Friday, September 30, 2011
Sounding the alarm
So, what are the chances of my family contracting an uncommon disease within months of me writing a book about uncommon diseases? Apparently, pretty good. The results are in and we do, indeed, have Pertussis - commonly known as Whooping Cough.
Truthfully, I have thought for some time that we had become complacent with our own health and medical knowledge, relying greatly on the modern medical practices and expertise of our doctors and other health care providers. We just assume that the doctors know what they are doing and we can just go get a pill. Ultimately, that may not be the case.
I took Miss Calamity and Master Calvin to a clinic in our home town on Monday, after a reasonably frightful Sunday night. After describing, in detail, the symptoms our family was experiencing, with emphasis on the aggressive cough culminating in throwing up, I was told that we all had sinus infections. Really. After repeatedly asking for a Pertussis swab to be performed on Miss Calamity, I was told that the doctor was too busy and it would be a couple of hours before we could be seen for the swab. And, besides, It wasn't Pertussis, it was a sinus infection.
Two more harrowing days of trying to cough up our lungs (yes, I did succumb to the disease), I called our family doctor (who practices in a town about 1/2 hour away) who immediately suspected Whooping Cough. She asked me to bring one child in to be tested while she prescribed antibiotics for our entire family.
While chatting with our doctor, she told me that they have seen over 20 Pertussis cases within the last month. It seems to be infecting both those that have been immunized (even recently) and those who have not been immunized. I don't know the reasons for this, but I have to wonder, if Pertussis, like so many other bacteria and viruses, has found a way to skirt our immunizations.
This is just another wake up call. We MUST know how to identify illnesses and care for our loved ones. The diseases that we believe to be eradicated may, in fact, just be dormant, waiting to resurface. And we are ill prepared. Doctors have not dealt with Whooping Cough. It is not within their scope of reference. The old ways of dealing with this disease have been lost. What happens when we start seeing Typhus, Typhoid and the Black Plague?
Our family was fortunate to be able to secure the proper antibiotics to lessen the severity of the Whooping Cough, but no matter what, we can't cure it. By the grace of God, no one in our house is in an age group that is particularly vulnerable to the lethal complications of Pertussis, but people that we have come into contact with may very well be quite vulnerable.
I would encourage every one of you to consider disease as a very real potential threat to yourself and your loved ones. Arm yourself with knowledge, medicine and solid reference materials. Be prepared!
In case any of you are wondering, our family is being treated with Azithromycin (Substituted for Zithromax) 250 mg tablets. We took two tablets on the first day (at the same time) and one tablet a day for the next four days. The children had a liquid equivalent. As I said, the antibiotics don't cure Pertussis, but they do reduce the severity of the coughing and they make you non-contagious 5 days after you have begun taking them.
DISCLAIMER: It is not our intention to personally test each disease mentioned in my book. You may be required to test some of the diseases yourselves!!!