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A Baby Disease Busted My Rib

Ok so remember how I said I had a bad case of bronchitis and then disappeared a couple weeks ago? Well it turns out I did not have bronchitis. I do almost definitely have whooping cough.

Technically the swab results from my seven hour stop off at the ER this past Wednesday

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A rare action shot of an ER patient hoping that the footsteps she hears is someone coming to tell her something useful. Also yes I’m doing hw. French.

haven’t come back yet, but my symptoms are dead on AND there has been a verified case of whooping cough at my school. Add to that my incompetent immune system that doesn’t gain immunity from vacccines annndddd. Boom. You’ve got a twenty-two-year-old with a full-blown case of whooping cough.

From the very first week of school there’s been a bad “cold” going around. I’m thinking that really, most people have had a watered-down case of whooping cough. But luckily for me, other zebras and new-borns, you don’t need to have a full case of whooping cough to give the full-blown thing to someone else.

So what does a full-blown case of whooping cough look like in an adult?

Well first you get a “cold.” It’s really not even that bad of a cold. Then after about a week you start getting a nagging cough. That gets worse for a couple weeks until you find yourself having anywhere from 15-50 coughing fits a day that are so intense you throw up and gasp for air as seemingly infinite amounts of sticky mucus obscure your airways. (In my case the very worst of the attacks only lasted for a little over a week.) Then things get just a little better. Your coughing fits are less frequent. You aren’t choking, gasping and throwing up quite so much when you cough. You stop feeling like you’re going to black out with each coughing fit. That’s where I’m at now. Apparently this bit can last anywhere from 2-10 weeks.

Oh yeah and I forgot to mention–you might cough so hard that you break, bruise or dislocate a rib or so. It freakin hurts, but don’t worry there’s not much they can do about it.

That’s maybe the worst thing about whooping cough–there’s almost nothing that can be done. If caught early enough a course of antibiotics can lessen the severity of the case, but otherwise you basically just have to ride it out.

In China whooping cough is known as the 100 days cough, because it often lasts for three months or longer. So I pulled out my calendar and counted 100 days from the day I got sick. According to Chinese tradition I should be better by December 19th, give or take a few days. I have no idea why I thought that would help. I guess I can start a count down or something. At this point I’m at least a month in so… only 70 more days to go!

This is definitely not how I wanted to start off the semester. Or finish it… But it is what it is. It’s not going to make for the smoothest semester, that’s for sure, but I’ll do my best. And that includes making a sincere effort not to vomit or pass out in class 😉

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We swiped a bunch of the ER vomit bags so we could feel like our trip hadn’t been a total waste. I carry one around everywhere to catch whatever comes up during a coughing fit.

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Doing the nebulizer. This thing is almost as old as I am and it’s still kickin! We call it the Darth Vader machine.

Dermatologist Disappoints; I’m Reminded Why Mom is Banned

About two months ago Hot Doctor did a punch biopsy on a skin lesion on my left hand. A couple weeks later I got the results of the biopsy–inconclusive. So they decided to take the whole thing off. Two weeks ago Hot Doctor cancelled the procedure saying he had decided that it would best for a dermatologist to do it. I waited two weeks to get into the specialist’s and finally yesterday the big day arrived…

Except it was not a big day. It was a stupid day.

Against my better judgement I allowed my mom to accompany me to the procedure because she was worried about me driving myself home afterwards or something. I don’t know. Here’s the problem with that:

  1. She can never completely control herself and let me speak for myself.
  2. I’m super young looking, so when my mom comes to appointments the doctors tend to speak to her over me and just generally fail to treat me like an adult. (If I’m by myself they have to assume that I’m at least eighteen)

 

So perhaps the appointment was doomed from the beginning. But it certainly didn’t improve with the arrival of the dermatologist I’d been waiting two weeks to see. In he walked–neon orange polo, khaki pants, bushy beard and a shiny, bald head–looking as if he just got back from a golf tournament for the color-blind. He wasted no time in establishing respectful communication by complimenting my pretty, bright flower pants as if I were a ten-year-old. Then he furthered this mutual respect by making it obvious how unfamiliar he was with my case, how uninterested he was, and how much of a hurry he was in.

Ultimately we convinced him not to follow through on his initial, extremely helpful impulse to do absolutely nothing. Well actually, no he still did nothing. But he had his nurse do something…another. freakin. biopsy. This time a shave biopsy, in which they just shaved the bump part off the top. The dermatologist theorized that this will make it go away, because everyone knows that if you just cut the top off something and leave the roots it never, ever grows back.

You can probably tell by my tone that I have totally let this go.

The part that I have most easily gotten over is that the dermatologist scared young, inexperienced Hot Doctor into referring me to him instead only to have his nurse do all the actual work. I’m pretty sure Hot Doctor is at least as qualified as a nurse, especially to do just another version of something he already did!

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In the end all I gained from yesterday was another hole in my hand, a firm conviction to never allow my mother to come to any appointment short of surgery ever again (I still love you though mom 😉 ) and a blanket prejudice against all dermatologists. So yeah, big day.