*This is not a sponsored post ***
Like any other day in our household, the kids are at the center of the universe and I just grab hold of the day, around what happens with each of their lives, as it should be. Sometimes I think more comes my way than I can handle but I manage to melt my way through that ice wall of that thing called life! I am still a new mom, I have never had kids before at these ages, and boys are different from girls. While that all seems funny to hear as my kids are not toddles, people assume that just because you have kids you have got the answers. I have never had kids at any ages my kids are at, and this is all uncharted territory. I am now learning that at age 13 it is not cool for a boy to complain(so I am told) about every little thing and that they like to work through problems before they tell you about them. It is those problems that often don’t resolve and they end up in adverse situations. As you know if you read my blog daily, my kids all have severe allergies, and Asthma is something they all share.
While I do take them to a specialist, each child’s underlying reason for asthma is different and I have to pay attention to each child’s environment in a different way to tend to their asthma situation. My one son has asthma and if he gets a cold, he generally goes right into pneumonia, this has been an on-going battle. My daughter, had no idea why her chest was ‘crushing her’ but she soon found out that her asthma is with her, each and every day and any stress makes it worse. My other son, is usually healthy as an ox, he won’t let any cold defeat him, no sickness takes him down, he just trudges forward. His asthma is managed, he gets allergy shots to ward off those stinky little allergens that are known to create a challenge to his asthma and nasal passage and we never think another think of it. As he is 13, and a boy, he is pretty quiet about not feeling well, and definitely always puts a happy face first. He is a tough guy, until today… when tough got us into an emergency situation, that I care never to repeat, a day where he could not breath, was dizzy, and felt like someone was grabbing into his chest, and crushing it. An asthma attack of epic proportions plagued my son today and I was very scared. This is our personal story of how an Asthma attack sent us right to the ER room for help.
Today, is one day after a diagnosis of a sinus infection for my oldest son. He has been taking Z-Pak, and prescribed nose drops to help him out. the strep test came back negative, but the doctor said his glands were so swollen he could hardly feel them. My son can’t drink(even my famous smoothies), and he is white as a ghost. His bright blue eyes and long eyelashes are outlined with a red-rim, and purple under his eyes signify that he is still not feeling well. My solid son is on the 24th hour of his first dose of medicine and still not had a good night of sleep in at least 3 days. Since he is home from school, he walked down the steps to see me, and I thought that he did not look well, but I did not want to push the issue as he will recede and show me his tough exterior, but I just want to know he is fine, I don’t need tough, I need TRUTH. As Michael walked towards me to give me a hug, I could feel and hear his breathing, pounding through his chest, and he was walking slowly, as though in pain.
Of course. not a mom who can hold back asking(even though I tried) I had to ask how he felt and why he was breathing so hard? He told me the steps made it hard to breath in and out and since his throat was sore it made it worse? I saw through that clear cellophane excuse, but we walked into the kitchen, where I offered him a seat and a warm cup of sweet tea, thinking this might help his throat and give him some much needed liquid. He said, “mom look at this bulge under my rib cage” and he picked up his shirt for me to see. Well I am that mom that faints at the sight of blood and any deformities in my kids and could not even fathom to look longer than a few seconds. I asked him when that happened, he said its been there for a while and it hurts a lot. Michael went on to explain that he could not put pressure on it, or lay on it as it was painful. I was going to call the Dr., when the next odd thing happened. As Michael began to drink the tea, his face just froze, tears began to roll from his eyes, streaming down his face and he was just motionless. I grabbed my cell, my purse and him and ran for the car, he was not getting his air in and out, he was white as a ghost, ready to pass out. He was not really hearing much of what I said.
I got him in the car, fastened his belt, and drove to the ER. We got there, I must have looked a wreck as the admissions person took his name, grabbed a wheel chair, a nurse and they got him right in. They got the vitals, and we found it was not the oxygen level that was the problem. Phewwwww. Now on to what was causing him not to be able to breathe? We were immediately placed into a room in the ER and the CRNP came in. My son was afraid, in massive pain, still not moving around much and there was what looked like a mass under his rib cage, left side.
X-Ray time. He was taken to X Ray and we waited for a while for the return. The Dr. came in. The mass really is a muscle that has been exacerbated, from coughing, in addition lymph nodes that were super swollen. The pain… ASTHMA, different from the way his siblings present, but also his own fault that the pain had so badly manifested as he had not told me that the lump had been there a few days and that the pain to inhale and exhale was so excruciating. In fact, an entire facade that had kept him so ‘tough’ had now become his downfall. Not even dealing with him wanting to be a tough kid anymore, the nurse told him that he had to actually describe what his feelings were, when he inhaled, and exhaled, and how bad the pain was so we could help him. She explained that in order to treat a problem, they needed to know what the problem was and the X Ray was not telling them much, so he had to.
The pain at this point was unbearable, his inhaling and exhaling labored, so after he accurately described an asthma attack that felt like someone was reaching into his chest, grabbing everything and not letting go, the respiratory department came in with a breathing treatment to see if this would ‘lighten up’ the feeling. My son took the treatment, and suddenly got cold, clammy, and his heart rate spiked. He was totally ‘out of it’. 2 nurses came in and thought an EKG was necessary and the voice of reason came in CRNP Maggie and decisively told us it was his bodies’ response to the meds, and that was that. He was having an asthma attack that they treated and had several other items to help calm it a bit.
The Dr. came in and felt that the muscle was swollen, and if they could get the lungs, airways less swollen, things would go back to normal and the pain would reside. Rest, and no gym or athletics of any sort and breathing treatments every four hours were mandatory as well as steroids, nose drops and his current prescription for the sinus infection.
His asthma was in over drive as he had not shared his pain with the original Dr., the day before. The pain that he had masked had gotten so far out of control that he could not long temper it or the outcome. He had just wanted to pretend it would go away, but he needed to communicate to me that he was having trouble as I had no idea.
My other children present asthma differently: I know from my other kids that when their asthma is acting up they generally end up with non-stop coughing and what they describe as crushing chest pain, like an elephant stepping on them, but this is not what this son was describing. Today however, I have learned a quick, valuable lesson as has my son. Together we have learned that : 1) I need to realize that at his adolescent age, he is going to try to defeat something before he brings it forward to my attention, as he is growing up. 2) He has realized that he can get himself into trouble if he does not ask for help. 3) Asthma presents differently on everyone there is no one way to diagnose as it is case-by-case. 4) Never take any situation presented too lightly.
I am so happy we were able to alleviate a bit of the pain, get him to the hospital and have a good ending to the story. Asthma is a tough diagnosis, but it is treatable. My kids have lived with asthma all their lives and now I have an even better understanding of how asthma symptoms differ from child to child.