This week started off great!
SUNDAY... My wonderful family took me out to eat at Corner Bakery for a Mother's Day breakfast. Beautiful day with my favorite people.
We laughed, we played, it was the best day!
MONDAY... Paige woke up complaining about her throat hurting. No fever, little bit of medicine, good breakfast, send off to school. No biggie... right? Matthew was not feeling very well because he had an ear infection that we got antibiotic for the prev. Saturday. Hubby was not feeling very well either and he went to the doc, got an antibiotic, picked up Paige from school at the normal pick-up time and came home. Hubby walks in with Paige and says... "she's wheezing" and gives me this look of apprehension. She was coughing non stop.
Okay, we can handle this... this is not our first horse and pony show... she is a veteran when it comes to her asthma problems and we have a plan. Shoot her up with a Xopenex inhaler treatment, all is well. 30 minutes later... More wheezing and coughing... more Xopenex. 30 minutes after that, Xopenex neb treatment. Again, 30 minutes later, another Xopenex neb treatment.
By now it is night time and she is not improving. Call into her pulmonologist, start oral steroids, and another treatment. WHAT THE HECK!? Her asthma has been doing great the last couple years... we have had her on daily meds (at the highest dosage for her too mind you) and we were finally getting her asthma under control. So what is going on? Why is she having these problems again? Why can't we get the rescue meds to work? Treatments continued throughout the night.
TUESDAY... We had been doing treatments every 2-4 hours throughout the night and her symptoms did not seem to be getting any better. Normally when we start a steroid, we start to see some improvements in her breathing within a couple of hours. She continued to complain about her throat and her right ear. No School for her today. Then it hit me... maybe she has an ear infection. 9am - Call her pediatrician, make an appointment, more breathing treatments. 1:30pm - Doc checked her ears, little infection in one ear, checked her throat, little sinus drainage, checked her lungs, Wheezing and squeaking... her breathing is tight. Oxygen levels at this point were around 95. So, start antibiotic, double up on her steroid, more breathing treatments every 2 hours... you get the point. 10pm rolls around and she finally falls asleep.
Several years ago we invested in a stethoscope and pulse oximeter so we can be better informed as to what her O2 levels were and what her lungs sounded like. This would help us be better prepared to rush her to the ER if needed since she is a severe asthmatic and her breathing can get bad quick. Definitely worth the investment and helped us many many times in the past and recommend it to any parent with an asthmatic child to help them monitor their condition.
We checked her oxygen number and listened to her breathe. O2 was at 90... every breath she took squeaked in her lungs. You have got to be kidding me! Why is this happening??? . We decided we would just all go to the ER since Matthew was still wheezing himself and I was nursing Roman. Loaded up all the kids, grabbed all the meds, drinks, and headed 35 miles south to Children's Medical Center. We arrived at about 11:30pm.
WEDNESDAY... Children's gets Paige in an ER room pretty quickly and starts her on an Albutoral cocktail. A chest x-ray came back with no infections... good news.
The ER doc, not knowing Paige's asthma history, wanted to send her home after two treatments and said.. "If it gets worse you could always come back". Uh, no! I am not comfortable leaving the hospital with her O2 levels staying at 91-92 when she is asleep and 93-94 when she is awake. She was still wheezing, coughing and squeaking. I called her pulmonologist to get his opinion on the situation... "She needs to be monitored overnight, admit her and I will come see her in the morning" he says. 3am - they moved her to a room for the night, Richie stayed with her and I took the boys home so they could get some rest. Around 5am her O2 levels hit 88 while sleeping! Another treatment later they eventually came back up.
The next morning, I got the boys ready, gave them their meds, and headed back to the hospital. When I got there, Paige was doing much better, holding an O2 level of 96-97 with treatments 4 hours apart. Her lungs were moving air much better and easier and the wheezing and squeaking was happening less than it was when we arrived. THANK YOU GOD! Just before we were about to be released the Hospital, a cute little doll and drawing pad set came to her from the gift shop. Her pediatrician and staff and sent her a get well gift. That was the best part of her stay... she loves her new little doll and it helped make her stay a little more enjoyable.
TODAY... Paige is doing even better. Her and Matthew both stayed home from school again today since they both continued to have some wheezing and coughing. I am so thankful for the staff at Children's Medical Center for the smooth and friendly stay while at the hospital. All the nurses were very good with Paige and the doctor after she was admitted was very good in taking care of her needs. I am especially thankful for our Pediatrician and Pulmonologist that we have been blessed with and their attention to making sure she received the best of care.
A little history...
Paige was diagnosed with asthma when she was 15 months old and has been taking asthma medications since she was 9 months old. She had RSV at 9 months old, Hospitalized with Pneumonia at 11 months old and had a severe asthma attack at 15 months old that caused her to be in ICU while they intubated and placed her on a ventilator. She has been through the thick of it and is such a strong little girl. Since then she has visited the hospital a handful of times for asthma attacks caused from weather changes and illness. When she was 4 years old, she had surgery for ear tubes and adenoid removal. This really made a huge improvement in her breathing. After they removed her adenoids, they found that they were blocking at least 50% of her airway. In the last couple years we have been able to keep her asthma controlled by daily medications and followup appointments with her Pulmonologist every 3-4 months to ensure that her asthma does not get out of control.
If there is anything that I can suggest to any other parent that has a child with asthma or asthmatic symptoms, is to find a well recommended Pediatric Pulmonologist in your area that you can trust with your child's well being when it comes to their Asthma action plan and knows and understands their medical history. We have dealt with several ER doctors and not all of them make the best decisions for your child. They only know what they see when you come through those ER doors and may not know their life history when it comes to their health. So speak up and tell them what you know. If you don't agree with what they are saying, let them know. Your pulmonologist or pediatrician can help you and the ER doctor make the right decision for your child when you are faced with an emergency situation. I cannot tell you how many times I have called on our pulmonologist (even at 2 am) for guidance and direction on what we needed to do in emergency situations with Paige. He is the first one we call when we are not sure if we should start a steroid, take her to the hospital, have her admitted, etc.
Being a parent of a child with asthma is stressful enough and sometimes when you are faced with a situation such as this it is hard to process the correct action to take. This is your child and you want the best for them that is why it is so important to have someone you can trust to help you make those decisions and get them on a path so they do not have to struggle to breathe. As the child gets older it is easier for them to communicate with you and let you know if they need to go to the hospital. Paige was able to help confirm our decision of taking her to the hospital this week by letting us know that, yes, she wanted to go because she was having a difficult time breathing.
Anyway... I think I may have gotten a little carried away with this post in the length of it, however it is something that is very important to me and take seriously and I wanted to share our experience in hopes that it may help another parent with their child with asthma.