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100 Days!

So this week I have reached approximately 100 days since I contracted Whooping Cough! I was sort of hoping that when I reached the 100th day all symptoms would magically disappear, but unfortunately it’s been a bit more complicated than that. Last week—finals week no less— I caught a bad cold, and as the internet warns, every time you catch a cold for a while after you’ve had Whooping Cough the cold will bring some fun coughing, choking, spitting up, wheezing  remnants of the original Whoop. So it has been 100 days and I’m still choke-coughing. But in between colds it really is getting better. I can’t wait for the day—hopefully not too far off now—that I will be able to stop taking my abuterol everyday, multiple times a day.

Despite the cold I made it through finals alright. I also made it to my parent’s AND to see Star Wars on the same day. I payed for that with a three day migraine though, which is why I didn’t get a post up earlier in the week.

My favorite part of Star Wars was the Porgs and the fact that my fifteen year old brother thought that they were begging for food from Chewbacca… Totally failing to recognize that he was eating one of them. Hahahaha.C316D75E-1D87-43DC-894B-4781729BF23F.gif

In a couple minutes I have to head to a follow-up with my neurologist, because what would Christmas break be without a few doctors appointments? When I get back I will relate the plan that he hopefully has to get my headaches more under control. They are much better than they were (constant), but 3-4 migraines per week is still not really where I’d like to be. And my family still refuses to decapitate me so I must look to more conventional methods of easing head pain.

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Yeah so I didn’t get to this yesterday after the appointment. My doctor was running an hour behind and so by the time I got home it was time for our family evening plans.

Other than the wait the appointment went well. Dr. L is also still not happy with where my migraines are. He decided to keep me on the Prozac at my current dose and add in a new med to the mix—Verapamil. Although the Prozac does help and is amazingly, wonderfully, unbelievably low on side-effects, he is worried that an increase in that would necessitate limiting my use of triptans so as to avoid Serotonin Syndrome. I can’t argue there. So today I will start Verapamil, which is a calcium-channel blocker. I’m definitely anxious, as I am whenever I start a new med (what horrors might it hold for me?!) but I’m also hopeful.

Dr. L has avoided beta and calcium-channel blockers with me so far because they can cause problems in people with asthma. Of the two, I think calcium-channel blockers are lower-risk for asthmatics. Also Dr. L noticed that my heart rate is often high—tis definitely true and I’m not sure why—so Verapamil might help with that too.

Basically Verapamil—like almost every med out there—may hold for me either the key to relief, OR a crap ton of misery.  Thankfully I get the chance to start it while I’m on break, when if things go awry it’s not as big of a hullabaloo.

So on that note… Merry Christmas! And if I don’t write again before 2018- Happy New Year!

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It’ll Pass

One of my favorite book series is Anne of Green Gables. In one of the later books after Anne is married she befriends the old sailor Captain Jim that runs the local lighthouse. Captain Jim is a lovably simple fella, but sometimes he says things deeply profound. One of those quotes, which I am sure I will butcher, has stuck with me and always comes to mind on particularly rough days. He said something along the lines of “Even on those days when I’m hurtin real bad I feel sorta cheerful cus I know sooner or later it’ll pass.”

Sooner or later it’ll pass.

Captain Jim would know–he weathered plenty of storms in his time as a sailor.

So far in my life I’ve always found this to be true. All the pain I’ve felt–migraines, broken bones, surgeries, sprains, strains, infections, gallbladder attacks, unbearable cramps, gastroparesis, depression–no matter what the pain or the cause of it, always it has passed.

Sometimes in the moment of extreme pain you can’t imagine it ever will. It seems it will last forever–that there never has been and never will be anything except this all-encompassing pain. Hundreds of times I’ve felt like I couldn’t make it til it passed, I couldn’t handle one more second of pain. Somehow I always did. Always do. And then eventually it always eases. Always passes.

I’ve been thinking about that with this cough. I’ve already been sick for more than a month. It seems so long and yet it could last for much longer still.

At the absolute worst point–when the coughing fits came about 40-50 times a day and each one left me gasping, choking, crying and each cough was agony to my ribs–I felt then I couldn’t handle it. Each time I felt like I couldn’t take even one more coughing fit. I wondered how I was supposed to keep going with my classes–or at all really. Each of the jabillion times I woke up in the night to cough and choke and choke and cough one thought kept going through my mind. This Sucks.

But each time I handled just one more coughing fit. One more day. One more night.

And then this past week something awesome happened. All the sudden it started to ease. Coughing fits were less intense. I stopped needing my handy vomit bags so much. I felt like eating more (something about regularly coughing up part of whatever you last ate makes it not very appealing…). Then coughing fits came less frequently. Somehow by the middle of the week I could go an hour, or two even without a single fit! Suddenly I could go to all of my classes and it was hard, but doable. Without even realizing it at first I had made it through the worst and it started to ease.

Believe it or not, it looks like even whooping cough passes. And it might even do so before the hundred day mark!

So head up, feet forward and be a little cheerful, cus sooner or later it’ll pass.

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.