The Legacy of Asthma
Sometimes leaving a legacy is difficult – especially if it one that you have absolutely no control over at all. Those legacies that are genetic are difficult to deal with for anyone let alone a baby girl who just celebrated her fourth birthday.
Aiden had been looking forward to being four for months. At our Toastmasters District Conference she told everyone that she was three, but she would be four on November 10! We opened presents – she loves wrapping paper!
Ate her favorite meal of soy-honey chicken and headed off to Build-A-Bear. I just knew she would pick a Hello Kitty, but she chose Rainbow Dash the Little Pony – then the Hello Kitty. Since it was her birthday she ended up with both along with several outfits. Yes, Pumpkin Bear received a KU Jayhawk Basketball outfit.
While Heather, Nick, Uncle Bobby and I knew she seemed a bit ‘out of sorts’ what later became pretty evident was she was having difficulty breathing. As she sat on my lap, I put my hand on her back. I could feel the rattling which is unusual. We knew she had a cold, but she seemed warm and her little shoulder pushed up with every breath! Mommy and daddy left for the emergency room at Children’s Mercy with a backpack for just in case.
Late at night, the kids all came home. They put Aiden to bed and an hour later they had EMTs at the house. At midnight or so, Heather called me letting me know that they were taking Aiden back to CMH. Oh yeah, at least it was now the day after her birthday – barely. Poor baby, on the way to the hospital she was sick from too much Albuterol, making sure she got her birthday outfit, her coat, her leggings, her favorite blanket, the car, the car seat… Heather said maybe they should have gone in the ambulance, but they opted to go in their own car (yes, it is clean now).
What we learned is that while the number of children with asthma has grown since I was a kid, while the medicines have gotten better, the treatment is still very generic. Customized asthma action plans are still pretty generic – I realize they are better than when I was a kid, they are still to reactive. Having had asthma forever, we have been fortunate to know when things are getting out of hand. That raising of the shoulders is key, but preventative maintenance still has a long way to go. We count our blessing for CMH and for our family doctor, but I wonder how many families are not as lucky. How many families without insurance lose children because they are just treated and sent home!
Aiden now has a cute little panda nebulizer at home to help – metered dose inhalers are not better than a nebulizer when you cannot breathe. I know, I have been there, I have lost a brother to asthma. Truthfully, if it were not for a family history of asthma, Aiden would not have been diagnosed at a year old. Doctors really need to listen to families who know their children, to people who have asthma and maybe even see what it is like. When you are panicked because you cannot breathe, some solutions do not work well. I still haven’t decided if having a family history is helpful or hurtful, but it is what it is.
By the way, Aiden went home two days later and went to her karate class just like all the other kids! Go Miss Aiden!