1,000 Words: Pertussis

2010-11-Cough.jpg

This picture is the perfect example of why it’s important to tell the stories behind photographs. On the surface, it appears to be just a man and a woman who look relatively happy. When I look at it, I’m filled with a sense of the fear that I felt that day and for the following several months. Here’s what you don’t know: • This was taken on our 23rd Wedding Anniversary • We are standing in the lobby of a movie theater • We had just come from mass at St. Stanislaus Church • Brandon and Sierra are with us • Leroy had just endured his first Whopping Cough attack

Yes, you read that right; Whopping Cough. We didn’t know it at the time but Leroy had contracted Pertussis and was in the early stages of the illness. As we were walking into mass that day, he nearly fainted from a coughing attack that worse than any other that he had ever suffered. I thought he was choking on something. We didn’t realize it then, but it was only the beginning of the nightmare. The attacks got worse and increased in frequency to the point that we were afraid to leave him alone. He endured unpredictable attacks for about 90 days and then they decreased in severity and frequency and eventually went away completely.

Needless to say, Leroy is a big advocate for the Whooping Cough vaccine (Tdap.)