Sunday, October 16, 2011


I have had a cough since August 28th. I know this for a fact because I first started to feel the cough coming on when I was on the plane on my way home from Scotland 7 weeks ago. SEVEN WEEKS AGO. I have had some variation of a cough for almost 2 months now.  I know I got the original cough from one of my traveling companions. It was annoying for a week or two, and then I thought I was getting better, except that the cough never did quite go away completely. A couple of weeks ago it began picking up again. I blame the cough's resurgence on the rain. September was a straight month of drizzle. Our entire backyard turned into a mushroom field and according to the news the area experienced record-breaking mold levels. I never knew I had an issue with mold (having spent most of my life living in an arid climate, how could I know?), but apparently high mold counts don't agree with my lungs, so the hacking picked up again. The past week brought lovely, sunny fall weather that cleared out all the mushrooms and mold, but it also brought in-laws to town--in-laws who were pleasant company, but who brought a cold virus along with them [perhaps it was revenge for my getting everyone sick at my wedding? :-)]  Penn picked up the virus from his sister, and even though he and I slept in separate beds all week to try to keep me healthy our efforts were in vain. I now have the worst cough I've had so far, accompanied by chest and head congestion. I woke up at 7 this morning and couldn't figure out why since I was clearly still tired. Then I realized that my body had obviously woken me up because I could barely breathe! I spent half an hour in a steaming hot bathroom this morning, which helped a bit, but I still feel like I'm breathing at about 30% capacity.  And the drugs I'm allowed to take during pregnancy are almost completely ineffective (as evidenced by the fact that I have been coughing for 7 weeks). The most basic type of Robitussin is okay, and my doctor said I could take Sudafed, but neither do much for me. Plus I really hate putting meds into my body right now. I took nothing at all during the first trimester except Claritin once for a bad allergy attack. I feel like it's safer now, and I feel like my ability to breathe and get oxygen into my blood for the baby obviously outweighs the minor risk posed by taking cold medicine, but the point is that the cold medicine I am allowed to take is pretty much useless anyway. I've spent far too much time googling the effects of excessive coughing on a fetus. Dr. Google assures me that all of this coughing can't hurt my baby, but I still feel bad for the poor little papaya* being jostled around in there. Plus I am afraid that if this seal coughing keeps up the baby will get the mistaken impression that s/he is a marine mammal rather than a human being.  I have a doctor appointment a week from tomorrow, so if I'm still feeling lousy then I may see if there's anything else I can do to get some relief. Perhaps he will suggest that I convalesce in a sunny, arid climate for the winter.  I could go for that.

I intended to work on my dissertation all weekend. Instead, I fought this virus in my body (and lost miserably) and fought a virus in my computer (and ultimately won, but only after a complete reboot to the factory settings, THANK GOD I BACK UP MY FILES).  Sometimes things just don't go according to plan at all.  I really hope everything gets back on track this week.

*BabyCenter provides these weekly e-mail updates on "How Your Baby is Developing This Week" and for some reason they always compare the size of  the baby to a type of fruit. Last week the baby was apparently the size of a papaya. I had to Google images of a papaya to remind myself exactly what one looks like. I mean, really. A papaya?!

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