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!!!


  1. Praise the Lord you're family is on the mend. I happened to just order your book when your outbreak occurred. When you announced that it might be Pertussis. I thought, ' good timing for such an important book. " May you all heal quickly and with no lasting issues. - your sister in Christ.

  2. Did you ever get the TDAP vaccine prior to this?
    "The DTaP vaccine is 95% effective in preventing all three diseases that it immunizes against—diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. It is 59-89% effective in preventing pertussis, while the protection rates for diphtheria and tetanus are higher. Pertussis occasionally occurs in children who have received the pertussis immunization, but it is less severe and has fewer complications."

  3. Enola,
    What a very untimely and frustrating dilemma you have experienced with this particular obstinate physician. I hope you made no payment to this person, for this poor treatment.
    Doctors, like in any profession, are NOT equal in their clinical experiences. Much depends on the client demographics that actually present themselves to them during residency training, and the geographical areas and weather means, of patient populations also greatly affects the majority of diagnoses that they individually are assigned or presented to care for, in their limited 3 year Internal Medicine or Family Practice clinical rotations. These same experience considerations are even more factually evident when a "Doctor" is trained in one country with totally different demographics and diseases and then relocates and practices in another country. These are pertinent, crucial questions that you really want and need to ask of the MD's experience level, before you chose them for your medical care practitioner. Especially if you have open options to chose a MD or DO, for yourself, and not one appointed by a managed care assignment by a total stranger to your family, who becomes that trusted healthcare partner for you and your loved ones.

    I thank God that you have the wisdom, knowledge and intuition to persevere onward, even while you are ill as well, to contact another Doctor who has a good knowledge base of Pertussis and also an empathetic listening bedside manner, and have obtained the medication required to safeguard this uncomfortable disease from causing further secondary complications to your family's health, and also to prevent and protect it's spread to the public.

    My prayers continue streaming for this miserable malady to leave your family in God's Speed!


  4. I remember having whooping cough, chicken pox, mumps, measles, and german measles when I was a kid. We lived in a small town and when one got it, all the other kids got it. The only people who had a real problem were the adult men who got them. Good luck to you and the family, out of all of them I think whooping cough was the worst.

  5. Notutopia;
    I truly hope I didn't give the impression that I don't think highly of doctors and other medical professionals. They are truly a gift from God. My only point was that we need to be actively involved with our own health. We need to be informed and prepared to care for ourselves and our own. Please accept my humble apologies if I gave any other impression!

  6. i am so glad that you got a second opinion..however, if i had been in your shoes i would have stayed in that first drs. office for the several hours to be tested...mostly because i am a very stubborn hard headed woman and all drs., old and young ones go to the same medical schools and learn the same stuff before they decide to specialize. i had a wonderful gp who told me just that when i had complained of the bedside manner/attitude of my cardiologist. a dr. takes an oath to "do no harm"..and sending someone away without proper attention is doing harm to the patient as well as to the general public. stand your ground enola, and get better soon.

  7. Im starting to get reports of people in other states getting sick, could be nothing.
    I will however start checking online reports of outbreaks of any type of sickness to see if there is a trend.

  8. Anonymous;
    I understand. I probably would have stayed, however, I had two very sick children and a slew of sick people at home to care for. I couldn't wait for the doctor to make his way back to us. Besides, I was more than a little irate - and I was pretty sure I wouldn't have been the model of Christian charity.

  9. Much the opposite, I Absolutely agree with you Enola!
    We as individuals, must stay as informed as possible and prepare ourselves and our families to meet ANY medical issue that occurs with a level of basic knowledge and competence. This one area of preparedness, if neglected, will have dire consequences and will be a major factor in escalating the mortality and morbidity rates in a TEOTWAWKI event, especially one that would negatively impact the power grid system for an extended period of down time. Communicable diseases and infectious dysentery will be rampant without the availability of clean potable water for drinking, cooking, and for hygiene requirements, or for maintaining refrigeration to prevent the spoiling of foods, causing botulism and severe gastrointestinal infections and parasites.

    Your book is wonderful and I consider it to be invaluable to include in preparing as a medical primer on uncommon disease diagnosis and treatments, as today's modern medical texts, and newer Doctors, have little experience in handling or treating a world of 18th century illnesses without the availability of computer libraries, modern technology radiology, automatic laboratories, culture ovens, or admixtures of vast classes of pharmaco-therapeutics at their fingertips.

    God help us all if that protracted grid down event ever becomes reality.


  10. What is it about the change in weather? That seems to be the start of it all. Remember to wipe down all hard surfaces and wash hands often. I learn working at an airline flight kitchen to wear gloves and wash often. It may not kill all gems but can slow down the spread. Everytime we go to the store I get a wet wipe and wipe down the handle on the cart.

