Being the mother of an Asthmatic

Thankless is generally a word used to describe motherhood. Now just add, terrified, worried, sleepless, RN in training and you have a mother to a child with asthma. 

Asthma affects around 24 million Americans. 4% adults and 8.6% children. (source) that’s a pretty large number. And generally it isn’t just asthma.. It’s allergies, skin conditions. All kinds of things go along with it. 

It can be truly terrifying when you see your child struggling to breathe. And it can change quickly from scary to a life threatening situation. 

For us, our biggest trigger is viral infections of any kind a.k.a fall time in  preschool. The second the seasons start to shift, the kids end up with runny noses and little coughs, but for S, it quickly turns into a more. This past hospitalization happened in the matter of 24 hours.  

On Friday morning I dropped her off at preschool, by Friday evening when Mike had picked her up, I could tell she was getting a runny nose and starting down the asthma spiral. We spent Saturday together playing and celebrating Halloween with parties galore. By Saturday night I could tell this wasn’t just a runny nose anymore. We did her nebulizer treatment, her regular inhaler and her long term control inhaler, Set her up with a cool mist humidifier and tucked her into bed, only hoping that Sunday she’d wake with less Signs of the looming asthma nightmare that was on our herizon.  

No luck.  

Sundays I almost always work, with football on TV all day, the bar tends to be busier and we need someone we can handle it. So I was up early getting ready for work when I heard her come upstairs struggling to breathe.  My heart always just drops the second I hear the strain in her little lungs. 

 We did our proper course of treatment for her little lungs and it really seemed to perk her up. She seemed much better but not 100%. I knew it would be an every 4 hours kind of day and that we could not slip up or the results would be bad. I told mike everything and he  spend the day trying to combat her asthma. 

By the time I got home from work she seemed better. Although she hasn’t really done much except lounge around all day so I was hoping we were in the clear. In less than an hour, it all changed. 

Fast forward to Wednesday and we have been in the hospital far too long. 

I don’t know why, I don’t know how. But somehow her asthma is just unstoppable. It takes so much and it just doesn’t stop. 

We spent all of Sunday evening in the urgent care of children’s hospital with a continuous abuterol treatment on. At 5 a.m. they admitted us. I had secretly hoped we’d be out by Monday evening, but it was a no go. She started to show improvements and it looked like she’s was going down the recovery path. Then, all of a sudden, we are being evaluated every 2 hours again and now they’re talking about fluid in her lungs. 

Having a child with a chronic illness can be really draining on the mom.  It’s exhausting to see your child in pain. 

People judge you for how often your child is sick. They judge that your back in the hospital.  You can feel the judgment when you tell someone your child is back in the hospital. It’s rough. They automatically think that it’s the parents fault. Asthma should be controlled right? Wrong. It’s not always that easy. It takes a while to get a condition such as this one under control.
Living as the mother of a spoonie has been a great challenge. It has also made me a really great investigater as well as being fairly adaptable. 

I still do not have too many answers outside of the fact that she’s allergic to essential every environmental allergen there is, but I’m hopeful our new doctors at National Jewish will get this under control. 

My biggest and best advice I can give are as follows :

1. Learn your child’s warning signs..watch their breathing, listen to their voice and how it changes. Become an expert on the behavior of your child in his/her asmatic state. 

2. Do the allergy test. It’s so much more helpful knowing what possible triggers for your little one are. It could be anything. For us, even with all the allegies, it is always a viral infection that sets us on track for a hospital stay. 

3. Do your research. Read everything. Use Google. Ask other parents. Ask your doctors and nurses. Become a powerful investigator. Join moms groups of moms with the same allergens or disorders. 

4. Always seek out a second opinion if you aren’t getting the answers you want/need. I was honestly kind of nervous about asking my doctor for a referral to a different hospital, but she was great about it and super understanding of the direction we felt we needed to go. 

And last but not least..

Take care of yourself. Having a sick child can be very hard and you need to make sure you’re taking the best care of yourself as possible. Then, in the event of an emergency, you’ll feel more grounded and less scattered. 

For now friends, Shine Bright

xoSarah Lindenn 

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