My flu has finally cleared up and, for the most part, I'm feeling a lot better. Except for the cough. I joked to a friend that I sound like a walrus on heat. So in an effort to avoid becoming Seaworld's latest attraction, I headed back to the doctor. He did the mandatory chest-test, checked my glands, and took a throat swab. Today I have to go back and have a blood test, but he's pretty sure I have Whooping Cough. Whooping Cough - or pertussis - is characterised by uncontrollable coughing fits followed by a high-ptiched "whoop" as you struggle desperately to breathe again. The ever-wise Wikipedia informs me that these fits " can occur on their own or can be triggered by yawning, stretching, laughing, eating or yelling". Excellent. As it's highly contagious and can lead to all sorts of other complications (pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy), if the bloodwork comes back positive everyone I live with has to be treated for it.
I remember having Croup (as my mother calls it) a few times as a kid. Waking up in the dark, struggling to draw in breath while my chest exploded. My whole body would be wracked by such violent convulsions as I coughed that after a few days I would cry in pain, only adding to the agony as I tried to breathe through the tears. I remember being shuffled into the bathroom, mum cranking the shower as hot as it would go, and sitting with me on the bath mat as I inhaled the steam, trying to heat and clear my airways. There was a time or two I would cough so badly mum and dad would bundle me off to the local hospital where I'd be shuffled into the humidcrib for the night. With sleep out of the question I would sit reading, the nurses bringing me lemonade and lollies, playing board games and cards with me, until dawn broke and the warmth of a new day warmed my lungs and allowed me a small window of respite.
Having been there with me as a child my mother was immediately sure what was wrong. Stubbornly I denied it, knowing full well the hacking pain in my chest and back each time I coughed could only really be one thing. Even with the medication Whooping Cough usually last six weeks. Six weeks of hacking cough and strangled breathing. And six weeks of chest, back, neck, ribs, all aching constantly from the exertion. Needless to say, today I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself. I'm also hoping I haven't infected anyone else. I have no idea where I picked it up, but Whooping Cough is something I wouldn't wish to share with anyone.
Fun note: My cousin suggested I make the best of the next few weeks and contact the BahaMen. Turns out I do a damn fine 'Who Let the Dogs Out'.