  11. I'm so sorry to hear that you all have whooping cough. Your posts have been bringing back memories of a very hard 6 weeks for our family. We had a 1 & 3 year old with a full-blown case and 2 older children (7 & 9) with a mild case (they had been vaccinated). The younger 2 (without antibiotics) had the full 6 weeks of whooping cough, but only threw up at night for 2 weeks. The older 2 didn't throw up, but couldn't sleep without sitting up at night. Thankfully, my husband and I didn't catch it - can't even imagine how hard that would be!

    We live in an area with lots of Mennonite and Amish, many of whom are friends, so there's always things like whooping cough, mumps and MRSA going around. We still have 2 that have not had whooping cough and 5 that have not had mumps (now there's something to look forward to! ;-)

    I will be praying for you and your family. Before long, you will look up and notice that there seems to be more and more actual sleeping going on at night. I can still remember the first full night of sleep for the children. (It took me a little longer to get used to the idea that everyone didn't need checking on;-)

    Have a blessed day,

    Cindy C

  12. Oh Enola,
    I have been praying for you and your family. The night after your first "sick" post, I awoke in the middle of the night thinking "Pertussis". At first, I was thinking, "What?" then I remember you guys. I am glad you are getting better and found a doctor who would listen. I wonder how many cases of "uncommon" diseases are missed, and have been missed, every year because of lack of training in these diseases and the assumption that all is well because of vaccinations.
    About 24 years ago when I was working with an older veterinarian, we had a cat come in with multiple abcesses. Everyone assumed bite wounds, suddenly the Doc told everyone to wash up well and put on gloves and masks. He was think bubonic plague. A lab test was sent out and it was confirmed. I immediately called my physician and he called back a couple of hours later with a prescription (doxycycline) and a thank you for giving him a chance to study something new and learn! He had been practicing for many years already at this time.
    Thank you also for the heads up that it is in the area. We will be even more careful than normal. I believe that is semper vigilatus? Ever vigilant.
    God Bless you all.

  13. Prayers for you and yours for speedy recoveries. I rarely comment but read your posts as soon as a new one comes up, so I'll take this opportunity to say Thank You for this blog.

  14. I had it 2.5 years ago along with my youngest daughter. Here are valuable things I learned:
    1. Relaxation is VERY important. I slept for days sitting on the couch with a vaporizer aimed at my face with lavender oil in it. My kids learned that when I started coughing, if they came to rub my back, it triggered my memory to calm down. If I couldn't inhale (as was often the case), I would do the physical movements of a sigh. That triggered my muscle memory to cause my throat to relax so I could take in some air.

    2. Whooping cough re-programs your brain. For months after, when I got a cough of any kind or a popcorn kernel stuck in my throat, my brain thought I was supposed to have a coughing attack again. It took my youngest about 6 months to program her brain back and took my about 18 months.

    I hope you recover very quickly. I, too, had problems getting tested. Even then, they didn't test us until after the antibiotic which leads to a false negative test.

  15. If there's a silver lining to this, you are all now immune to catching this again. But I'd be terribly angry at that first Doc. Pertussis is a killer. Tiny children, old people, and those with other respiratory problems die of it more often than not. This is a public danger and is one of those diseases the CDC REQUIRES reporting. Any old dolt should be able to tell that a clogging, gasping cough is not a sinus anything! Call that clinic and say so, call the health department and report them!! Some sweet tiny child's life may depend on it.

  16. I'm so sorry that y'all are all so sick. Prepare yourself for a long time of quarantine.

    Doctors who diagnose pertussis are required by the government to then report the pertussis to the Health Department. That requires time and red tape, which most prefer to not get into if they don't have to. And the way they don't have to is to not diagnose it as pertussis.

    And if the sick one has been immunized, then few will diagnose it and report it as that disease as they can't possibly have it. But, the truth is that immunized people DO get the diseases they were immunized against more often than we know because they automatically go undiagnosed as such.

    I had a doctor tell me that since *I* asked if it was pertussis, they had to diagnose it correctly and they had to report it to the Health Department. Had *I* not used the word pertussis, they would have treated it as pertussis but they would not have documented it as such because of the governmental red tape they become embroiled in when they give that diagnosis.

    That proved that one cannot trust the numbers that we are given regarding the efficacy of immunizations and the amount of disease that is out there. The numbers aren't accurate because the diagnosing is not honest and thus the reporting is skewed.

  17. I'm glad you are all recovering. My whole family (vaccinated and unvaccinated) had pertussis almost 13 yrs ago. My son was 2 wks old when he contracted it. It was the most awful experience of my life. We literally sat up all night watching him cough til he turned blue and stopped breathing. Prayed and cried all night. The Lord is good and he survived. One of my children was exposed about 7 yrs ago and the doctor really gave me a hard time. Wouldn't treat it, so I had to wait til I got home and that child infected the rest of them, had to call the health dept, and then he finally treated it. He just refused to believe it was pertussis, even though the children who had it first were tested and confirmed! So absurd that they have such a hard time admitting it's pertussis.

