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This is the third day I’ve spent supine. (If I use the word supine, I don’t have to figure out that whole lay/lie business.)

I’m sick. It started last Tuesday with a scratchy throat, stuffed head and cough. On Wednesday, the cough became more severe and I hacked my way through work. That evening I discovered I had a fever and went to bed early (by 8:30). Thursday, the fever remained, as did the cough, joined by a low appetite. I called in sick to work. Friday, ditto.

I missed two meetings on those work days. (Darn it!) Today, I woke with the cough and a lower fever, but such overall weakness that I am now missing the Renaissance Festival, which Hubby and I planned as a trip for Young Son. We had arranged to pick up Daughter afterward for a shopping trip. With the weakness and continued fever, I didn’t think I could keep up on a day’s worth of travel, so I bowed out and we contacted Daughter, who is using my Renaissance Festival ticket. That’s a good thing, but this illness definitely is not.

A word about my cough (which was my husband’s cough a week ago). It is so strong that my muscles ache from the exertion. It comes in waves, with all quiet for an hour or so and then WHAM! Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, inhale, cough, cough, cough. It’s as though spiderwebs of snot have filled my esophagus and chest and after coughing to clear them away, more form. Oh, so pleasant. It’s a cough that makes me angry because it hurts and I don’t know when it’s going to end. The missing life aspect doesn’t help the anger any. (Not that I’m stewing about things much. I’m too tired to stew.)

If the fever isn’t gone by Monday and/or the cough hasn’t diminished, I’m going to the doctor. The upcoming week is full of events that I’m determined not to miss.

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Incidentally, whenever Hubby and I get a bad cough, we always joke about it by saying, “I’ve got the consumption.” Consumption is an old term for Tuberculosis (TB) and I got to wondering how prevalent it is. I figured it was this old disease that hardly ever cropped up. Would a doctor even recognize the symptoms?

As it turns out, TB is not a dead disease. Here are some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website:

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s deadliest diseases:

  • One third of the world’s population are infected with TB.
  • Each year, over 9 million people around the world become sick with TB.
  • Each year, there are almost 2 million TB-related deaths worldwide.
  • TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected.

Further, almost 13,000 people were reported to have TB in the United States in 2008.

The symptoms sound suspiciously like the flu (except for the 3-week cough and coughing up blood). From the CDC again:

TB disease in the lungs may cause symptoms such as

  • a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • pain in the chest
  • coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)

Other symptoms of TB disease are

  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating at night

It took a visit to the Minnesota Department of Health’s website to discover that the TB bacterium grows very slowly and is very hard to pass (need constant exposure to someone with active TB in order to catch it). It appears that the symptoms may develop slowly, too, although that’s not stated outright on either website. Most people (90%) who are infected with the TB bacterium end up with latent TB, meaning it sits in their bodies without causing any symptoms and they can’t infect others.

A fascinating disease that’s very much alive and well. One that I don’t want to catch, not after dealing with the cough I’ve got now. You can read more about it by going to the links I’ve provided above. It’s time for me to rest.

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Note: Several coughing fits were suffered in the writing of this post.

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