Monday, January 28, 2008

Our Experience With Asthma

Both my children were born with asthma, a chronic condition involving the respiratory system in which the airway occasionally constricts, becomes inflamed, and is lined with excessive amounts of mucus. My children's asthma episodes were often triggered by such things as exposure to an environmental stimulant such as cold air, seasonal allergies, dust and perfumes.

I remember prior to when my daughter was first diagnosed with asthma. Almost every night was spent with extreme bouts of coughing and throwing up. We would rush into her bedroom where her mother would take care of our daughter while I would clean up her bed sheets and remake the bed. We had a system going which we carried out to perfection considering the number of times we did it.

It literally blew the wind out of our sails when she was later diagnosed with asthma. It killed me to see her wearing the salbutamol mask, which administered the medication, on her face while I held her in my arms. I swear that I received as much medication from this mask as she did as the medication wafted into my nostril. We spent many a night and many a day cuddling on the couch while my little girl fell asleep in my arms to the sound of the ventilator as it pumped the medicine into her lungs.

A few years later, our son was diagnosed as well and, as before, we went through the same routine as we did with our daughter but only this time, it wasn’t as traumatic for us since we were veteran asthma caregivers by this time. By the time they were both around twelve, their asthma went into remission and they were, for the most part, much better. Every once in awhile it rears its ugly head and they have to take their puffers but this has not happened for quite a while… until this past week.

My daughter called us from college to tell us that her asthma has returned and that the machine which administers her medication was no longer working. As a result, I made the trek into Toronto to bring her another machine. Now that she has resumed her medication, she is well on her way to make yet another recovery. We dodged another bullet this time and all we can do is be thankful to God that he has taken care of her once more.

Every year, about 500 Canadians and 5,000 Americans die from this dreaded disease. Most of these deaths, however, could have been prevented with proper education and management. There is no cure for the millions of people out there but there are ways in which to control it. For more information on asthma, please refer to the following web sites:

The Asthma Society of Canada
American Lung Association
Asthma Society of Ireland
Asthma UK


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I'm sure you have already been told this but swimming is a great help. I was asthmatic from about 6 - 13 years old. It slowly faded out as I began to swim and expand my chest volume.

Jazz said...

I was diagnosed as having asthma last year. Thankfully nothing that bad. It kicks in when I have a cold and then it's hell to get rid of.

Akelamalu said...

It's a scary thing. A very good friend has been almost into the light a few times after a bad Asthma attack.

David Kim said...

I'm sorry to hear that your kids have asthma. I hope that they'll be okay.

A Happy Downtowner said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your kids' asthma. I don't have it and the more I read about it or hear from friends who have it, the more I thank my lucky star (genes maybe?) that I'm so healthy.

Mother of Invention said...

Hopefully your kids will never rub into anything too serious. They seem to know when to get helpand their friends probably do too. My mom and her identical twin both have it but her twin didn't get it until she was 45, whereas my mom has had it since childhood.

As parents, I'm sure you were terribly worried. My parents were extremely upset when I was diagnosed with diabetes at 13 and a little too late...I was in a coma for several days and not expected to pull through. I have had a bonus life..a lot of complications but still here!

(BTW, the song on my site is the first tune I ever wrote to go with a poem of mine and it is me singing on my first ever recording! I am so glad you like it!)

Mother of Invention said...

(In case you want to check out the post I did about the making of the song with the video and pictures of studio etc.)

Sandy said...

That is a sweet photo, although I know from the looks of it, that it must have been during one of her attacks.

Sure hope she gets over this soon and it sounds like she will with the proper meds.


Gudl said...

That is a nice photo of you two....
you are good parents!!
I am glad your kids are doing better with it.
Thankfully, it was never an issue in our family, but I have friends whose children have to deal with it, too.

Wanda said...

We have two grandchildren that suffer from this. Breathing treatments are routine. Hopefully they will at some point outgrow it too.

However, the photo is so very precious of a loving father. Your family will be in my prayers.

Monika said...

There's too much sickness and death around us lately. I've just spend the day in hospital with my husband. Being there made me realize, that I should put even more effort in taking better care of me and my family.
This is a lovely picture, it says a lot about you as a parent.

Josie said...

Dave, my older brother has suffered from asthma all his life. Like LGS, my brother was a swimmer and he did find that it helped him.

That is a gorgeous photograph.

heiresschild said...

i'm sorry also to hear about your children having asthma, but i'm really glad it's gotten better over the years. i pray God's continued manifested healing and blessings for your family Dave.

Gypsy said...

How well I understand the fear you feel as a parent when your child is struggling to breathe or is coughing so much they are exhausted from the effort. Both of my twins were on a nebuliser from the age of 18 months and they were so good about it. They just accepted that they had to have this mask on their face with "smoke" going into their nostrils. Now they just have a puffer which they rarely need. It only seems to be when they have a cold and one is much worse than the other.

We have had many middle of the night trips to hospital, usually in winter and its a very scary experience. What a precious photo.

I hope these episodes get fewer and further in between for your kids as they have for mine.

Julie at Virtual Journey said...

A relative had a similar story of it easing up around the twelve mark, and I've met or heard of others who've found it improved as they got older, unless they were put in bad conditions. Be remembering you all.

Bernita said...

My husband and a daughter suffer from it.
Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


I wish your daughter and son health. I was born with asthma. I, like them, am bothered most with cold air or over stressing. Usually not physically but everyday stress.
Your children are lucky that you could get her a nebulizer. I have one here but have not had to use it too much as of late.

Are your children using steroids? They are suppose to help. I choose not to take them because they leave me with horrid sensations. Not to mention some of them are dangerous if unaware of how to use them.

I am glad you write this post. I think many people see asthma as something not so important. They do not realized just exactly how serious it can be. It is not like a cold you get over. Thank you for writing this.

love to yours,

monsoon-dreams said...

hi dave,
sorry to hear about your kids.may god keep them healthy.its such a pain to see kids suffer.i know becoz my kid is differently abled.

shades said...

I am an asthmatic too, but my attacks are less severe...

Jocelyn said...

By informing us about this through your own experience, you put a human face on this. Well done.

My dad had asthma for thirty years--and, oh, the allergies. It was sad how much he missed out on, due to not having a full breath.

Greeneyes said...

"all we can do is be thankful to God that he has taken care of her once more."
Yes Thank God for sure , Asthma as you know can get tricky , and I bet your daughter thanks her Daddy for making that trek in to help her once again . I hope they both are past the worst as it can mellow drastically over the years. I love the pic , and it is touching how you cared for her ,nostrils filled and all ! ;-)God Bless you and YOURS .

take care

geewits said...

That's tough. It seems you guys have it under control, though. After my bout with pnuemonia, everyone at the hospital thought I had asthma. I keep an inhaler in my purse just in case.

BBC said...

I'll bet it is hard to live with. Guess I've been lucky all my life, got to 64 and still steaming along with few problems over the years.

Good genes I guess. I don't know who boinked mother when dad was overseas but I'm thankful that she did that.

The rest of the kids died young.

abbagirl74 said...

The picture speaks volumes. You are such a great father.

jAMiE said...

So sorry to hear your children have the daughter of a mother with emphysema, i can sort of relate. I hope they are both doing well.