I haven't wanted to go into what is going on with me until I knew for sure. This seems so far out and unlikely. But sadly it is real and going to change my life for a while so here is my new reality for a bit. Please forgive typos, I'm on strong meds and typing isn't easy.
About a week ago I found out that someone our agency is working with had pertussis (whooping cough). I haven't seen this pt, but those who did before she was treated were at risk for catching it. I knew that I may or may not be immune to this because I am allergic to DPT shots and was given them in 1/2 doses as a kid, then later told that this may not actually do anything. So I requested that if anyone got it that I be notified, and went on my way. I did check in with the dr. about it to be sure that I couldn't do anything to prevent it. He told me if I got it I would have a very bad bronchitis and that nothing could change this now. He also told me what med I should start if I got it. Thursday night I felt extremely tired. I went to be very very early and had a bad headache that woke up repeatedly for more tylenol through the night and the next morning. Friday morning I didn't feel well but in a totally nonspecific way. By noon on Friday I was coughing hard enough to have to pull over on a road with nowhere to safely to do this in order to vomit. I left work early and saw an urgent care doctor who was completely clueless about MAOI/lithium restrictions. He also gave me no dx. He did though give me the correct antibiotic.
I spent the weekend alternating between drugged sleep and coughing fits. I have coughed hard enough to have everything go black, a bunch of times, to have near incontinence episodes, etc. It's been very bad. It was obvious by Saturday that I wasn't working today and I saw Dr. Body today.
So now what I know is that I'm going to feel bad for quite a while. I am facing about 8 weeks of coughing although my contagious period will be slowly reduced over the next days and mostly will be over by the time my antibiotics have been doing for a day or so, which is mid-week. The antibiotics only help other people though, they don't make me feel better. I have a lot more prescription cough meds for that and the dr. said I would benefit from an inhaler or aerosols, but I can't have those because they'll make me manic. He explained that my unfortunate situation is that I can have the major meds, the ones that keep me alive and things like that but there is very little that can be done to keep me comfortable under most circumstances. The worst part is that I am not allowed to be near my niece for 4 weeks and that means I'll be spending Thanksgiving posting from right here. I am deciding that this is God's way of protecting me from what tends to be an overstimulating holiday which would be increased by a thousand as we start a new tradition wtih my sister's in-laws and our family all together, which is LOUD and which I suspect will cause my niece to cry. A lot. Like all day. Which would be hard for me.
What is good is the timing. I'm allowed to work in the office on Friday with a mask. Next week is vacation; I'll be unable to hike unless the air is warm, but I can at least rest a lot. Then I go back to work for 3 days and have 2 days off for Thanksgiving. So during the time I'll feel worst I'm only going to miss 4 days that weren't planned.
However, I've made a lot of plans lately. None of them included being this sick or for so long. I'm going to lose a week's pay now, which is bad. I have no clue what happens to my patients; I'm trying to make myself remember that coverage is not my job and that I can hardly go expose people to this, and that I'm far too weak and tired and groggy (when medicated) to work right now; I'd not be any good to anyone. I just can't believe this happened. When I first felt bad I actually counted the months and realized it was the longest I'd gone without a sinus infection needing antibiotics in YEARS. In fact, probably since I started seeing Dr. Body and he convinced me that since we knew every cold becomes and infection thanks to all the meds I can't take that I needed to start treatment as soon as it felt bad rather than the traditional wait for a week to be sure it's not a virus. And that's been about 5 years I think......
So, that's what is going on. Right now the emotional parts of this haven't really hit. I did learn that Giant Eagle is fairly stupid and when I stood there with a mask and told them I was contagious and could they fill my script faster than 30 minutes they refused to jump it over others. So I wandered Giant Eagle focusing very hard on not coughing as my cough would scare anyone. That was fun......People stare. A lot. I needed some things but could have been done and out in 15 minutes but they kept me for 30. I'm sick enough my doctor didn't expose himself to my mouth or nose, but Giant Eagle will expose everyone to anything apparently.(Not that I told them I had whooping cough, that appears to induce panic based on whispered conversation about my mask while I was in line). And then I learned some really important:
IF A STORE PROVIDES WIPES FOR CARTS, USE THEM.
I had fully intended to wipe down my cart on the way out. Too bad that they take your cart from you at checkout and fill another with your groceries and then the person behind you gets your pertussis germs. I will never get groceries again without cleaning the cart. Not that this in any way protects the person who got my germy cart and I was too stunned to say no, don't use that cart (too sick, really, just couldn't think it throughout until I was writing this as at the time all I could think was that I couldn't clean the cart,not that someone was immediately getting their food stuffed into it).
So I'll probably be posting more soon out of boredom. This is not going to be my favorite week I'm afraid.