She Says… Deja Vu

Biiiig sigh. We’re back at the doctor’s again. And not for a well visit.

Remember this day, when I said that we would try to make it to our 9 month well visit without another doctor’s appointment? Well, we did it. By the skin of our teeth. At our well visit on Monday the doctor heard Owen’s [persistent and ubiquitous] cough. She said, “Oh, is he sick?” and I said, “Nah, he’s had that cough since he started daycare in January. It doesn’t bother him and it hasn’t gotten better or worse.” She listened to his breathing and said, “Well, if he starts wheezing, let me know.” Got it, doc. Haven’t heard a wheeze since his bout with pneumonia.

Cue the wheezing Wednesday morning… a mere 48 hours after leaving the doctor’s office.

I heard a slight wheeze Wednesday morning, but he didn’t have a fever and was in great spirits, so I waited and listened before calling the doc. Didn’t want to rush to the doctor for no good reason. Also, I was beginning to feel so sick I could barely see straight. A sore throat had morphed into an all-consuming illness with high fever, chills, horrendous body aches and a feeling like a knife was slicing through my throat every time I swallowed. After an urgent trip to the doctor myself, turned out I have strep throat. Man, strep is NASTY when you get it as an adult!

By Thursday Owen’s wheeze was louder and he was running a fever, so we made the call and got a late afternoon doc appointment. Deja vu. Oh how many times we’ve been there recently!

I have had a work event yesterday and today, so Benjamin was on doctor duty, as I couldn’t get away. Which I hate. I want to be the one holding the sick baby and asking the questions and giving the rundown of all the little symptoms I noticed that led up to the appointment. It’s not that I don’t trust Benjamin; far from it. He is wonderfully sweet with Owen and knows just what to do. But I’m the one who likes to hear the diagnosis from the doctor’s mouth, and to be the one explaining what’s going on. I notice little things about Owen that sometimes Benjamin doesn’t, and in the past some of those little things have really helped us identify underlying issues.

But alas, duty called this time, and I felt the sting of being a mother who works outside the house and had a responsibility to stay at work this time. I’ll be honest… a few tears were shed while I waited impatiently for phone calls from Benjamin updating me on the appointment and the diagnosis.

Bottom line: Owen has an upper respiratory infection and is wheezing again. We’re back doing the albuterol nebulizer breathing treatments every 4 hours that we did when he had pneumonia, and are also using a long-term inhaled steroid (pulmicort) daily to keep his asthma under control. The unfortunate part about this is that since it’s the 2nd time we’ve seen this asthmatic breathing, we may need to have some larger discussions about Owen being “an asthmatic child”, rather than just dealing with each instance discreetly. I have another appointment with our regular pediatrician in a week or two to have this discussion. The idea of Owen having asthma for the rest of his life scares the crap out of me, but it may not be as bad as my brain is making it out to be. Plenty of kids have childhood asthma and they grow out of it and into perfectly healthy little people.

But apparently eczema, allergies and asthma all go together in a sad little triad. And Owen demonstrates all 3.

Wah. How did two perfectly healthy people have a baby plagued with so many issues?! I know that doesn’t really have much to do with it, and we’re doing everything we can to treat each of these issues, but it still makes me sad.

Anyone out there dealt with childhood asthma? Tell me happy stories!

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14 responses to “She Says… Deja Vu

  1. I’m 29 and had all three as a child and still have them today. Much like Owen, neither of my parents or extended family have any issues with this either. It’s really not that bad though. You just make adjustments like always having an inhaler on hand. Eczema flares up seasonally for me so steriod creams get used occassionally. I’ve gotten allergy shots on and off b/c my allergies are environmental and to animals, not food. Seasonally I take OTC medicines like Zyrtec or Allegra to deal with the worst times. All this to say, unless the allergies and asthma are extremely severe, it’s usually manageable and doesn’t impact normal life too much. I’m healthy and exercise actively despite allergies & asthma. One of the three tends to trigger another but once you realize the connection and know the best treatment all is good. Of course many kids out grow this as you mentioned, I just wasn’t one of them. Hopefully Owen does, but if not it’s not something to worry too much about! Good luck!

  2. I was diagnosed with asthma in middle school, but I suspect it was an issue through elementary school that went undiagnosed.

    The only lasting challenge it has presented me with has been shortness of breath when I am anxious and stressed or ill. When I was younger, it was controlled well by medication, and as an adult, I rarely need an inhaler or prescription drugs. I was a competitive synchronized swimmer through high school and college which, albeit nerdy, required lots of breath control, endurance, etc., and my asthma was rarely an issue and never a serious one.

    As a mother, I understand how scary a potential asthma diagnosis must be, but know that even if Owen has asthma, everything will most likely still be okay.

  3. I have!

    I was diagnosed with allergies as a toddler and asthma in elementary school. It rarely caused me any trouble– I typically got 2-4 bad upper respiratory infections a year which required an albuterol inhalor, an oral steriod, a steriod inhaler & nebulizer treatments. (Insurance eventually paid for the nebulizer machine b/c the doctor’s office had to rent me one so often.) The problem seemed to be seasonal– It would always act up in the Spring & Fall.

    But overall, it really didn’t effect my life– I took my steriod inhalor at home, I carried my albuterol inhaler in my backpack (along with an epi pen in case of a severe allergic reation) and that was that. I missed some school for the respiratory infections and I got out of breath easily in gym class, but otherwise, it was a non-issue.

    It seems that I’ve mostly outgrown it as an adult– it acts up every few years at this point. I’ve been careful to keep my inhalor close by while pregnant.

    It sounds like the allergies are mild & here’s hoping that if he’s diagnosed with asthma, that’s also mild!!

