Saturday, March 5, 2011

One of...

21,000… or 33? So which one sounds better to you.. One of 21,000 or one of 33?

I’ll let you decide after I tell my story. It all started back on July 5, 2010. There was a virus/cold/flu, that was going around my office. I began to feel it on July 5th. After a few days, I started a cough. The cough went from a tickle in my throat at 6:30 AM… to not being able to stop coughing by noon. Needless to say, I was sent home from work to go to Med Express (Urgent care). So I go. Someone mentions that if I was 3 years old I would have croup. However, they diagnosed me with Bronchitis and gave me a breathing treatment, antibiotics, steroids, and an inhaler and sent me on my way.

While on the Z-pack I began to feel some relief. However, you know how they always say that it works after you stop taking it? Not this case. So I give it a few extra days and I go back to Med Express where they proceed to give me more steroids and a different inhaler. Now at this point I have one of the hardest, worst coughs ever. I was sent home from work a lot due to my co-workers not being able to handle the sound of my cough. Some even mentioned that it hurt for them to even hear it. So now we are about the end of July. I’m still coughing, but I had bronchitis and it takes a while to get over. I get back to Jazzercise and I plow through. So August and September come and go… Cough is there. I notice there are certain ‘triggers’ and I just stay away from those.

Then October comes. I’m not sure what was special about October, but October was a horrid month for me. I finally call my primary care physician to follow up on this cough. The cough is so bad now I’m tasting blood AND cracking a rib is a legitimate concern. When my doctor, who I just love, walks in. He giggles because he did not expect to see such a small female make such a loud, horse, cough. Awesome. So he asks some questions, does doctor-y things. Then disappears. About 15 minutes later comes back and says that he did some research because he wanted to confirm, but unless I had a dog in the corner barking, I had Whooping Cough (AKA The Whoop). Now. I laughed. Like Really? WHOOPING COUGH?! It’s 2010. Are you kidding me. So he gives me other antibiotics and more steroids and another inhaler, and cough medicine! I was also sent to a lung doctor, and an allegorist. from November - January. It was confirmed in December via a blood test that I did have ‘The Whoop.’

Now it’s the beginning of March. I have developed asthma as a natural response to ‘The Whoop’ and after 9 months am FINALLY starting to get back to my life without coughing. February 11th, I thought I was getting a cold.. Within 36 hours it had developed into bronchitis which has knocked me on my bum. This was the first week since then I’ve seen the gym. I did a body sculpting class via Jazzercise and I did a Yoga class. For a few more months I am going to have to be cautious around people that are sick, due to my weakened immune system and weak lungs. (Now I thought because I’ve been coughing for, ya know, 8 months my lungs should be made of steel. However, apparently that doesn’t make them stronger. Fail.)

So what’s the point of this? The CDC reported that during 2010 there were 21,000 people diagnosed with Whooping Cough in the United States. In Allegheny County, there were 33. Yiippe!!! Probably some of the best odds of my life, but for a crappy situation.

So here’s my Public Service Announcement. If you get the opportunity to get a booster. Take it. The Whooping Cough vaccine you get as a child only lasts for 5 years, but because everyone got it, it wasn’t a problem. Now that parents are getting their kids vaccinated, the Whooping Cough is making a come back. Take it from me, you do not want this. I am still unable to breathe deeply repetitively without coughing. I’m really glad a co-worker encouraged me to do Yoga, because it’s teaching me to breathe again. My body decided since if I breathed deeply I would cough, that it just wouldn’t do that. I’ve also been on a daily inhaler since, I dunno, October. And the doctors are hopefully that as soon as my body realizes that ‘The Whoop’ is gone, I will stop having asthma symptoms. I cannot repeat this enough, get the vaccine! Get it! Because this has been such a production. Such a fight. Such a struggle. And just all around frustrating.

At last count since July:

I was on steroids 6 times.
I was on 5 rounds of antibiotics.
I have 10 inhalers at my house (I still have prescriptions that need filled).
I have 2 more bottles of cough syrup

Here’s hoping to me finally kicking ‘The Whoop.’

So what’s better. One of 21,000 or one of 33? Hmmmmmm.

Take it easy.

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