Sidelined by Sickness: Whooping Cough!

Well, if you've been wondering whether we fell off the edge of the world, the basic answer is "yes". We flew to Denver on September 1 for a "quick" visit with our parents, and unknowingly brought Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, home with us. It's a nasty disease, and it ruined all our plans and is keeping us here for some time yet (we were supposed to fly back to Guatemala on September 18, and we have no idea when we'll be well enough and strong enough to go back).

Nancy is now getting quite a bit better is able to get out and around, but Randy is still having horrible spasms of coughing. This can last up to three months or more.

The good things about this? We don't seem to have infected anybody else (cross your fingers), and we've been staying with Randy's daughter Elisheba in her house in Denver, and it's been a delight. And Elisheba had the adult Pertussis vaccination this year, so has not gotten and is not likely to get it. Pretty lucky, huh? Almost anybody else we stayed with would have gotten it from us.

The Pertussis vaccine for adults is new - just a couple of years old. We sure do recommend it to you. This is a horrible disease.

Don't worry about us. We're going to be OK and we're going to get back to Guatemala. Nancy is certainly past the worst, and Randy should be getting there before long.

Here is a poem Nancy wrote one night lying on the couch-

Why do we feel so sick?
For 5 miserable weeks
I have been terrible ill
We came home from Central America
to visit our family and make sure all was well.
The irony is they are all fine
and we are not.

We are sick, so very sick.
We lie around all day and night
coughing and choking and hoping
for a turn to good health.
Only to have another day of the same

It drives me mad not to know
what has got our lives in a grip.
A grip that just will not let go.
We had some test, they do not know
I do know we are not well.

I do not want to cough,
The cough plugs it all up
I can not breath. Help,
I can not clear my airway.
My lungs are hurt from the attacks.
It panics me when I can not breath.
It seems that as one attack leaves another starts.
I do not want to cough anymore,
but I am drowning
The wheeze is getting louder,
My air way is being blocked
I have to clear my airway
But I can't
I do not want to cough,
The cough plugs it all up
I can not breath. Help!

Phew, I can finally breath,
My chest hurts, my lungs burn.

I had been sick for 3 weeks and
then it struck my mate.
I feel so bad, I got him sick

It hurts to listen to him cough
The sickness tears at his very soul.
It rattles the lining of his lungs,
His groin aches from such abuse.
His windpipe will not let air in.
He makes whooping sounds of suffocating
It is the sound of attempts to reach air.
I am relieved when he can breath again.
I am sure he will need another lung
when this is done.

I start to recover
I take long walks
around the park.
This is good,
the sun warms me,
I start to feel human
in the smallest ways

I start to ride my bike once again
but it takes my wind away.
I have to stop, get off my bike
have a good coughing fit
When I can breath again
I mount my bike
and ride a little further.

I ride a little for four days in a row.
The fifth day, I don't feel so good
the next day I am sick again.

Is this what Whooping cough is like,
Is it TB and we don't know.
Is it a Guatemalian disease
the doctors in the states
have never seen.

Will we die?
Will we recover?
How long will it take
to decide our fate?

We just want to get better and go biking again