Toddlers and AsthmaBeth Anne Ballance
I have asthma, which is a chronic (read: incurable) lung disease where passageways become restricted until the person literally cannot breathe. It’s really not a fun disease because in two minutes I can go from breathing easy to drowning in CO2 and mucus. Lovely mental image, right? Luckily, I come from a long line of asthmatics and we’re very well-versed in how to care for it. I carry a rescue inhaler on me at all times and I use a daily steroid like Advair, which keeps inflammation down. In emergencies, I use a nebulizer which steams medication directly into my lungs.
Nebulizing is my least favorite part of asthma. It gives me the shakes and keeps me up all night and the machine is loud, so it’s not even like I can chill out with House Hunters while I do treatments.
My biggest fear is how my asthma will effect Harrison and even more, that he will be asthmatic. The other night I had an asthma attack and it terrified Harrison to see me sick and coughing and struggling to breathe. (some asthmatics wheeze, but I cough. loud, horribly, barking, desperate-sounding.)
I don’t want my child to remember me like that. After my lungs calmed down a bit, I smiled at him over the nebulizer and curled him into my lap. I let the steam blow on his face quickly and after a minute, he seemed fine again. We explained that it’s just medicine for Momma to make her chest feel better.
He’s had a “daycare cough” now for a while and when I lie awake at night and hear him cough, fear pierces my heart. What if that cough is asthma? What if I have to put my little boy on a nebulizer, something I hate so much? What if I have to worry about whether or not he has his inhaler, training him to use it, worrying if he’ll recognize the symptoms? I worry if I will ever have to take him to the ER because he can’t breathe and my heart just clutches. I know his odds of developing it are good in our family, especially as a male. I’m just hoping Doug’s genes rule since there is no asthma on his side.
I don’t know how my mother did it with two asthmatic children. I just hope I never have to find out.
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