My Two-Year-Old has Asthma

The last two weeks have been crazy, to say the least. I think my head is still spinning from trying to keep up!

On Thursday, August 14th, my Mom, Emma and I went to take a peek at a daycare early in the morning (another post to come later on that).  After the daycare visit, I dropped them back off at my parents’ house, and I headed off to work. I got about ten minutes down the road and my mom called, but when I picked up it was Emma on the phone. I couldn’t even make out a single word that she was saying. My Mom then got on the phone and said “did you hear it?” I said, “hear what?” Turns out, she couldn’t breathe. She was struggling and gasping for air. She couldn’t even get out a full sentence. That’s why I couldn’t understand her.

I hung up and called Emma’s doctor right away (as I’m still driving to work because I had something that day that I couldn’t really miss) and asked if we should bring her in or take her to the ER. They said to bring her there, so my Mom did right away (had they said the hospital I would have turned around to take her myself). After a long wait time to be seen, turns out she was having an asthma attack.

She had been having breathing problems with each and every cold for the last year. The doctor said that while she was having a hard time getting air into her lungs, he couldn’t confirm asthma or allergies, so he contributed each case to the colds. Well this one was again brought on by the cold she had, but it was enough to diagnose her.

My Mom did great remembering all of the info, and she magically always seems to ask the same questions that I would. However, Dr. Murphy wanted me to take her in for her follow-up, not my Mom. I should note that I did not have even the smallest knowledge about asthma. I was clueless. I spent a lot of time since then researching and asking questions.

That first night was bad. Emma’s breathing was shallow and quick. We never did shut her door because I couldn’t hear her breathing through the monitor. I checked on her about every 10 minutes until 11:30pm when we had to wake her for another breathing treatment. She was so tired that she screamed and cried to go back to bed. We got through the treatment though and she went right back to sleep. She’d periodically cough through the night and we’d get up often to check on her, but I didn’t have the heart to wake her at 3:30am for another treatment.

Treatments are done by putting an albuterol solution into a compressor nebulizer and breathing normally while the mask is over the mouth and nose. It’s like a little steam machine. The problem though is that they aren’t as effective since not all of the steam (vapor) can get inhaled, so you’re not getting the amount of medicine that your body needs. Unfortunately, this is the only option to treat a toddler. The other downside is that if the child breathes through their mouth they need to rinse their mouth afterward – whoever thinks that a fresh two-year-old will do that is off their rocker. We use a binky during the treatment most of the time because she won’t rinse her mouth, and that’s easier than using a towel to wipe out her mouth. Haha.

Since her diagnosis, she was given two more medicines. The albuterol is the “rescue” medicine that helps for emergencies, but the doctor said we needed something else that’s quick to clear out her passages, and another that’s long-term that would help to prevent attacks.

First, she needed a 6 day supply of a liquid steroid to treat the inflammation for this attack right away. That night I opened the medicine, took a tiny sip and thought to myself “this tastes good, so this should be easy.” I was wrong. First dose was great. She drank it all, cringed a bit, then said “that’s nummy” all while making a slurping noise that my Dad taught her for some reason. The next morning, before work, I gave her the second dose. She drank about ¾ of it but wouldn’t take the rest of it because “it’s icky.” After ten minutes of trying to force her to drink the rest, I gave up. That night, it was a full-blown battle. Kicking, screaming, hitting, running, etc. It ended with us laying holding her down, propping her head up, and dumping it in her mouth, all while praying that some would go down her throat. I’m pretty sure the majority of it ended up all over the blanket. The next couple tries were funny. I put a dose in some strawberry applesauce. One bite and she knew. There went that. Next was a dose in some kool-aid – I thought for sure this would work. Nope. She knew and wouldn’t drink it. Last was some apple juice. She drank that one, and one the next day, but that was it, she knew. I was done. I decided to just accept the fact that she wouldn’t take it.

Second, we had to start her long-term treatment of Pulmicort (by AstraZeneca, if you’ve seen the commercials). It’s a nebulizer treatment again, that we have to do twice a day, for SIX MONTHS! Then, after those six months are up, if she doesn’t have one bout of wheezing, we can go down to just once a day for another six months. If she has an attack at any point, then we have to start all over. This medicine is $75 per month! I said that, but it’s not the money part that is overwhelming, it’s the year-long nuisance. But of course we are going to do whatever it takes; I’m just still in the shock phase of the whole thing.

So now, we are just monitoring her every move. Each time she gets winded from playing we have to watch to make sure she can calm down. Each sneeze or cough could indicate another cold coming on that could start an attack. We have to make sure that the house stays clean and dust free, filters changed on time, purifier running in her room, cool mist humidifier cleaned well, etc.

While I’m so grateful that we finally got all of this figured out, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the necessities right now. I’m hoping that we can all get into a good routine that will get us over this speed bump quickly and without too much more stress.

I wish I had words of wisdom for other Mommas out there, but for right now, I’m probably the one who could use those words. 

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there. I would be overwhelmed, too. That's a lot to digest. I didn't know about rinsing the little one's mouth out! I've given dozens of kids treatments and the parents never mentioned that part.