  4. My infant-hood sounded a lot like Owen’s – I had exczema, allergies, and LOTS of upper respiratory infections. The exczema comes and goes once a year, but never anything that Eucerin for a couple days can’t handle. The allergies are the same way – I have just learned to adjust come pollen season (which unfortunately is right now). The asthma/respiratory issues have been the worst with me, but never stopped me from being an active child or participating in sports my entire life. My biggest issue was chronic sinus infections, which would last 7-12 days and happen every 3-4 weeks. The WORST – until some enlightened doctor realized that a tonsillectomy would do the trick, and two years later (yes, tonsils out at 24) no respiratory issues whatsoever. Good luck with Owen!!

  5. My childhood best friend had asthma since he was a toddler/ baby. He takes meds everyday and has a breathing machine at his home in case he needs it, but he’s perfectly healthy otherwise. We did everything together and he still participated in gym class with us. We’re both 23 now and we still hang out at times. He’s working at a school and I’m a SAHM. He has pet allergies, too. Other than those things, he always been normal and happy. :) Actually it seems better the older he gets-or that’s because meds keep getting better. Idk.

  6. Hope you both feel better soon! Hang in there. Get some of this beautiful spring fresh air this weekend. That will make you guys better! :)

  7. Poor you! Seriously, you need a gold star or a big glass of wine for what you’ve dealt with lately. My baby has never had a cough, so I can’t help, but don’t most kids grow out of asthma? I know my BF’s fiance had horrible asthma as a child and he ran the Boston Marathon last year, so he obviously got over it. :)

    I hope you feel better soon and little Owen’s cough goes away! I think it’s your husband’s turn to get sick next time, Owen needs to stop hogging it :)

  8. Wow, our son’s stories with the ‘allergies, excema, and asthma’ are similar. Mine had all 3, and now he is 3 years old and only has 1 food allergy left (egg), very mild excema, and (drumroll) has been asthma free for over a year now! He had bad RSV as an infant, and weezed after that during every (and there were a lot the first year of daycare) illness, now the breathing machine is tucked away in the closet!

  9. The Laundry Lady

    People have shared some very encouraging stories, but I thought I would add one more. My father has had asthma since he was a child. There wasn’t much to treat it in the 1960’s either. Unfortunately, a child with asthma and two parents who were heavy smokers was not a helpful combination. He now takes Singular and keeps an inhaler handy, which he rarely needs. Prior to the advent of Singular his inhaler usually kept things in check. He is incredibly active, he still runs almost every day at 55 and ran his first half marathon last year. During my childhood, he rarely had an asthma attack in spite of being a competitive cyclist and riding his bike to work each day. Asthma can be very scary, but fortunately for many in can be mild and managed if proper precautions are observed. There are many famous athletes who have asthma, but thanks to modern treatments and medications, have long and successful careers. So many variables exist in the first two or three years of life that often work themselves out later. I even had an onion allergy that materialized during puberty and disappeared during pregnancy and remained dormant even after the birth of my daughter. Sounds like you are trying to deal with this the best you can. Best of luck.

  10. Omg, Kate. I could have written this post myself. I just blogged about it this morning! Ryan has been coughing/congested/etc for weeks but I chalked it up to normal daycare germs. Turns out, he’s wheezing (but only slightly – you can only hear it with a stethoscope). Doctor found it at a check up on Wednesday (not a well-baby, but a check out to see if his ear infection is gone yet… which it’s not. But almost. Le sigh.). Our ped also dropped “asthma” into the conversation and also said how eczema (which he has), allergies and asthma go hand-in-hand. We have a lot of family history of eczema and asthma, on my side. I have eczema and know how much it sucks, how much of a daily frustration it can be, which makes me feel so bad for Ryan. And the thought of him being asthmatic? Kind of freaks me out. But we don’t know enough yet or have enough of a diagnosis to really know what we’re dealing with yet.

  11. parentcollective

    I had childhood asthma from about 2 years old. My parents hoped I would grow out of it but at 27 I’ve still got asthma. I take ventolin and seretide morning and night and in between I can do just about anything I want.

    I don’t feel that my asthma has limited my life. I was a successful springboard diver, played water polo, ran, did a triathlon, abseiling, bush-walking, overseas travel, got married and had two kids. All with asthma.

    In fact, it may have been because of my asthma that I took an interest in science and medicine, studying it at uni and eventually working in research and even now being guided by the principals of science in my everyday life.

    At 9 months old, Owen is so young he could very well grow out of his asthma and allergies, and if he doesn’t, it’s not such a bad thing.

  12. Awww Kate, that’s awful! You guys can’t catch a break. I hope you both feel better real soon and that Owen’s asthma issues are not ongoing :-(

  13. Yeah – me too. Eldest child had childhood asthma and was allergic to just about everything. Had a puffer that he used when playing sports, swimming or at certain times of the year. After several years of weekly allergy shots he appears to be rid of most of his allergies – just “hay fever” now, which most of the family has. Hubby is lactose intolerant and I am celiac – my mother always wondered where the problems came from since “nobody in our family had allergies”. So claimed hubby’s family as well. Well – either they didn’t know about them or modern times with all the chemicals and pollutants have made us more vulnerable. Still – none of these allergies has really interfered with our lives except for inconvenience now and then.

  14. My husband was on doctor duty last week, and I hate that too. Somehow it seems the mama should be the one there for those types of events! I was sharing my woes with a co-worker and she confided in me that she actually made her husband video tape the one dr. apt he went to in her place…at least we didn’t go that far! (or did you ? :)
    Anyhow, I hope little Owen pulls through all of this without any long-term issues. Poor kiddo!

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