She Says… Pulmonologist – Check!

Owen walks the line between “a normal kid who gets sick a lot” and “a kid who gets sick so often there may be a larger underlying cause that we haven’t yet unearthed”. When our pediatrician suggested we see a pulmonologist (lung specialist) after Owen’s 3rd bout of pneumonia, I was worried. Well, I was both worried about them finding something gravely wrong, and relieved, because I have been thinking about this for at least the last few months, and a trip to the specialist would finally put my mind at rest.

A little Googling about pulmonologists and asthma and pneumonia and recurrent respiratory infections had me tossing all kinds of scary words around my head. Cystic fibrosis, autoimmune disorders, etc. I banned Benjamin from Googling entirely because I knew he would be overwhelmed by what he read. But my pediatrician put my mind at ease when he assured me that Owen didn’t fit the picture of a child with any of these illnesses. The kid is thriving. He’s growing in the 75th %ile, he’s running and jumping and climbing. He’s talking and laughing and stacking blocks. He has a wicked sense of humor and a unique personality. He is, in a word, perfect. You know, except for the whole “getting sick a lot” stuff.

So by the time this appointment rolled around, I wasn’t nervous at all.

Until we pulled into the parking lot.

And there we were, at Children’s Hospital. Healthy, happy, normal kids don’t find themselves at Children’s Hospital on a random Friday. Do they?

Benjamin is the worrywart of the two of us, so when we’re in a scary situation, I usually have to suck it up and play totally cool so that he doesn’t fall apart. Relationships are all about balance, right? Sometimes he’s the rock, and sometimes I am. We seem to take turns. When he’s misty-eyed, I am all business. And so it was this morning.

To be honest, though, the appointment was… nothing. Owen got weighed and had his blood pressure and oxygen levels taken. When we met with the doctor, she asked us a million questions, starting with Owen’s birth. It was an incredibly comprehensive visit. We talked about everything; even those things I always say, “This probably isn’t related, but…” about. She listened to Owen’s breathing and looked carefully at his 4 previous chest x-rays. His lungs sound great today!
He’s so active! And so smart!

She taught me a lot about asthma. And kids with asthma. And how to treat asthma. And respiratory infections. And what we can do to prevent them and support Owen’s immune system through them. We decided on a new course of treatment that will address his asthma. In three months we’ll see her again to check-in. Hopefully at that point Owen will not have had pneumonia again and we can do a clean chest x-ray.

Everything that she said resonated 100% with what our pedi had said to me in the past, which really made me feel like Owen is in incredible hands with his current doctor. The pulmonologist even went out of her way to say that our doctor has done everything right and has treated Owen exactly as she would have. That meant a lot to me, because since I am not the expert in this case, I’m always questioning if the path we’re taking is the best one.

I won’t go into the details of Owen’s health and treatment since that is between us and his doctors, but I will say that the specialist felt confident there was no need to go into further immune testing at this point. She puts Owen firmly in the “normal kid who gets sick a lot” camp. That is great news!

Now I believe it. No more Googling. No more worrying.

 

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9 responses to “She Says… Pulmonologist – Check!

  1. That’s so great!! Very happy you got some good, reassuring news. Good luck with the new treatment plan.

  2. I loved my experience with Children’s Hospital (for Faith’s milk protein allergy). Everything is so well run there and they make you feel like you’re the only patient they have to see all day (and we’ve been there 3 times and every time was the same).

    I’m glad Owen is perfect. :)

  3. that’s great news, Kate! I’m glad your worries about his lungs have been put to rest. I hope he stays healthy through the holidays!

  4. Glad to hear it all went well!!!!! I felt the same way pulling into the parking garage at our Children’s Hospital. Feelings such as, “wow is this for real”. We were sent there for tests I thought were uneccessary. Even the lady doing the tests was like, “oh so he’s had this or this or this?” and I said “no” to every question. Cost us $700 but like you, we’ve got peace of mind now [I guess].

  5. Great news for Owen!!! I was one of those kids who got sick a lot (upper respiratory infections every 3-4 weeks for 12 years? check.) My parents did everything – we went to a pulmonologist, ENT, allergist, and I think even a rheumatologist, and it wasn’t until I was 24 that I had a doctor have a moment of clarity, and realize I had had chronic atypical tonsillitis (no fever or typical symptoms, but really enlarged tonsils hiding MASSIVE pockets of infection). since then, one respiratory infection in three years, and that was just as much stress from starting law school than anything else.

  6. So glad to hear that the bottom line is that Owen is well. Hope the new asthma treatment is helpful.

    Children’s is quite a place. Obviously I spent a LOT of time there, mostly on the inpatient side, but we’ve been back for any number of appointments. On the one hand, most of the kids who go through those doors are either healthy or have something relatively minor or transient. And yet, they also see the serious and exceptional cases. I always felt like, I could look to my left and think, “what are you even DOING here? What do you have, a sniffle?” Someone who looked so healthy and developmentally normal, I just shook my head. And yet, I could look to my right and think, “oh, thank goodness my kid doesn’t have to deal with THAT.” And you’re almost embarrassed at how good you’ve got it.

    It’s a strange place. A great one, certainly, but strange.

  7. Wonderful news! I’m so glad that you had a good experience and that everything checked out ok. Here’s to hoping that the next three months are free of illness!

  8. insomniac mama tonight

    kate-that is such great news! I’m just a loyal reader but my daughter saw a pulmonologist for about a year after she was born due to major respiratory issues & retractions when she was born. I am so glad you had a great experience and feel comfortable. It sounds like you guys had a good and comprehensive checkup. I found it to be helpful in b/w the 3 month checkups to write down my random worries in relation to her breathing/lungs and then just bring them to the appt–b/c I could never could remember my questions once I got to the doctor’s office! And they tested her for everything (she got a sweat test for CF too). It’s scary stuff, it really is. Thankful everyday that we are doing fine now. But I am so glad to hear Owen is doing great, his lungs sound good, and hopefully no more sicknesses for awhile!!! Feel free to message me if you want detes. :)

  9. Thank you so much, ladies! Yes, it was a huge load off. On to worrying about other things now :)

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