Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Plate is Full.

Tucker has been diagnosed with asthma. That's not an easy sentence to type, let me tell you.

Tuck is sick again. Tuck gets sick a lot, you're probably thinking. You are right. Every single thing settles into his chest. And here we are again.

Wednesday afternoon, Tuck could not stop coughing enough to take his nap. He coughed for over two hours, constantly. I gave him cough syrup, and I held him in my arms to try to soothe him. He was in such bad shape. Just before I was to leave the boys with my mom so I could go to work, I decided to call the doctor... and I learned that I should have called much sooner. They asked me to bring him right away.... as soon as possible.

After an exam that took too long (and a less-than-stellar med student told us he probably had an ear infection... I'm sorry - do you see that he cannot breathe?? When I can count his ribs because his chest is so labored in breathing, don't tell me this is at all about his EARS), they gave him another breathing treatment, which finally got his wheezing under control, although his coughing never really quit.

The entire team of doctor's reviewed his chart and determined: enough is enough. For the last year, he has been in the office every two to three months for some kind of lung issue, most of which resulted in a month of daily breathing treatments.

They decided: Beginning that day, he needs a daily inhalant steroid for a YEAR.

I must have shown my disbelief at this, because they instantly began to explain it all to me - the reasons it's important, why they recommend it, how kids like him are more likely to grow out of it if they are nurtured daily with the steroid during their developmental years, and how the side effects are similar to two puffs on an inhaler.

Still, they prescribed something for him today that he will need every day until he is nearly four years old, and he may not even be finished then. That is staggering.

The doctors left the room, and Robb and I conferred and agreed that we needed more information. I felt like they were treating symptoms, and I wanted more words. Tell me what this is, exactly.

The doctor came back, and I asked her. She looked at me as if she didn't want to tell me the rest of the sentence, as if this is never easy to say.

"This is asthma."

She said, "We won't write that on anything, because for insurance purposes and other reasons, you don't want that to follow him. We have one patient who grew up through this practice, and he could not get into the Air Force Academy because asthma was in his health history. So we will not name it that, officially. We will call it Reactive Airway Disease, but you need to know: it's asthma."

My sweet little man.

This diagnosis preceded another rough night; he was up a LOT, he had three breathing treatments, I was on the phone with the doctor twice, and we were under careful watch and a near trip to the hospital. We made it through the night, and he is on lots of medicines to help those little lungs.

It is important to note here: while steroids are good for helping little lungs, they also bring two unfortunate side effects: rage and hyperactivity. Tucker has become a very different child with these meds in him, and his outbursts and irrational behavior break my heart. This year of being two is hard enough to parent without the influence of a chemical imbalance...

It seems to me that two of the most important things for daily functioning are the ability to speak and the ability to breathe. Both of those skills have proven difficult for our sweet little boy.

My plate is full.


Alli said...

Oh, Tricia. I can only imagine what a time you are having. You know how God tells you to mourn with those who mourn? I am mourning. I love you.

Kennedy Krew said...

I am right there with you...but my precious Koleman did get better - we never got to the steroid point, but we have had MANY breathing treatments and sleepless nights!! I will pray for your precious boy! I lived on steroids for my athsma almost my entire childhood and teenage years!! ( Don't tell me if right now you're thinking, "Oh, that's what's wrong with her!" :)