Saturday, September 17, 2011


We had about 3 good weeks.

When we left family therapy one of the nights, our therapist said that she really enjoys our sessions now.  She said that she used to just dread them.  (That made me feel weird because even though we have had tons of family problems, I thought she liked us!).  She said she thinks that my husband and I are really great parents.  That night, when we walked out of the building, my son and I had our arms around each other’s shoulders. 

It was so nice.

What a difference from a month before.  Now the therapist thought our son was almost ready to commence from the program.

And then he got sick.

Coughing and coughing and coughing with no breaks.  There was a cough every 3 seconds.  Day and night, the coughing went on and on. 

It just started one morning, with nothing leading up to it.  It was so strange.  And, now that we never can be sure what the underlying cause of any of his behaviors is, we drug tested him to make sure he hadn’t smoked anything or was still smoking something that was causing the cough.  I told him that I was 99.9% sure that he hadn’t used anything or smoked anything, but that if there was that .09% chance that he did—it wasn’t worth it to be going through this.  I wanted him to be honest with me about it.  He said that he honestly hadn’t used anything and the drug test WAS negative.

We took him to the doctor and he began taking antibiotics as if he had an upper respiratory infection.  He did not get better.  He got worse.  He wasn’t getting any sleep at night and neither was I.  My husband is a lot better at being able to fall asleep in a noisy situation than I am, so even though he felt sleep deprived, he was doing a lot better than the two of us were.  I felt like I hadn’t had any sleep at night in a long time.  Usually, my son would fall asleep about 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and then sleep until noon.  I don’t know why he could sleep better in the morning than in the night.  I would fall asleep as soon as he quieted down, but had to get up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready to babysit my grandson 3 days a week.  It was exhausting.

I was trying everything to stop the coughing.  Vaporizers, humidifiers, prescription cough medicine, and even putting Vicks on his feet covered with socks.  We tried giving him Nyquil to calm the cough and put him to sleep.  It was so frustrating that nothing would work.  Someone online even suggested sucking on dark chocolate.  He liked that treatment, but it didn’t stop the coughing, either. 

One night I suggested that he should go sit in the bathroom with the shower on and let the steam try to moisten his throat.  He got mad and said that wouldn’t work, either.  I didn’t know what to do. I was trying my best to help him and the thanks I got was him shooting down every idea.  So, I told him that he could just lay on his bed and cough, then.  I said, “Hopefully, you will fall asleep sometime.” 

And for that comment, I was told that he couldn’t go to sleep with this #*!%-ing cough.  Nice.  Just what I would like to hear when I just WISH I COULD GO TO SLEEP!

It made me so mad.  I had been doing everything in my power to try to help him and then he unleashed the bad language on me.

I realized that since he was still taking Ambien and that since it wasn’t helping him sleep, he was operating in the Ambien mode that made him unreasonable and unaware of the fact that he was treating me very badly.  But, I still didn’t like it and I still let myself get my feelings hurt.  

About 10 days went by.  There was no relief.  We switched to allergy medicines, inhalers, and every brand of cough medicine on the shelf.  We even tried honey and tea.  Then, he begged me to take him to another doctor.  That is pretty good when your child begs you to take him to the doctor. 

This doctor thought that based on his cough, he either had Pertussis (Whooping Cough), or that he had Adult Community Pneumonia (Walking Pneumonia).  Whooping Cough?!!!!  I didn’t understand how he could have that because he had been immunized against it just 2 1/2 years before when he was 12, but she said it can happen. 

The chest X-ray did not seem to indicate Walking Pneumonia, which led her believe that he was more likely to have Pertussis.  We wouldn’t find out the results from the test for Pertussis for 5 days.  Even then, if he did have Pertussis, there really wasn’t any other treatment because he had already had the standard treatment of a course of antibiotics. 

When we left the office, he begged her for something that would help him stop coughing.  She said that there was nothing else she could do, other than prescribe another course of antibiotics, just to be on the safe side in case he did have Walking Pneumonia or to prevent the Whooping Cough from giving him pneumonia.  She said that people call Whooping Cough, the 100 year cough because it just won’t stop.  He was extremely upset at that.

Why did this have to happen to my son?  He had already gone through so much.  And, now he just had to sit in his room and cough for 100 years?  He already missed over a week of school and Day Treatment.  I didn’t know if they would let him be on leave until he got better or if they would just say that he had to be discharged from the program since nobody knew when he could come back.  I wanted him to be able to officially commence so that he could feel like he really accomplished something.  I felt like we all deserved a break from sickness and things that upset the forward progression that we had just started in our life with him.

Five days later, the doctor called with the results of the test and with the radiologist report.  Negative.  It wasn’t Pertussis OR Walking Pneumonia!  We just got to worry that it was for 5 days.  Why didn’t anyone know what was wrong with him? 

She said the next step was to take him to a Pulmonary Specialist.

Meanwhile, he was still coughing.

And coughing, and coughing…….

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