Having a kid with asthma is terrifying, and last night was loooong.
Ya’ll, last night was one of THOSE nights. Thankfully, I did have the good sense to go to bed at like 9:15pm last night. How, you ask? How does a mom of 4 make it to bed at such a decent hour?
1.) Pure neglect of chores
2.) Utter exhaustion
3.) Since Alan took over the laundry, that has been such a huge load off!!
And really #4.) God knew if I was going to power through last night I was going to need a head start on sleep.
11:45pm: I wake up to the sound of an asthma attack. I don’t know if all such attacks sound the same, but my five-year-old Daniel’s sound like a mixture of bark-coughing and gasping and wheezing for air. It’s a very raspy, dry, desperate sound, which no one wants to hear coming from their children.
For years, we thought these episodes were croup, but his doctors have now changed his diagnosis to asthma.
We had been about 3 months without a single attack, so I couldn’t even remember where his inhaler was. I had to wake up Alan because I figured he might know. He did. So thankful for Alan!
We did multiple puffs on the inhaler, but it was taking too long to help, so Alan carried him outside for some cold air. I know for some kids that makes it worse, but for Daniel the cold night air helps him. The damper the better.
Dan came back in only wheezing and no longer gasping or barking, but he still didn’t have enough air to talk. We set up his humidifier. There were other things I could have done for him, but my brain wasn’t in gear yet. Ugh. It’s so hard to THINK when your brain is in sleep mode.
Alan located all the parts to Daniel’s nebulizer and got it all hooked up. We gave Dan a nebulizer treatment, but we couldn’t see any of the foggy mist coming out of it, so we aren’t even sure if it worked.
Isn’t it funny how if a problem doesn’t happen for a few months, you really start to fool yourself into thinking that problem is gone? We should have had all that stuff at the ready. We had grown complacent, so hardly anything was ready.
At 1:00am, asthma attack #2.
At 1:45am, asthma attack #3. I finally had the presence of mind to give him a good dose of his steroid, which we have on hand for attacks like these. I guess that made the difference because there was no more trouble after that.
At 2:30am…….enter my nine-year-old with a bloody nose. So I spent 15 minutes in the bathroom getting that to stop and cleaning him up.
At 4am, Daniel migrated to our bed. He was breathing perfectly by then, praise the Lord, but now he was completely hyper from all the Albuterol and steroid we’d given him.
“Mom! Can I play video games?”
“No, child, here lay down. You can share my pillow. But just go to sleep.”
“Mom! Can I watch cartoons?”
“Daniel, it’s 4am. NO. I need to go get you some Benadryl….”
I drifted back off…..and…..”Mom! Can I play video games?? You need to get me some Benadryl.”
At 5:30 am, I am told that Alan found Daniel in the living room, every light in the house on, playing video games.
Alan fed him a bowl of cereal and went on a quick run. When he returned Daniel was sleeping soundly, with a pillow and his Star Wars blanket, on the sofa.
Daniel has a cold. That’s his trigger. Viruses or strep throat. When he gets sick, he usually (not always) gets asthma. None of my other children have it. I’m so thankful they don’t. It’s such a scary condition.
Next time I’m planning to be more ready for this. My brain was not running well last night. As my friend Brooke says, “After the 3rd kid, my brain broke.”
If you have a child with asthma, I do want to share two more tips that I forgot to use last night:
Shut yourself and your child in the bathroom and turn the shower to the hottest setting. Sit near the shower with your child. The steam may open up his or her airways. This has worked for us sometimes and not at all others.
I’m sure each brand has an equivalent that does something for the respiratory system. But in the past I have taken Young Living’s RC oil, mixed it with some other oil like coconut oil, and rubbed it on Daniel’s chest and the bottom of his feet. There have been nights where I didn’t hear from him after that. I also diffuse it in his bedroom. I will be doing that tonight for sure!
Of course, I do this in combination with the other treatments mentioned above.
Daniel likes the RC oil so much, I have to keep it in a high cabinet because in the past he has gotten ahold of it and rubbed it all over himself and the carpet…Don’t worry. He was fine. I’m just letting you know to help you prevent it yourself.
3. But if you have a child with these symptoms, Daniel’s doctor says the correct answer is to take them straight to the emergency room.
Don’t try to fix them on your own. Give the rescue inhaler, if you have one, but unless they rapidly recover, take them to the ER.
If he had not recovered as quickly as he did last night, and I had not had that steroid and nebulizer on hand, it would have been an ER night for sure.
In fact, maybe I should have taken him last night. Parenting is hard because there are many tough calls like this.
Daniel has been to the ER for this MANY times over the years. We have never regretted taking him. One time the ER didn’t do enough for him, so we had to return to a different ER 8 hours later. (Never return to an unhelpful ER if you don’t have to.) The second ER doc treated the trigger (strep throat) as well as the asthma, and he rapidly improved. You can read that story here.
Do you have a child with asthma? What are your tips? Please share them in the comment section below. Thanks!
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