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Quarantined Sunday

The sun was out and bright today. The sky was a brilliant blue. It was the kind of day that is always a blessing in mid-winter when so much of the weather is gray. I viewed the day through fogged up windows because we’re boiling water constantly to humidify the air in our house. It condenses on the windows and fogs the view, but it relieves the coughing some. I did not go outside because we’re not supposed to. That’s what quarantine means. Stay home. No one is checking up on us or enforcing the quarantine. It was just doctor recommended and since I would wish this illness on anyone else, I’m honoring it. Gleek is cleared for school tomorrow, Howard is cleared to run errands. The boys and I stay in the house.

This morning I handed out antibiotics to five people. It is the second day of treatment and I can already tell the difference. The coppery taste at the back of my throat has vanished. Howard reports the same. Our moods are improved and I feel alert for the first time in at least two weeks. Today I can feel like this illness is just a thing we will deal with. Yesterday it was a terrible looming thing that had taken over our lives. I don’t think a night’s sleep is the only difference. Stress and depression are not listed as symptoms of pertussis, but I’m going to add them to the tally of things I’ve experienced because of the disease.

I’ve had lots of vaccination discussions as a result of catching a vaccine preventable disease. The pertussis vaccine does not impart immunity, it increases resistance. Direct exposure can overcome that resistance. We live in a highly-vaccinated state, but outbreaks still happen. Gleek is the one who caught this first and she was re-vaccinated less than a year ago. Many people are ready to jump in and blame people who don’t vaccinate. I think the reasons for outbreaks are more complex than that. I’m hearing from friends all over the country, many of them are health professionals, and they’re all reporting a resurgence of pertussis outbreaks. Lower rates of vaccination can contribute to that. There is also the fact that doctors are much slower to hand out antibiotics than they were fifteen years ago. I had to argue and get a second opinion before we got the antibiotics we needed. In an era where antibiotics flowed more freely, outbreaks were likely quelled much more quickly. Note: I’m not saying that doctors are wrong to be careful about giving out antibiotics, just that this could be part of what happens as a result. I’ve also heard it posited that there is a pertussis strain that is not adequately covered by the current vaccinations.

I will be providing as much information about our case as I can to those whose jobs it is to watch and understand outbreaks. Our job is to get better, to prevent further infection, and to notify those who may have been exposed.

Hopefully tomorrow we can have a day where I blog about something not cough related because it would be lovely if I could spend my time thinking about something else.

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2 comments to Quarantined Sunday

  • As a parent of young children I’m glad you’re blogging about your experience with pertussis, period. I had not realized the pertussis vaccine doesn’t grant immunity, only resistance. I also vaccinate my kids and before reading this I would have assumed they would be immune, which, in the event any of them contracted pertussis, would give me an apparently false sense of security. I’ll be much more on the lookout now. Thank you.

    • Yes be on the lookout, but don’t be terrified. It is still far more common for a cough to be a virus than to be pertussis. This cough was recognizably different to me within only a couple of days. It was phlegm in the throat and nose without that stuffed head feeling of a viral cold. It also had a coppery flavor similar to bronchitis or a sinus infection.