Ready or Not #273: So Sick

I don’t get sick very often, but boy when I do – sheesh!  I don’t do sick very well.  I don’t have time to be sick and it is very hard for me to just lie around with no more energy than to let out a pathetic moan every once in a while.  Like I said – pathetic.

What started out as a simple head cold ended up as a real bad case of bronchitis.  Fortunately it is acute bronchitis and not chronic bronchitis.  My mom gets the chronic bronchitis all the time (hence the ‘chronic’ part) and it is just as miserable as the acute, only it lasts longer.

I guess I was really lucky that I had bronchitis and not something worse because there are things that are much worse.  When I went to the doctor, one of the first questions he asked was if I was current on my pertussis vaccination.  I was (thank goodness).  My cough and over-all yucky feeling was off the scale and I couldn’t think very clearly, but there was no wheezing.  Had there been wheezing then there would have been the possibility of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough.

Contracting the whooping cough was a real possibility.  At work, a woman that I work closely with had the whooping cough.  Her whole family was sick with it and it had taken a terrible toll on all of them.  Another co-worker was fighting walking pneumonia and a bunch of others had been dealing with the flu that nobody wants to deal with.  So I guess that I was lucky that I only had bronchitis.

My poor brother had been feeling really lousy and I told him that he needed to see the doctor.  He went in and found out that he had a very severe sinus infection.  He started treatment for that and then right after that he went in to get his rotator cuff operated on (it was already scheduled).  After he had the surgery, he didn’t bounce back quite like he thought he should and he even started to feel worse.  In the end, he wound up having the flu and mononucleosis along with the sinus infection – all of that on top of the surgery!  Really?  Needless to say, he was pretty miserable.

I make sure that my husband and I both have our flu shots every year and our pneumonia shots as needed – and so far, so good.  I then got to thinking about all of the shots that we had as kids and all of the shots and/or boosters that we should take as adults.  Are you up on your shots?

I went to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) site (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/) to get the definitive immunization schedule for each age group and these are their recommendations: Birth to 6 years, 7 to 18 years, and 19 to 65+ years old.

It is especially important for adults 19 years and older to keep up on their shots.  When we were young students and attending school, there were constant reminders of the shots we needed, but when we got older those reminders disappeared.  My mom lives in a really nice retirement community and her neighbor across the street got shingles.  Needless to say, her neighbor was in a lot of pain and was miserable (probably even more miserable than I was with my bronchitis – maybe.)  I think that my mom’s neighbor would agree that it would have been easier and less painful to get her shingles shot (a.k.a. Zoster booster).

I know that there are some people out there that get concerned about all of the shots and the potential problems or side effects (real or imagined), but I am a firm believer of being as protected as possible.  My dad died a few years back because of the debilitating side-effects brought on by post-polio

My dad contracted polio when he was only 12 years old.  This was before doctors had flavored drops that would protect us from this insidious disease.  My dad was paralyzed for more than a year and he was just shy of being in an iron lung.  He was told that he would never walk again.  Fortunately because of luck, the dedication of his parents, therapists and doctors, he did walk.

But the really bad thing about polio, if you recover from it initially, is that it boomerangs and gets you when you are older.  I know a man who got polio when he was younger because his mom decided for whatever reason to not have him immunized against it.  I feel bad for him because after watching my dad’s health decline I know what he has to look forward to; all of his future pain and suffering could have been prevented.  It isn’t worth it, get your shots.

Knowing what shots you need and getting them is part of being prepared.  Keep track of what you have had and what you need – and when you will need them again.  And because you can’t get immunized against bronchitis, make sure that you wash your hands and try not to get sick in the first place!

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