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Readers’ corner

Dixie Redfearn

It’s a crashing bore to write about myself – the readers are far more interesting – but since I have been out of the office for so long, I want you all to know why, and maybe this will help someone else, as well.

I was finally diagnosed with whooping cough, also called Pertussis. Isn’t that weird? It sounds like something out of a Dickens novel, certainly not a modern disease. In fact, I don’t recall even knowing anyone who ever had whooping cough … until now.

Thankfully, the women at St. Moritz Medical Center thought to check for that! I was beginning to think I was crazy to be so ill after weeks on antibiotics. And, as all cancer survivors know, whenever you have any symptoms of disease you always ask yourself, “Could it be cancer?” It’s hard to shake that paranoia.

Now that this has happened, I remember a front page magazine story in The San Francisco Chronicle that ran last year. The story was about the growing trend to not immunize your children and it focused on Nevada County, saying that our county has the highest number of non-immunized children in the state of California.

Aha. The doctor said I most likely caught it from a child. She also said that many parents with coughing children would not even consider a diagnosis of whooping cough because it is just off the radar screen for most people. It’s one of those diseases that just went away in this country after the DPT vaccine came into use.

However, our daughter, who lives in Kauai, said whooping cough is making a comeback on that island, again because there is an anti-vaccination sentiment, especially among Hawaiians.

It is a nasty infection that pretty much knocks you out, although the worst of it comes after the worst cough and cold symptoms. And the Internet is a helpful resource. I Googled “whooping cough” and the Web site that comes up even has an audio component so you can listen to an example of a child’s cough and an adult’s cough to hear the subtle “whoop” that occurs.

So, enough about me. Now that I’m back, I look forward to your calls and e-mails. And by the end of the week I may even have plowed through the 467 e-mails that were here waiting for me. After the pitches for Viagra, Nigerian bank scams and drugs from Canada, I hope to find some nuggets from readers of The Union. I’ve missed our interactions this past week and a half.


Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by e-mail at dixier@theunion.com, or by fax at 477-4292.


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