Tag Archives: asthma

She Says… Boogers x2

It was inevitable.

Emmett was bound to get sick earlier than Owen did. He’s constantly accosted by his brother who can’t keep his germy little hands off of him. He’s gone to daycare once a week for 3 weeks. It’s the beginning of fall when all of these lovely illnesses come out of hiding.

photo 2

Still, though, I didn’t think it would happen SO SOON. The day that Emmett hit 3 months last week (monthly post to come… someday…) I started to hear the telltale grunting/snorting/snuffling when he nursed like his nose was stuffed up. Owen had the same. The next day it had migrated to both of their chests — a thick, mucus-y cough. Red around the eyes (“sick eyes” as we call them). No fevers and they were both pretty happy and playing normally, so really nothing to do but wait it out.

Since Owen’s asthma diagnosis we’ve kept a close eye on any and all respiratory bugs, as in the past they almost always got super serious and morphed into bronchialitis, pneumonia and an ear infection very quickly. Now we have an asthma action plan that includes starting up his inhalers at the first signs of a cough. It has helped IMMENSELY and dramatically cut down on the number of illnesses he had last winter. So last week when the cough started, I knew exactly what to do. After 2 days of “puffs”, he’s cleared up and feeling fine. Magic.

Nebulizer-2(1)

Having one asthma kid has put me on high alert for similar symptoms in Emmett. With Owen, now I know the sound and rate of his breathing and when/how to intervene. But I have no experience with a 3 month old getting sick, and Emmett is a completely different kid with a completely different body that I just don’t know as intimately yet.

By Monday Owen was still complaining of ear pain (he said, “I have an ear ninfection”, and he’s always been right when he’s said that in the past) and Emmett’s cough was still pretty thick, so I felt it was the right time to head to the doctor. Unfortunately I didn’t make the call until afternoon nap time so the only appointment they had available was 6:15pm. RIGHT AT BATHTIME. And I was home alone since Benjamin was traveling again. Of course. Still, I wanted to make sure both kids were ok, so we made it work.

The doc said Owen’s ear was dull and inflamed but not infected, so there wasn’t really anything to do except some Motrin if needed. His lungs were clear. Similar situation with Emmett — gunk seemed to be all in his upper respiratory area, not in his lungs, so no sign of his brother’s asthma (yet). Tylenol if needed and lots of hydration and humidifying.

I had already started humidifying over the weekend, hence the fire alarm scare. Since I couldn’t use the humidifier overnight for Emmett again, I decided to get out Owen’s old nebulizer from when he was a baby (he has since graduated to an inhaler and spacer) to give Emmett some saline-only treatment.

photo 3

Guess who wanted in on the “fun fish face”? The kid who I used to have to wrestle to the ground to administer his treatments. My how times have changed. Unlike his brother, Emmett sat totally calmly and quietly while I held the mask in front of his face. Like he was at the spa or something.

Owen is feeling almost all better again (thank goodness for asthma medicine!) and Emmett won’t be far behind.

I think we’ve made it through our first double illness. While I’m sure there will be many more, I’m proud of (and exhausted from) handling two sick kiddos all by myself for several days. Sickness + fire alarms = NOT a lot of sleep for this mama recently, but we’re on the up and up.

She Says… Pile Up

I got “the call” from daycare yesterday afternoon. Owen had a fever over 102 after his nap.

In pure Owen fashion he was all smiles and acting fine, but when I picked him up I could see the puffy/red eyes and low energy level that always tells me when he’s not feeling well. The first thing he said was, “I get to watch tv? And drink warm water with honey and lemon?”. Ha!

(The answer was yes to both.).

Due to the high fever yesterday, he couldn’t go to school today. Fortunately I can work from home today and get almost all of my work done during naptime and after Owen goes to bed. Phew.

He’s been battling some serious congestion for the last week or so (as have I… mine is still lingering from my flu/sinus infection so many weeks ago), so I wasn’t actually surprised that it finally caught up with him and turned into something. It seems like a run-of-the-mill cold, but any parent of a kid with asthma will tell you that asthma can turn even the most minor cold into something very serious very quickly. At this point I’ve been through enough respiratory infections to know what to listen for, and although his breathing sounded a little thin, there was no wheezing or retractions. I also know better than to consider us “in the clear”, though, so I watched him really carefully.

