Monday, October 10, 2011

Tea, Whooping Cough and Toast Soldiers

After a night of coughing, broken sleep and restless children, tea is what gets us up in the morning.   The promise of a cup of hot, soothing tea pries the exhaustion from our sleep deprived bodies and encourages us to gather, one by one, in the welcoming confines of our little kitchen.  As each person filters in, we learn how they and their Pertussis are fairing.  So far the results are mixed.

Master Calvin, Princess Dragon Snack and Master Hand Grenade are doing remarkably well.  Each still suffers fairly regularly from spasmodic coughing fits, but they deal with them very well and seem to have no other ill effects.

Maid Elizabeth has remained perfectly healthy and my case of Pertussis has been extraordinarily mild.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am that we have been spared.  It has allowed both of us to care for the rest of the family, providing nutritious meals and physical and emotional support.

Miss Calamity and Sir Knight have fared far worse than the rest.  Miss Calamity regularly has coughing fits that are difficult to recover from.  We have begun hearing crackling in her lungs indicating the early stages of pneumonia.  She has a hard time taking deep breaths (although we encourage her to breath as deeply as she is able because deep breathing discourages pneumonia).

Sir Knight has had serious complications of Whooping Cough.  After spending an excruciating weekend, we finally sought medical help yesterday and learned that Sir Knight had developed pneumonia in his right lung and had fractured two ribs from coughing so hard.  Now, on top of coughing horribly, he has been enduring I.V. antibiotics and pain medication to lessen the effect of broken ribs.  Are we having fun yet?

Getting ready to flush Sir Knight's catheter
Cleaning the port
Opening the gate
Beginning the flush
Because of the upheaval in our home, we have simplified our day to day routine.  Our meals have become very simple - chicken soup, fresh bread, grilled sandwiches.  We also have brought out the fine china - paper plates.  While I detest paper plates, bowls and cups (they aren't the least bit romantic), they have a place in a sickhouse.  Maid Elizabeth and I have our hands full keeping up with 5 sick people, so not having to do dishes very often is a tremendous blessing.

Being sick is hard on little ones.  They are not hungry and their little tummies don't need anything heavy, so we rely on tried and true favorites to coax an appetite.  So far, everyone's favorite afternoon tea repast is toast soldiers.  It is light, filling and perfect with tea.  Toast soldiers are simply toast, with the crusts removed, buttered, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and cut into four rectangles.

Toast Soldiers and Tea
As we journey through Whooping Cough, we are learning to care for one another.  We are learning to be patient, encouraging and full of grace.  Being sick is no fun, but most often when things are at their worst, our character is being shaped and molded.  What looks like a lump of coal is really being turned into a diamond.


  1. Sorry you and your family are still sick, and now with some having complications. I will continue to pray for all of you. Thank you for the update.

    NoCal Gal

  2. Poor Sir Knight! My dad cracked ribs coughing when I was a teen...I have no idea why men cough so hard! I hope you and the Miss are taking elderberry to keep your immune system strong through this!

  3. I think this is what I needed to read today. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I'm in the last few weeks of pregnancy right now, and I'm not doing as well as I have in previous pregnancies, and have needed the kids to pitch in more. It's a hard thing to have Mama down. On top of that, Hubby just threw his back out and the kids are starting to cough. I told a friend a few days ago that trials are an opportunity for character development. I'm trying to keep that in mind, but it's been hard. I'm glad I had this to read this morning.

    May God bless you as your family heals!

  4. NoCal Gal;
    Thank you for your prayers. We rely on them!

    Gracie Wray;
    I will be praying that God give you the grace to go into labor joyfully and full of strength. Those last few weeks can be so exhausting all by themselves - sick children and an out of commission husband added can be overwhelming. Even though you are not able to be all, God is. Give yourself permission to be human. Rest, drink lots of liquids and eat chocolate (gives baby and endorphin bath!) and know that these trials are but a blink of the eye. I'll be praying.


  5. It seems your crew is recovering pretty fast,based on what I've read about whooping cough(though I'm sure it doesn't seem that way to you) . And you guys eat good!-I'd never heard of "toast soldiers" before- I'm used to food that's had its molecules shaken up with radio waves in the 1.4 Ghz range...

