Asthma became a part of our lives early, and has never left.
Jack is our oldest son, and my husband and I were overjoyed when he arrived. Unfortunately, our joy was tempered with worry almost right away. Jack first experienced breathing problems as an infant.
And not just little breathing problems. Before the six month mark, Jack was already having asthma flare-ups that were so severe we had to take him to the ER.
Every time we went the doctors would tell us Jack had some unpronounceable condition, like broncolitios. It was frustrating not understanding what was going on, but we did the best we could.
Eventually, we received a proper diagnosis- Jack had asthma primarily due to allergies and our city’s dry climate. Doctors prescribed three medications- Prelone, (a glucocorticoid), Albuterol and Flovent.
That’s a lot of meds for an older child, much less a six month old. When I first picked up all the drugs from the pharmacy, I was a bit taken aback by all the drugs Jack needed. Not only did I have to worry about asthma, I now had to worry about medication side effects and keeping track of three different dosages.
A Crash Course in Asthma
I had to learn about childhood asthma and fast. Although I have asthma, I wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. I only use Albuterol during allergy season and before exercise. I didn’t have other children with asthma or friends with asthmatic children, so my husband I had to do a lot of research.
We learned all about allergy triggers, asthma attack warning signs and how to administer the inhaler using a chamber. This education came in handy because we could only take Jack to our pediatric pulmonologist every 6-8 weeks.
Becoming an Asthma Superhero!
We had to become asthma-savvy because we usually couldn’t get all of our questions answered at our doctor’s office. At appointments with the pulmonologist, I would watch him as he conducted the exam and listen to him talk about Jack’s progress, but felt uncomfortable asking him questions about medication or triggers.
Maybe I felt embarrassed about asking stupid questions at the doctor’s office, figuring that I should already know about certain things. Of course, once we got home I would come up with a ton of questions! I soon realized that there were no stupid questions where Jack’s health is concerned, and became more vocal during my son’s doctor’s visits.
So that’s how we began to deal with Jack’s asthma. As time went on, I learned more about treating asthma from first-hand experience. No matter what a doctor says, nothing can really prepare you to deal flawlessly with your child’s asthma attacks.
You learn as you go along, reading your child’s reactions to food, exercise and other triggers. After all a doctor only saw Jack for a few minutes in the office. I was with him 24/7. It’s always a shock to discover your child has a chronic health condition, even if it’s a common, easily treatable one. How did you find out your child had asthma?
See you next time,