Our household has many family and friends come through
our door. Last month we had an unwelcome visitor.
Pertussis (whooping cough) got through what I thought
was a safe and secure home. My Grandbaby June and I
ended up with whooping cough. How does this happen? This
along with other "childhood" diseases was something I
thought was in our past.
I had what I thought was an
allergy or a cold. My cough worsened and I went to the
clinic. They listened to my chest and sent me home with
cough syrup to help me sleep. A few days later I was
able to go and see my primary care doctor. I received an
antibiotic for a sinus infection and a new cough syrup.
I asked about my vaccinations and found out Grandpa and
I both needed the whooping cough vaccine. I wasn't given
it at that time because I was sick. I didn't make the
connection nor did I ask the healthcare providers if
they thought I had whooping cough.
Baby June started having
a cough and one evening while I was holding her, those
trusting eyes looked at me in fear as she couldn't catch
her breath. It wasn't a long episode but I will never
forget her little baby face looking at me, like
"Grandma, fix it." I mentioned to June's mom I thought
she had whooping cough. She took her to see the doctor
and she was diagnosed with whooping cough.
I went to see my doctor
because I knew I only had the Td and not the Tdap
vaccination. I was diagnosed with whooping cough, and
was told it was overlooked because adults don't always
have wheezing or the same "sounds" as babies and
children. It was determined June probably caught it from
My family was blessed to
catch this soon enough to get June the treatment that
she needs and she will be fine. She is doing much better
now. As I look into that innocent face tears still
silently fall from this grandma's eyes. I hope no one
has to feel the frustration, sadness, or guilt of
bringing such a horrible thing to their child or
I have learned the hard
way to be aware. It's ok to question our healthcare
providers. I encourage every one of you to get
vaccinated, and to vaccinate your children. Don't let
these diseases into your homes. By sharing this I hope
folks might see how something can risk the lives of our
greatest resources our elders who are our cultural
carriers, and our children, who are our future.
For more information
about pertussis, visit