Back in December, Micah was diagnosed with asthma…and since then, it has been wreaking havoc in the quality of his day-to-day life. For the past two months, I have been anxious, sleep-deprived, depressed, and frustrated all boxed in together in one. I honestly think it would be a little easier if he was a bit older, but with him only being 2, he doesn’t understand that he has to take it easy sometimes and it makes it that much more difficult for me to manage and monitor it.
Micah started off just with a really bad cough. I assumed it was an upper respiratory infection, but I didn’t want to take the chance. I scheduled an appointment with his pediatrician for them to give him a quick check-up and ease my nerves. It turned out that I made a great call in bringing him to the doctor because he was 1-2 days away from being admitted to the hospital. He was wheezing heavily by the morning and he kept complaining that he couldn’t breathe. He would become easily exhausted with only a little bit of exertion.
His doctor confirmed that Micah had asthma…and a bad case of it too! And I caught it just in time to have it treated. We spent about an hour at the doctor’s office, where they administered his first breathing treatment and listened to his lungs. We then headed over to the lab to get a quick chest x-ray to make sure that everything was okay. Luckily, the treatment worked as it should and we were able to head home.
For the first two weeks, he was on an aggressive asthma care plan – breathing treatments every 2-3 hours, even at night while he was sleeping. I spent my days and nights looking at my watch and setting the alarm to make sure that I woke up to give him his treatments.
By the end of the two weeks, Micah was back to normal and we started our normal routine again – back to work for me, back to school for him. He was still on breathing treatments but only once a day versus every 2-3 hours. I would give him the one treatment in the evenings when we arrived home.
Micah had his first asthma flare in January…the drastic change in the weather triggered his asthma. It started up as just a dry cough and manifested into a full-blown cold. Within the span of 24 hours, he was wheezing all over again. I started his aggressive treatment again and within 48 hours, he was back to normal.
Micah had his second asthma flare in early February…this time, I recognized the signs and I was better prepared. I filled out all of the medical disclosure paperwork at his school and I requested that they provide him with a breathing treatment every 4 hours. I gave him one treatment in the morning, he would have 2 in school, and I would give him another before he went to sleep. It was going very well, and again within 48 hours, he was back to normal.
Since early February, both me and his teachers have been monitoring his asthma very carefully. We make sure that we pay attention to the triggers and provide him with his treatments as needed. It’s still difficult to know whether or not his father is following my guidelines since Micah normally returns from his house coughing and with a runny nose, but I just have to ensure that while he’s with me that everyone involved is part of his medical care.
Everything was going well until Micah had his third, but really bad flare, on Wednesday…it seemed to happen so quickly. His teachers told me that he was coughing throughout the day and they provided him with his treatment at both of the designated times; however, it didn’t seem to get better. I brought him home and gave him his nighttime treatment and still it didn’t seem to get any better. Then, he started to cough and it sounded like he was barking…crap, it’s croup. I called the after-care nurse for some advice – she recommended that I exposed Micah to steam by running a hot shower. That really helped; he seemed to be relaxing enough to fall asleep and he was breathing steadily. The instant I took him out of the bathroom, though, the coughing started back up and he complained that he couldn’t breathe. In between coughs, it sounded like he was struggling to breathe. He would attempt to say a word and start gasping and coughing. That was it for me – I was taking him to the ER.
I rushed him to the ER and they confirmed that he in fact had croup and it caused a full on asthma attack. That’s why he was gasping for air and struggling to breathe. I must admit, I was extremely scared; I never felt so alone in my life. I wished that someone could have been there for me at that time. Luckily, Micah was doing really well. He was so friendly, listening to all of the doctors and the nurses – they were really good with him and even put on Cars to distract him so we could speak about next steps. Surprisingly, Micah’s father arrived for a while and seemed to be as nervous as I felt. That made me feel a little better – it assured me that I wasn’t going crazy by feeling the way that I did. The nurse gave Micah a dose of steroids to open up his throat and allow him an easier time to breathe. And his father left shortly after he found out that Micah would be discharged.
We made it home late at night, and I wanted to just crash and go to sleep. Sleep came in spurts for Micah, but sleep never came for me. I was exhausted but I feared that I would fall asleep, miss his treatment time, or worse, I would wake up and he wasn’t breathing. It really scared me.
We stayed home on Thursday and Friday…we went back and forth to his doctor’s office and the ER on Thursday due to him not getting any better. They wanted to monitor him so we stayed in the ER for quite a while on Thursday. On Friday, we were extremely late to his 8:15am doctor’s appointment since I had finally fell asleep at 7:15am and was actually able to sleep for a little. We finally got to the appointment at 8:45am and luckily his doctor still saw us. Unfortunately, she confirmed that in addition to having croup, Micah also had a sinus and ear infection so I wasn’t that happy when we left. We stopped by the pharmacy, picked up his prescription, and went back home.
We’ve been in and out of sleep since then…honestly, I’m not even sure what day it is anymore. Either way, I’m really worried about Micah and his asthma. I would love to take it away from him so he doesn’t have to deal with this.
In addition to sharing his diagnosis, I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned since Micah has been diagnosed. I found this great infographic that sums up a lot of the data around asthma, specifically for children.