Nebulizer-2

After a strict regimen of inhalers, nebulizers, humidifiers and lots of warm water with honey and lemon (a new favorite “treat” since I’ve been drinking a lot of tea to get rid of my own post-nasal drip), he seems to be doing a bit better. Lots of congestion, but his fever is down and his asthma seems under control, so I don’t feel the need to take him to the doctor.

Nebulizer-1

Well, except to MY doctor. My gestational diabetes test is this afternoon. You know, the one I’ve been stressing over. You know, the one where you have to wait for over an hour just to get blood drawn after drinking the sugary drink. You know, like, the hardest appointment ever to have to bring an under-the-weather 2 year old to. Where he’ll be forced to sit in a doctor’s waiting room for an excruciatingly long time, undoubtedly gathering more germs than he’s bringing in, while we wait.

Also? How cruel is it to schedule a gestational diabetes test late in the afternoon? When I was pregnant with Owen I did it first thing in the morning and had just protein for breakfast. No chance to screw up the test with carbs/sugar. Now I’ve had to eat all day (some people even fast to make sure they don’t screw up the results… but I would be crazy to fast all day, especially while pregnant!) and I’m about a million times more worried about the test than I even was before. Oh joy.

So, off to get 8 hours of work done in a 2.5 hour naptime. The clock starts… now.

Send me happy, low blood sugar thoughts for this afternoon!

She Says… Ill-Timed Illness

Christmas 2012-1

Yesterday was one of the roughest days in parenting I’ve ever had. I mean, I’m sure there were worse days in those early months when sleep never comes and you rock for hours and barely have time for a shower between feedings and, well, feedings. But you guys? Yesterday was HARD.

And it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that it was Christmas.

Christmas 2012-2

Remember that stomach bug from Friday? Yeah. That happened. And although it was relatively minor in terms of puking (once at school and once in our car on the way home from the doctor), it was the first of a series of events that led us to The Hardest Day Ever.

Christmas 2012-3

Saturday morning Owen’s stomach was relatively back to normal. He had a little cough and some extra boogers, but I figured just a little cold that was the tail end of the stomach bug. We had an ok day (shot our entire Christmas video, which was no small feat), but by the end of the day I could tell Owen wasn’t feeling well again. He kept mentioning his stomach, but I could see by his watery eyes and thick cough that we were on the verge of his usual asthma-induced respiratory infection as well. By Sunday morning it was full blown. I could hear a wheeze, his airway was constricted, his cough was raspy and wet, and our emergency albuterol inhaler was doing little to help any of those symptoms. I did what I always do in this situation and schlepped us all to the doctor. That won us Owen’s 4th (FOURTH!!!) chest x-ray in his short little life, and a diagnosis of an asthma flare-up likely brought on by the germs the stomach bug let in.

Just in time for Christmas.

Christmas 2012-4

We left with a prescription for two medicines — one for a nasty ear infection that had mysteriously popped up between Friday’s doctor’s appointment and Sunday’s, and another sort of emergency treatment (stronger than what we normally give him) for the lung/breathing issues. I hate to dose him up with so many meds, but I felt confident that we really needed them this time. Owen rarely, if ever, acts sick at all, and on Sunday he was at his most pitiful. Just so uncomfortable and sad.

Christmas 2012-5

I thought at that point that it couldn’t get any worse. That once he got the first few doses of that medicine, he’d be feeling better immediately.

But I was wrong.

Christmas 2012-6

Monday he went downhill. The medicine seemed to help his asthma, but his cough was still really bad and one of the two medicines (or the combination of the two) wreaked havoc on his system. He was stricken with nearly constant diarrhea, his attitude was all over the map (this must be what it’s like to have a schizophrenic child — his emotional state was off the charts in every direction), and he suffered from incredibly uncharacteristic insomnia.

Christmas 2012-7

By Christmas the diarrhea was even worse (which I didn’t think was possible), and he was barely eating or drinking because his body was such a mess. His insomnia had caused a sleep debt that was turning him into a maniac, and I wasn’t far behind. Thanks to lots of amazing presents and seeing lots of family, we made it through. Barely.

Thankfully, even amidst the drama of the illness, there were wonderful, happy moments of what Christmas with a two year old should be like (as you can see from these pictures!). The magic of Christmas is a powerful thing.

Christmas 2012-8

Today was far better, as we stuck religiously to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, with probiotics added to just about everything for good measure). He started sleeping a little more and we saw glimpses of his happy little personality coming back.