    My personal opinion (whether right or not :) is that the outbreaks of pertussis we're seeing right now is because of the push for everyone to get the vaccine and the masses blindly following orders. Then spreading it while they're contagious from the vaccine. I know where we are it's being pushed everywhere...stores, dr's offices and it's "mandatory" for schools.

    I'm so glad most of us have had it and are immune to it already!

  18. Enola,
    I think the blogger has eaten my last comment, if you did get it, please delete this one.

    Two meds have really helped me when I've had rib-cracking bronchitis: guafenesin and tessalon perles. The first is non-prescription -- either short-acting generic or Mucinex, which is longer acting. Taken with generous amounts of liquid, it really thins and loosens secretions so they can come up more easily - you'll feel the difference within about an hour. The tessalon (discuss w/MD --prescription needed) supresses the deep coughing fits that wear you out. Especially if used at night, the combination will allow you all to get some sleep. The tessalon should be taken with the Guai/Mucinex, but the latter can be taken alone as well. Taking the tessalon alone can reduce clearing the stuff from your lungs.

    The 'opinion' about vaccines spreading the disease has no basis in fact. It has been many years since the pertusis vaccine has used dead bacterial cells, much less live ones. Pertusis had been eradicated in the US until we all got complacent about the vaccines, MD's couldn't be bothered by the red tape to report resurgence, international travel became fast and easy so the organism travelled with tourists and immigrants (legal or not)and MD's lost the ability to diagnose the symptoms, so people with 'sinus infections' were free to roam public places and infect others. I got my TDaP booster in June and neither my work-mates nor anyone in my family got any of the diseases -- there is no organism in the vaccine for us to transmit.

    Enola, I pray for you and your family's safe and rapid recovery. I am saddened that you are experiencing this and the ordeal you endured to get real help. Big hugs and PLEASE let us (your devoted followers) know if you need anything. Let us help.

  19. So sorry that you all have had to go through this, but thank you so much for sharing because it is with info like you provide that the rest of us can now be on the lookout, be proactive and have a plan. Your trial is serving to be a warning light for the rest of us. Bless you and your family.

  20. Unfortunately, I think we can expect more cases of pertussis coming up. An initial medical study is suggesting that the effectiveness of the pertussis portion of the DTaP vaccination fades after only THREE years. Hopefully doctors are keeping up on current information since relying too much on the "it can't be whooping cough if you're vaccinated" looks to be unreliable.

  21. Am I the only one who thought your Disclaimer was a hoot? I guess I have a sick sense of humor (please pardon the pun).

    Mumps is on the comeback around here. It never truly disappeared, but it was a seldom-seen disease for many years. For those who don't know, mumps can make a man impotent. It can be very hard on adults, so please be apprised that diseases are never fully gone, just hiding somewhere and waiting for the right environment in order to make a return. I fear smallpox may reappear someday soon.

    NoCal Gal

  22. Excuse me, Anonymous 3:56PM-- you have your terms mixed up. Mumps can make a male INFERTILE (unable to produce viable sperm), because the virus settles in and damages glands. Most often in the neck or groin, and the testicles are glands.

    Impotent means he is unable to achieve an erection and perform coitus (the sex act). Mumps does not cause this even if it does make him infertile.

    Just think it's scientifically sound for everyone to know how their parts work, whether it's their ears or their privates.

  23. The vaccine is not a perfect protection. It's strength is that if everyone is vaccinated the disease cannot spread because not enough vaccinated but still susceptable hosts encounter the virus. This is because everyone was vaccinated and thus they don't carry the virus. However if enough people in the population do not take the vaccine when they get ill they become carriers (typhoid Marys) and transmit the virus to anyone they encounter. YOU and your family have become the victim of a fad, based on misinformation, to shun vaccinations. If that wasn't bad enough you have the added factor of our government not controlling illegal immigration. Typically an illegal immigrant is not fully up to date on thier vaccination schedule and also often enters this country carrying a disease. So the double whammy of these two realities has put you and yours at great risk. But it is just the beginning, the list of diseases making a comeback is growing. Would you believe leprosy is making a comeback???

  24. Anonymous 7:52, I am not Anonymous, I am NoCal Gal and have been for quite some time. ;)

    As to the difference between impotence and infertility, thanks for the education. Since I have experienced neither, I defer to your personal knowledge of them.

    Whether infertile or impotent, the message is the same - adult men should avoid mumps like the plague. That was all I was trying to convey. I'll leave the details to others, henceforth.

    NoCal Gal

  25. NoCal Gal;
    Thank you for mentioning my disclaimer! I just didn't want people to think that I would be personally trying every disease.

    You're right about the mumps. I knew what you were talking about (as did most other people, I am sure!). I too am corrected quite regularly. Stiff upper lip and all that!