Fri, 23rd Sep '05, 9:20 pm::

Beware: Another boring blog entry on my health ahead. Proceed at your own peril.

I never thought in my life that I would ever use the word "hacking" to refer to anything else other than breaking into computers. On the phone with a buddy today, I caught myself saying "I have hacking cough and it's so bad that my head feels like exploding every time I get into a bout of coughing." This morning I went to the doctor again and he joked how I've become his best customer. I know, funny but not really. I gave some blood for lab tests so hopefully I'll soon know what's the matter with me. He said he's got some suspicion that it might be Pertussis - a highly contagious bacteria, more commonly known as... hold your breath (pun intended)... Whooping Cough!

Now Whooping Cough is a disease that mostly infects children but lately cases of new strain of Pertussis bacteria have been found worldwide, especially in US. People who have been infected by Pertussis in the past or have been vaccinated against it are relatively safe but of course I never had any shots for that. Talking to the doctor about my health in the last 7 weeks, I think I've a good idea of what happened.

During my plane trip back from Utah in July end, I got infected with two different strains of bacteria - Streptococcus and Pertussis. The strain of strep I infected my inner-ear and caused fever, dizziness, and a rash. This combination is more commonly called Scarlet Fever or Scarlatina. It takes about 24-48 hours for the strep bacteria to cause full blown Scarlet Fever symptoms. I was on the plane on Sunday and I first felt sick on Tuesday. No coughing. Just dizzy, slightly feverish, and a bit weak. Went to the doctor the same week and got some antibiotics to treat the strep bacteria.

It was after about 10 days since my plane ride that I started coughing. It started slow but gradually intensified. I thought it was just a side-effect of Scarlet Fever and didn't put much thought into it. About a week later, the coughing hadn't subsided and I knew something was up. Went back to the doctor and it turns out, my inner-ear strep infection is worse than ever, as the antibiotics hadn't worked fully. I continue on the antibiotics to treat the strep and the doctor prescribed me some cough suppressants. He told me the coughing could be the result of something other than Scarlet Fever, like Whooping Cough.

The coughing didn't stop and got worse. Went to the doctor this morning again and he said it looks more and more like Pertussis i.e. Whooping Cough now. The problem with the Pertussis bacteria is that it is very difficult to detect. The cough is very dry and there is absolutely no other symptom. Another problem with Whooping Cough is that while antibiotics work, they work very slowly. The doctor said I should be prepared to be sick for another 6-8 weeks, although things will get better in a few weeks.

So now here's the deal. I've been sick for 7 weeks now and there's just as long to go before I feel healthy. I can't run, work-out, kayak, or even climb up the stairs without breaking out into bouts of coughing. I can't talk for more than two minutes without coughing and I can't sit still for five minutes without coughing. The only times I don't cough is when I'm eating or drinking and sadly, I've been doing a lot of eating in the last two months. I've tried to eat healthy but just eating so much without any form of exercise is bad but I can't help it.

Hopefully once I get better, I will exercise and get back in shape again but till then, I feel so lazy and lethargic. I'm trying hard to keep my spirits up but it's hard when there's nothing you can do about it. When I used to feel sad, I would go running or jetskiing or just go catch a movie with a friend, none of which I can do. It's bad enough that I disrupt all the meetings at my work and I don't think strangers in a movie theater or restaurant will bear with me.

I swear I'm going to have some sort of a social anxiety disorder if this keeps up for long. I'm so ashamed of going into public places anymore because everyone looks at me like I have some contagious disease like tuberculosis. I went to Walmart and people walked away from me as I started coughing, even though I was covering my mouth. If something like this happens for a week or two, it's ok. But I've been going through this for a month and I don't know how I'll be able to bear this for two more.

The only thing I can do is sit at home and watch TV while eating - NOT at all a healthy thing to do. But right now, it's the only thing that feels good. I tried reading but I just don't feel like it anymore. I don't know... this really really sucks.

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