Christmas 2012-10

Unfortunately now the diarrhea has given way to the most atrocious diaper rash I’ve ever seen in my life, so even though his stomach is feeling a bit better, he screams in pain whenever we even discuss the idea of a diaper change. It’s so, so sad to know how much it hurts him, but we have to keep applying ointment and rinsing.

Christmas 2012-11

This too shall pass. I know. But damn. This part is HARD.

She Says… It’s Just a Phase (Right?)

First of all I have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who commented, tweeted to me or wrote me an email in response to my last post about the possibility of Owen having asthma. His wheezing is 99.9% gone, thanks to a weekend of nebulizer treatments every 4 hours and although some congestion remains in his chest, he seems like he’s feeling fine. Most importantly your stories reminded me that there are FAR bigger things in the world to worry about, and even if he has to live with asthma, it doesn’t have to negatively impact his life! He’s going to be a happy, healthy kid, with or without a little eczema here and there or asthma once in awhile. And chances are good he could still grow out of all these little issues and I’ll forget all about this nonsense.

Instead of wrapping myself up in what ifs, I’m going to try my best to stop analyzing his skin for dry patches, stop rehashing in my head everything that passes through his lips and just let it be. The worst case scenario is that he eats a food that he is intolerant of, and the eczema returns. Not such a huge deal since we know how to treat it and manage it.

Moving on.

Now I’ll let you in on his latest phase. Ahem, emphasis on the word phase because THIS IS JUST A PHASE, RIGHT?! I guess I knew this day would come. He was bound to break out of his angelic little “go with the flow” attitude once in awhile. I think it’s called demonstrating independence, or becoming a big boy, or growing up or something silly like that.

Bathtime and bedtime used to be precious, happy moments of quiet playtime and snuggles and lotion massages and pajamas and the sweet smell of clean baby and slow bottle drinking and lullabies. Now it’s more like wrestling a greased pig to the ground and trying to hold a hurricane in my lap long enough to drain a bottle.

Let’s start with the bath: Now that Owen has learned to stand up, he wants to do it all the time. All day long, all he wants to do is pull up and stand and walk. Apparently the bath is no different. As soon as his little butt hits the tub, he’s pulling up on the wall and standing and trying to walk. Obviously this is incredibly dangerous in a tub filled with water, so I’ve taken to taking off my shirt (or letting it get soaked) and wrapping one arm around him while I try to get him to sit back down safely. No dice. He locks his rock hard legs and flat out refuses to sit down. He’s been practicing this refusal to sit for several months now, but it comes in particularly handy in the bath. The more I try to respond with a firm, “No.” and making him sit (thinking I’m being all calm and controlled and using this as a teachable moment), he grins and laughs. Apparently “No.” is the funniest thing he’s heard all day.

Once I slap enough soap on his body to call it a bath, we head to his nursery for what used to be a lovely little ritual of lotion and singing and love pats and kisses. As soon as I lay him down on his back, there are tears. Tears and wails such that I never, ever hear any other time of day. I haven’t really heard Owen cry much beyond an “I bumped my head” whine in months. MONTHS. And now, every night, as soon as I lay him down on the changing table… tears. I try to get a diaper on him while he tries his best to flip over and crawl away. I’m lucky if I get a handful of lotion on him before stuffing him into his pajamas. Last night I started doing this part on the floor and allowing him to stand so that he wouldn’t scream, but it is HARD to put a diaper and footie pajamas on a standing child!

As soon as we’re sitting in the rocking chair and he’s drinking his bottle, all is right with the world. You would think the child is starving, except that he eats a big dinner (his 3rd solid meal of the day) about an hour prior. Since I am a Weissbluth believer, I thought maybe he was overtired. But we’ve had the same bedtime for months and he’s had the same naps as usual recently. His awake time prior to bedtime is usually not more than 3 hours. I moved it up by 15 minutes, didn’t help. Moved it later by 15 minutes, didn’t help. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that his nursery is brighter because the spring/summer sun shines through his blinds brighter than it has in the winter. Not sure about that theory yet. I thought maybe he was getting another tooth and Ibuprofen would help. Didn’t help (although, to his credit, I gave it right before his bath so it didn’t have time to work before that fussy time).

At least once the bottle is gone he goes right to sleep like a little angel, so it’s just the post-bath/pre-bottle time period that is so strangely fussy. Any ideas that I haven’t thought of on what might be bugging him? Anyone else dealt with this phase? Tell me it’s just a phase, please? :)

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!