be making it to work. I called in to work and let them know I would be going to the Dr. It’s a call I hated to make because it would be recorded as my 4th sick episode. I would get a write up. I had to accept the consequence.
After speaking to my boss, I proceeded to look up Urgent Care hours. They started at noon. I agonized over the decision of waiting until Urgent Care opened or heading to the ER at 0300. The ER won. The couch was so violent that it was hurting my throat and my ribs. I was having problems catching my breath. No to mention it had not let up for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time since 2200 the night before.
I was embarrassed when I entered the ER. My symptoms were not an emergency per say but they did warrant medical attention. The ER doctor was sympathetic. He was concerned with my breathing and wanted to make sure I had not develop pneumonia. He ordered chest x-rays, put me on a nebulizer and started me on a course of stronger anti-biotics. His diagnosis was pertussis- whooping cough in laymen’s terms.
I was and yet wasn’t so shocked by his diagnosis. Whooping cough fit well with everything symptom I had. It’s also highly contagious. The area that I live in had been having a sever outbreak of pertussis recently. We have had over 3,000 cases in the south eastern portion of my state already. My case was just one more. But, it should not have been so.
Pertussis is a sickness that is 100% preventable! People are given 3 shots the year they are born, a booster when they are a year and a half, and a second booster when they enter school to vaccinate them. It’s called the DTaP. After that any time a tetanus booster is given (roughly every 10 years) a pertussis booster is incorporated. This is called a Tdap. If people routinely received their basic immunizations, I would not be suffering.
Now I can just hear it- Why didn’t I get my basic immunizations? Would I not be sick? I have all of my immunizations up to date as much as they can be. I however am part of a very rare few who cannot get immunized for pertussis. As a child I was given 1 dose of the DTaP and had a sever negative reaction it. The doctors confirmed that I was allergic to the vaccine and determined that my body would never be able to take the dose needed to become immune.
Therefore, for the second straight day of work I’m being held here in my bed SIQ!