Monday, July 16
Just in case life wasn't already interesting with the normal aspects of raising four sub-10 year-old kids in a two bedroom apartment, we received some bonus challenges. You heard about the chicken pox but I haven't told you the other illness that took hold of my littles during these last months. They have been coughing their way through the whooping cough (though their doctors disagree ((yes, doctors)) and say it is just a cough). It is frustrating because it is one of the vaccines we were firm on and yet here we are, two months into the 100 day cough, still patting backs and steaming up the shower room in the middle of the night. Sebastian is back to normal now and the others are getting closer themselves. I thought we had a set back with Colette and Luca this week but it turns out that they are both teething. Colette has some mean molars coming in and Luca's bottom front teeth are starting to push through his gums. So I guess being sick won't put him off-track developmentally (such thoughts do surface in a sleep-deprived mother's head).
Besides for being a chunky, drooling monkey, this kid can flip himself onto his belly in two seconds flat.
I almost didn't share the fact of their whooping cough here because I felt a certain sense of shame for having sick kids. Then I realized that shame was something pushed onto me by a society that believes in the power of modern medicine to a fault. It is frustrating because here we are, with vaccinated kids (well, mostly vaccinated- see chickenpox 2012) and when we take our kids to the Western trained doctors, it turns out there is nothing they can do. Even antibiotics don't really work for this cough. All around the world, there are now large-scale outbreaks of whooping cough, affecting both the vaccinated and unvaccinated since it is a new strain that is vaccine-resistant. This is hardly news but what bothers me is that it is blamed on unvaccinated families and left at that. Why not try to work on treatment for the illness since the vaccine is becoming ineffective? The problem here is essentially phlegm. There has to be some way of dissolving or thinning the mucous so that the coughing fits aren't so violent.
My kids have been relatively lucky. They only get the coughing fits and for the most part are healthy as usual. If you Google whooping cough, you will be scared out of your wits and probably with due justification. We are also lucky since the kids have full medical care coverage and all pediatricians here operate on a walk-in basis. We never hesitate to take our kids in to the doctor.
So my wish for other families, having survived this illness, is that medical researchers find something more effective than just a stop-gap vaccine. The less people have to suffer the 100 day cough, the better. I also hope for American families that all of the states (such as my home state of Florida) stop trying to block the Affordable Care Act. With so many supposedly irradiated illnesses on the rebound, parents should never have to hesitate because of cash when it comes to seeking medical help.
P.S. For anyone suffering the 100 day cough, we found that lotus root tea helped to disperse the phlegm. Ginger tea works well too. Lots of love, patience, and steamy air will help those days go by easier, if not cut 100 days in half. Best of luck to you.