Perspectives on Being Sick

This morning I have a congested head and a sniffly nose. Although it is possible that these things are caused by seasonal allergies, it feels more like a mild cold. The sensations are not pleasant. I’d much rather feel well, but I can’t help noticing how friendly and cuddly this cold feels in comparison to the whooping cough that rampaged through our household for six weeks and is still lingering. This cold feels like a fierce kitten to the angry tiger of whooping cough.

The minute people started coming down with the cough I knew it was going to be bad. I didn’t know it was whooping cough. I didn’t know it would cost Patch two weeks of school and Link four. I didn’t know that we would spend over a thousand dollars in copays, medication, lab tests, and cough drops. I didn’t know it would cost us even more in lost work time, lost concentration, and emotional distress. I didn’t know how bad it would be, but from day one I could tell that it was no ordinary cold.

I’ve come out of this experience with a new comprehension of why doctors worked so hard to find vaccines for these childhood diseases. Yes some of the drive was because they are sometimes deadly, but even when they weren’t, the societal cost for them is really high. I’m too young to remember epidemics of measles, mumps, or polio, but I do remember my school being half empty for several weeks because chicken pox swept through town. So I’m reaffirmed as a vaccine supporter. Even if the vaccines only impart resistance, I want us all to be as resistant as possible.

For today, I’m going to curl up in bed with my cuddly little cold and take some vitamin c. In a day or two I’ll feel better.