So, remember how I was really sick? I went through all my prescription meds like a good girl and went from “OMG I’m dying!” to “Very Bad Cold” which seemed like a big improvement so I figured I would be better before I knew it.
Except… I didn’t get much better than Very Bad Cold. I finished all my meds and, while I was definitely better than I was, I certainly wasn’t “better” in any conventional use of the word. I was still coughing all the time and having trouble breathing. I was on controlled substance cough medicine and it wasn’t even really putting a dent in the amount I was coughing.
Husband said to give it time, that sometimes coughs linger. I coughed my way through a week or two and finally realized, clearly, I wasn’t getting any better and went back to the doctor.
On the phone with my Mom:
Me: I just got back from the doctor. He thinks I have pertussis.
Mom: I’ve never even heard of that. What is it?
Me: I have no idea. I’m Googling it as we speak… Mom! It’s freaking whooping cough!
Mom: What the hell?!?!
I was vaccinated against the whoop as recently as 2010. Apparently you can still get it. Good times.
One of the first symptoms listed is coughing until you throw up, something I was blissfully unaware was a thing until this fabulous illness came into my life so at least that explains that. The side effects of the whoop are so horrifying, may I add, that the iPad just closed the browser mid-way through my reading them as if to say, “No good can come of you knowing about this. Just walk away.” Of course, as each friend and relative hears what I have and Googles it, I get another frantic call as they read it to me, but I appreciate what the iPad was trying to do.
So they put me on yet more meds. It’s apparently a six week virus so, depending on when I got it, I should be only a week or two away from the end of it. I first got sick around Feb 18th so, surely, the end must finally be in sight.
The only thing is, I don’t feel comfortable being on mind altering drugs for this long so I refused a refill of the cough medicine (especially since they were going to give me something stronger). I’m trying to keep the cough under control with tea, honey and other such non-hardcore drug options but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to hold out. I just cough all the freaking time, though, thankfully, I’m no longer gagging.
That said, take this amusing image with you: We went into NYC to see Newsies on Broadway this past weekend (which was phenomenal, if you get a chance to catch it) and I was terrified of coughing and interrupting the show. So I actually brought the bottle of over the counter cough medicine with me and was taking shots of it, directly from the bottle, every four hours. (Saying to my 14 year old cousin as I did so, “Please don’t ever do this.”) Then, during the show, I just made sure I had a cough drop in my mouth at every possible second. Thankfully, the show was amazing and there were lots of huge moments of applause when I could let loose and cough like a maniac while people were clapping.
It may seem strange to end this post with a PSA to get vaccinated against pertussis since I got it anyway but my husband has NOT gotten it and it’s highly contagious so it should at least improve your odds if you get the shot. If you aren’t sold, let me invite you to Google it and check out the side effects which include things like permanent brain damage, mental retardation and death. That ought to change your mind.