Catching His Breath - A tale of Childhood Asthma
Eli was having A DAY, today. The whine is strong with that one. Almost every sentence he uttered was spoken with a pouting drawl; he took offense to every little thing. When he wasn’t whining, he was wailing. Sitting in his room bawling about the unfairness of not being able to steal toys from the baby. Or not being allowed to turn off the TV when Kadon was watching it. Life is rough, I tell ya.
Usually when he’s having “one of those days” (and really, even when he isn't), it means this mommy is spending a lot of time cleaning up puke. As many of you know, Eli has had issues with breathing since… well, birth. Any crying leads to coughing, which leads to puking, which leads to me cleaning it up or trying to forestall his tirades instantaneously – which is interesting when said child has a fuse about half a millimeter long.
Last month Eli was officially diagnosed with asthma at an asthma and allergy specialist clinic in Edmonton. He was also tested for various allergens, and those tests came back negative. Because of that, he has an 85% chance of outgrowing his asthma before the age of six.
I had many people tell me not to bother pursuing a diagnosis since he is so young. I was told it’s not even diagnosed until they are over six, and that there’s nothing really done about it. I am so glad I didn’t listen! The doctor I talked to told me one of the most frustrating things in his line of work is the myth that childhood asthma cannot be diagnosed, treated, and controlled. When I arrived, I had no delusions of grandeur of Eli suddenly being able to run around or cry without it leading to him not being able to catch his breath and vomiting everywhere. I just wanted a diagnosis, and maybe something that would help, even a little.
I so loved being wrong! This doctor gave us a plan, direction, and the hope that Eli can enjoy a normal childhood. I can’t even begin to express how happy I am that we now have an Asthma Action Plan. Eli takes his QVAR inhaler in the morning and evening. He still has his other inhaler for any asthma attacks, or if I want to give it to him before any strenuous activities that usually would trigger an attack.
A couple weeks ago Kadon randomly came up to me and said with a bit of awe, “You know what, Mommy? Eli can run.”
And then at a playdate while we were walking to a park, I noticed again. I never had to tell him to slow down, or give him his inhaler, or take him to the bushes to lose his lunch.
Last week a friend set up a slip’n’slide. He ran up and slid down time after time. He never coughed once. Other kids offended his sensibilities and he cried and freaked out… but never coughed.
Today, a day where I was literally staring at the clock, willing bedtime to hurry up, I did not clean up puke once. I didn’t run for his inhaler. He whined, he cried, he sobbed, he sat in his bedroom and wailed for 10 minutes before coming and eating his supper. And we let him. Because he was just crying. No coughing. No gagging. He can breathe!
I am so happy for my little guy. My only regret is I wish I would have pushed for this sooner. The specialist said he could have been on this action plan for awhile already. So, if you have any inkling that your kid may have childhood asthma, don’t let anyone tell you not to take any action. Sure, they may outgrow it, but why should they have to suffer until they are six? I so hope Eli is in that 85% and that he won’t have to live with asthma forever. But right now, because of the miracle of medicine, he can act like any other kid and run, play hard, and meltdown… and still be able to breathe.