Sunday, November 18, 2007

Catching our breath.

Asthma. Let me tell you, watching your child struggle to breathe while having very little you can do to help, is a nightmare.

Monkey had her first asthma attack before she was two. I remember how utterly horrifying it was to realize that my baby was wheezing. I will never forget trying to calm her through an oxygen mask, or trying to explain that she was going to be okay. I remember telling her not to cry, because she could make the breathing worse, and having to act like using an oxygen mask was fun. "It's a fishy mask! See, it looks like a fish. Put it on and let's breathe like the fishies do!" I shudder now with the memory of her struggle, and how unable I was to fix it. It still bothers me that my six year old is completely comfortable wearing an oxygen mask.

We have been working to get Monkey's asthma under control for what feels like forever, but we got to a point where we weaned her off her daily steroids and felt that things were good. She hadn't had an attack in over a year, she could run and play in the cold without a problem, she didn't have attacks during colds, things seemed fine.

Then last month we all caught a cold. We were all stuffy, runny, congested, and coughing up a storm. After a week or two, we were all better, except that at night, Monkey would cough. Then after a week or so of nighttime coughing, she would wheeze. Then we were back to home nebulizer treatments, but they were working after one treatment, and she had a recent cold, so we thought maybe we were still good.

Today, the treatments stopped working. She has had four treatments in the past 18 hours and is still wheezing. Granted, she isn't wheezing as badly, but I can't get the baseline wheeze to go away. I took her to the doctor, who gave her a decongestant with codeine in it, and told me to take her to the ER if her next attack couldn't be resolved within three treatments. If we have to do that, there will be chest x-rays, and most likely, a daily steroid treatment. right back to where we used be.

Thankfully, our doctor's daughter ,who is Monkey's age, has asthma, and this was the treatment that worked for her when she faced persistent cough and repeated wheezing. At least I know we have a good treatment option provided by a man who really understands.

However, if it doesn't "knock her cold out" as he hopes, we are right back to where we were over a year ago. Monkey will be back on a nightly steroid inhaler, and will likely face increased risk of asthma attacks during colds. I wonder, is the change environmental? Are the pets finally getting to her? Is the HEPA filter not helping? Is the change physical? Is she having more trouble because she grew into more asthma issues?

It is so frustrating. The home nebulizer helps with the sense of helplessness, but only when it works. When it doesn't, well, I am right back to watching my baby struggle to breathe.

5 comments:

Mom said...

Argh. There's a bear on your shoulder, Catt, and one on Miss Bear's shoulder as well. Call me tomorrow.
Love & hugs.

Catherine said...

As you know I am not a doctor. Nor do I play one on TV.

But I wonder, looking at your beautiful pictures, it looks like Marlena has sprouted recently. Could this be another form of growing pains? Could her insides not be developing as quickly as her outside? Of course, that doesn't offer treatment. But it might explain some of it away. Maybe?

I feel for you. Watching your child suffer and not be able to wave it all away with a kiss is not something that I hope to ever endure. Stay strong & creative - it's that spirit that's allowed Marlena to handle and accept what it takes to keep her illness under control and not let it run her life. I'm not sure I would have the sense to turn an oxygen mask into a scuba mask in the ER. I think I'd be looking for the valium.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Hang in there kiddo. Tell Marlena Caitlin sends hugs and kisses.

ellen said...

Hopefully once her cold clears up she'll be feeling fine again!

Amy Y said...

Sorry to hear about this ~ hope it's just because of the cold and that she's better very soon!

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