Saturday, April 14, 2007

What the heck is Pertussis?

I met with a specialist yesterday - a pulmonologist - and the verdict is Pertussis with bronchitis. I had never heard of Pertussis, but I knew it didn't sound good. Turns out it is the adult version of Whooping Cough. So we are back to that now. I should be past the point of being contagious now, but the specialist and my primary doctor have decided I am not to be working at all for at least the next two to three weeks. I am taking a new stack o' medicines - inhalers, antibiotics, cough suppressants, and steroids. Other than that, the treatment is to rest and not do anything physically stressful. Failure to let my body recover and heal might mean full-blown pneumonia, and that is something I can do without, thank you very much.

Now, about that Pertussis...

What Is Pertussis or Whooping Cough?
  • Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious disease marked by severe coughing. It is named after the "whoop" sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell.
What are the Symptoms?
  • Whooping cough usually starts with cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever, and a mild cough. These symptoms can last up to 2 weeks and are followed by increasingly severe coughing spells. Fever, if present, is usually mild.

  • During a classic coughing spell:
    - signature "whoop" is heard as the patient struggles to breathe
    - coughs usually produce a thick, productive mucus
    - vomiting may occur
    - lips and nails may turn blue due to lack of oxygen
    - patient is left exhausted after the coughing spell

  • Mild pertussis disease is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of a cold. Usually a prolonged cough is present, but without the "whoop.”

  • Milder symptoms usually affect all age groups, but are increasing among school children.

  • The coughing attacks may last for many months in the "classic illness" or just a few days in the mild form of the disease. The Chinese refer to whooping cough as the “cough of 100 days.”

  • Symptoms appear between 6 to 21 days (average 7-10) after exposure to the bacteria.
More information here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And the latest health update...

I am no longer out of work half days. I am now out completely. Apparently, my boss and co-workers grew tired of the "come on in, hack and cough for a few hours a day" plan. Can you blame them?

After yet another visit to the doctor and a third round of drugs, I seem no closer to knowing what is going on. It's incredibly frustrating. I have an appointment with a pulmonologist tomorrow and a CT chest scan for scheduled for next week. At this point, I am stuck at home, resting full time and waiting for direction from the specialist on what next.

This is driving me crazy. My head hurts all the time from coughing so much, I cannot get a good night's sleep, and I'm sick of taking three and four different meds each day.

I want this to go away. Damn it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Realization

I'm not riding the AIDS Ride in June. I just can't do it. I have been down for more than a month with this stupid cough, and the doctor is telling me not to expect it to go away any time in the immediate future. So even best case scenario, I am not back on my bike and training until May. That gives me a month to complete the fundraising and get physically ready to ride. I just can't do it.

This sucks.

Another update...

Okay, folks, here is the latest update from the doctor as of Tuesday afternoon:

I do not have pneumonia. That’s a good thing. My chest is still congested and he does not know why. That is not a good thing. He has prescribed yet another antibiotic, a steroid, and two inhalers, and I have an appointment to see him again on Friday.

I asked him directly, “am I contagious and is going to work making it worse?” He said he could not say with certainty at this time that I am not contagious and that it’s my call about coming in at all, but his recommendation is to stay home and rest.

So, I am in for a bit this morning, then heading back home and going to bed. I am starting to freak out about this.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

And yep, still sick.

Back and forth to the doctor, and over a week later I am still sick. My doc is now concerned that I may have Whooping Cough. It's crazy. All I want to do is sleep, lay around, anything to keep from moving. That makes me cough and my head hurt. Ugh. I'm miserable right now.


Coolest Puppy Pic

Our friend Sook Jin took this picture of the puppies, and we love it. They look like little prisoners.