  6. Have you looked into Vitamin C saturation treatments for whooping cough? It is apparently VERY effective against pertussis in megadoses.

  7. Enola,
    thank you for the update on yours and the family members prognoses.

    Sir Knight, both you and Miss Calamity are in such capable hands! Thank God you married a strong, Proverbs 31, Titus 2, superwoman and queenly mother of your children!

    My prayers continue for all of you to continue to progress in a more painfree recovery to complete wellness.

    God Bless you Enola, and all of your household.


  8. it is odd sometimes how illness can pick out the weakest of our family, and sometimes the strongest too..i really do feel for the cracked ribs from is an awful experience and just adds to the misery of being ill. i pray for all of you to continue your recoveries and get well soon.

  9. Many prayers for continued recovery for you and your sweet family.

  10. Oh no, cracked ribs are horrible.. lucky for him he has a loving family who will take care of him....I am glad most of you are doing well. I pray for a speedy recovery for your family, this way things can get done by the children while dad is recovering, especially since winter is approaching...

  11. Hi Enola,
    We will continue to pray for your family. We will ask for extra strength for you and Maid Elizabeth, also.

    We so enjoy your blog and following your family. We have been wanting to order your book, but will wait until you are all well. Nothing worse than adding more to your plate when you have your hands full already.

    Oh my, I just realized that I am assuming you personally mail them and I guess I should ask if that is the case?

    Many Blessings to you and your family.

  12. Hi Enola, I feel for you in this time and pray that Father gives you all strength and healing. I think I did the same as your husband, a few months ago, from the coughing. It is painful. I look forward to meeting you sometime soon. We live out of St. Maries 6 miles.


  13. Have had this. Fought it off for some of us and stopped it for others by cutting and pounding raw garlic (you must do this to activate the enzyme) and mixing that into raw honey. Took spoonfulls of this alternated with raw honey, small amount of coconut oil (kills anything.bad on about it amazing...not too much or stomach upset) mixed with high doses of vitamin c(ascorbic acid) and raw honey. We would all liketo know how you are treating this when it is over. Also, from what I have read you might want togive your husband comfrey to heal ribs. Tons of vitamin c works wonders

  14. I am a retired Board Certified N.D. and have a Master Herbalist Degree. I thought I would expound a bit on the mention of Comfrey, which is a wonderful herb.

    Comfrey (knitbone), traditionally, was used internally and externally to heal sprains and broken bones. Recent studies, on ingesting Comfrey root decoction, extraction, or infusion, have found allantoin to affect DNA and, therefore, possibly be carcinogenic. The plant root, also, possesses alkaloids that have been found to damage the liver.

    Traditionally, Comfrey poultices have been found to heal broken bones and were used to treat skeletal fractures in humans and animals. The aerial parts of the plant, such as the leaves, when ingested, have not been found to cause damage to date.

    Comfrey is easy to grow and quite beautiful. We live in a very cold climate and it grows abundantly here. The main problem is to keep it from taking over the garden area :).

    Blessings to you and your family, Enola. We will continue in prayer for you.

  15. Save the Canning JarsDecember 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    I remembered reading this a few months ago and went searching for it for a bit of encouragement to myself. I am on day 8 of the coughing crud.

    Spoke with the Dr. who is not yet back from Christmas break and she called out antibiotics, steroids, cough suppressant. Your book helped me to identify what I think I guessed it...whooping cough! I told her all my symptoms then asked if she has seen any cases of it, or does she think I really have the flu. She says our county has no cases of the flu but we are third in our state for whooping cough! I never would have put it together if it were not for your blog and book. Thank you!

    The coughing fits are unbelievable and at their worst between 11 pm and 7 am. To get even one minute of sleep would be a dream. The force of the cough causes me to see flashes of light, which is not good as I have a history of the vitrious (jelly like lining of the eye) detaching and causing floating garbage in the eyes. Could tear deeper into the retina so must get this awful coughing under control.

    Girl, you help more people than you will ever know!