Once upon a time, there lived a happily married couple with four daughters and two cats…and a gerbil. The husband went on a business trip for three weeks leaving his wife alone to care for their home and four daughters and two cats…and the gerbil. The wife felt cautious but confident in her ability to call upon her alter ego, Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is able to “do it all” as the old saying goes–even manage a psychotic child and direct an autistic 9 year-old. She could do it! But, Wonder Woman slipped on some ice and fell spraining her elbow, thusly, knocking herself out of commission. The wife lost her superpowers. She had to go it alone. She really looked forward to her husband’s return. And, return he did…with a very strange cough.
He coughed and coughed and coughed. He coughed in the morning. He coughed in the evening. He coughed at midnight. He coughed until he vomited. He coughed until his larynx spasmed and he began to suffocate. The wife urged her husband to see a doctor, but the husband said that he was getting better. “I’m fine.” The wife was incredulous. The wife was ignored. The husband left on another business trip, and the youngest daughter got sick. She developed a strange cough.
She coughed in the morning. She coughed in the evening. She coughed at midnight. She has asthma so her coughs were even more worrisome than the husband’s coughs. The wife realized that she had been taking care of children alone for over a month. She was beginning to feel…trapped.
Another child developed the strange cough. She coughed in the morning. She coughed in the evening. She coughed at midnight. The wife urged her husband upon his return from his business trip to see the doctor. He finally agreed to go. He returned with a diagnosis of pneumonia and antibiotics. He took his antibiotics and he coughed. He coughed and he coughed and he coughed.
Another daughter developed the strange cough. She coughed in the…you know the drill. The wife checked the calendar. She was feeling squirrelly and mean. How long had she been inside caring for children? How many weeks had her husband been ill? Six weeks. Six weeks of The Mysterious Cough. This had to stop, but The Cough had taken over. When would it stop? What was going on?! Why was no one getting better?!
One day, the youngest daughter stopped getting out of bed. She continued to cough and cough. The husband was still coughing, his face turning blue. Every child, excepting one, was home tormented by The Cough. Had the husband’s doctor made a mistake? Could he perhaps have something other than pneumonia? Could the wife potentially go crazy?
The wife took her sickliest daughter to the doctor and said, “Test my child for Pertussis. I think she has Whooping Cough, and I think she caught it from my husband.” The doctor tested the sickly girl, and on Monday morning at 0800 a call was received. “Your daughter has tested positive for Pertussis.” The wife was shocked. She glared at her still-coughing husband. He couldn’t express emotion because he was too busy attempting to catch his breath. “You gave our children Whooping Cough. You should have gone to the doctor. WHY DIDN’T YOU GO TO THE MOTHER-CLUCKING DOCTOR??????!!!!!!”
A woman from the state’s Department of Health called the home of the husband and wife. She was an epidemiologist. She wanted information about The Cough. She also ordered that every member of the family be treated with antibiotics. She also quarantined every coughing daughter to the home for five days. FIVE DAYS. Three of the four daughters are not allowed to attend school for five days.
Pertussis aka Whooping Cough is also known as The 100 Day Cough. Why? Pertussis isn’t just some benign childhood illness. It’s a bacterial infection that eats the cellular lining of one’s airways. It takes the body 3 months (or 100 days) to regrow this lost tissue. It is particularly hard on infants and those with underlying health conditions like asthma. It can kill you. This is why there is a vaccination for it. Regardless of when you receive treatment, you will cough for about 100 days. This infection is very hard on the body. Increase group immunity and get vaccinated. Adults get vaccinated with a Tdap booster. There is misinformation in the world now due to Andrew Wakefield and his very fraudulent research studies regarding vaccinations and autism. For the record, it was all counterfeit. The rate of ASD diagnoses is the same among vaccinated and non-vaccinated children. Vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccines prevent illnesses that cause severe health problems and deaths.
So, wash your hands, get yourself vaccinated, and don’t forget the moral of this story: Listen to your wife when she tells you to go to the doctor because vomiting after coughing isn’t normal. Your wife is almost always right anyway.