Tag Archives: vaccine

The story of the Tetanus, the Whooping Cough and the Ritalin

25 Oct

No, this is not a medical journal – at least not one that will be worth referring to – this is the story of our last 2 days. Yes,in our modern days, we had to brave 2 almost-believed-to-be extinct diseases, mixed with the very much alive sickness-of-the-day (yes, ADHD is real and no, it’s not just a tale-tell made up by the teachers).

One of my friends’ son has been battling with a horrible cough for the past few weeks and upon her visit to the doctor, he was diagnosed with whooping cough. Naively I thought I would check with my friend Wiki what “whooping cough” is in French. It’s whaaat? La coqueluche??? Isn’t it something that my grandmother told me about, a weird disease that killed hundreds in those times??

Given that our kids are all friends, they happily and unselfishly shared the bacteria (maybe all these parenting speeches on ‘sharing is caring’ finally paid off) and on Monday evening, Matty started to cough. My panic button was immediately pressed and, with a faster reaction time than ADT (No record breaking here, though), I made an appointment to my faithful doctor for the next day. I have a 100% trust in my doctor and even though I read up on whooping cough, I knew he would be of much help on how to deal with it.

Next day, prepped up to face the world, one deadly disease at a time (or so I thought), we rocked up at the Medicross. I’m taking all the kids with me, I thought. Killian has a thorn in his foot. My dear doctor will surely help me to remove it as it looked slightly deeper than a Hollywood celebrity’s personality.

Matty was quickly taken care of. Whooping cough is highly contagious and the cough can last for months, unless it is detected at the beginning and treated with antibiotics, in which case the contagion is limited to only a few days. Good news for us, only a few days of quarantine. Tap, tap on my shoulder: Killian reminded me of the thorn in his foot. Ah yes, a simple formality. We need to go to the procedure room. Ah. He needs an injection to numb the area. Mmh. And he needs a booster for his tetanus vaccine. Oh boy. That’s way more that I bargained for.

I braced myself for what was to come. I lost some of my hearing on that injection. Some of my heart too. I truly wished I could switch places with him. It was painful. The doctor worked hard and long at removing the thorn that was 1 full centimetre deep. And every minute, Killian kept asking with tremor in his voice “Is he doing another injection?” No. “And now?” No. “And now?” No my love. Léa, crying next to me, sure did not wish to switch places with him but felt awfully sorry for her brother. Matty, on the other hand, said that he looked at everything the doctor did – unphased.

The tetanus shot was nothing compared to the first injection. By then, Killian was so hysterical that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway what kind of procedure they were doing on his arm, but I was amused by 2 reactions: the first was the nurse’s face when the doctor told him that the one brother had whooping cough and that the other one was at risk of getting tetanus with the infection in his foot and that he needed his booster shot. She might have thought we were some kind of amish or something…The second was Killian’s neurotic behaviour stopping in a split second when he realised that his second injection was already finished and exclaimed **bravely**, “Oh! That wasn’t even sore!”

Back home, things went back to normal. Until the next day. Wednesday. Killian had been on his absolute worst behaviour throughout the day. Starting from not wanting to sit for his reading, to lashing out at his brother, defiantly disobeying me, going from zero to 100 in a few minutes, speaking to me in a way that not even Jack Bauer would to his tortured enemies, ending up in clinging and begging me to forgive him.

I tried to understand what was the matter. Was it payback for allowing him to be hurt the day before? Had I not given him the right amount of Ritalin? (and believe me, I make sure of that!) I even considered an adverse reaction to his previous day vaccine – I could already see the headlines “Mother kills child after vaccine’s unfortunate side effects”. At 4 o’clock, I had the choice between death (I wasn’t sure whose yet) and a top-up of his medication to help the poor sod out of his misery (and mine). At the first signs of him becoming sane again, we talked. Somehow, in the morning, when given his pill, he hid it under his tongue and did not swallow it. Relief was my first reaction. Utter frustration was next. Frustration at Killian obviously. Mostly frustration at people thinking that Ritalin is unnecessary, that parents and teachers just need to try harder.

A few minutes into Ritalin, roller-costered-out and calmed down, looking at me with his big hazelnut eyes, he says “I feel better now”.

And here ends the story of the whooping cough, the tetanus and the ritalin. They had many children and lived happily ever after.

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