The blog post that wasn’t

by DaniGirl on April 29, 2010 · 9 comments

in Mothering without a licence

I have a lot of blog posts in my head, a few in my drafts folder, and one scrawled on a receipt from the post office and stuffed into my wallet. And you won’t be treated to any of them tonight because I’ve decided that rather than stay here with my nose pressed to the monitor where I would prefer to be (it’s a hell of a lot less work to just wag my fingers over the keyboard than to actually get off the couch and take care of all the things that are demanding my attention) instead I’m going to shut it down and go take the boys for an after-dinner walk.

Before I do, though, I have a quick question about my poor Lucas. We went back to the doctor today, and despite his having a clear chest and ears on Sunday, now he has an ear infection and some kind of chest infection. I wanted to ask you guys about something: the doc (not his usual) said: he has asthma caused by an allergic reaction to a virus. WTF? Not bronchitis, which is what it sounds like to me, but asthma, even though he has never had any sort of similar thing. ??? I asked if this was now a chronic condition and she kind of shrugged and said it’s the first time, we’ll have to see if and when it shows up again.

He’s got antibiotics for the ear infection, and two different puffers. Yeesh, just when you think you’ve got it all figured it, something new to contend with.

Anyway, your puffer and asthma and “allergic reaction to a virus” stories are welcome. Thanks!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lynn April 29, 2010 at 6:29 pm

This seems to be a growing thing with doctors these days — handing out asthma puffers for kids with lingering coughs that they can’t shake. We have the same for Gal Smiley — she caught a bad chest cold back in September and could not stop coughing. She’d be up all night with coughing fits that lasted for a half hour or more — she could barely draw a breath inbetween. After months of kind of getting better only to relapse, she’s finally on a puffer (orange every day, blue as needed at night).

She’s never had any kind of breathing issues before and our doctor says that there have been a nasty set of viruses floating around Ottawa in the past year or so that cause these kinds of asthma-like symptoms. It was stressful for us to put her on a puffer like this but it definitely is helping. For a while the blue puffer was the only thing that would break the cycle of coughing and let her sleep at night. Now she’s still on the orange puffer but we haven’t used the blue in a while.

One thing is that the makers of the orange puffer (Flovent) say that it takes time to work — now they are recommending a minimum treatment of six months. That’s a long time for your kid to be on a medication, I think, without an actual asthma diagnosis. I felt with Gal Smiley that we were desperate for a treatment that would work, but if you think Lucas just has a transitory thing…maybe put off starting the orange puffer until you’re ready to commit.

2 Sally April 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I have asthma, but my ONLY trigger is upper-respiratory viral infection. Getting a chest cold triggers the asthmatic bronchial spasms, causing a lingering cough. My immune system will fight off the virus, but I’ll keep coughing for days without an inhaler. It was not diagnosed until I went to college, and I was so happy to finally get a diagnosis for it.

I would always get so much more sick than everybody else from garden variety viruses. Since we didn’t know it was asthma, I’d just get sick and stay sick. I’d have what my mom thought were croup attacks, where I’d be coughing and couldn’t stop or catch my breath. I remember lots of nights sitting in the steamy bathroom trying to use sheer force of will to calm down enough to catch my breath. If we’d only known! A couple of albuterol puffs would have cleared that right up.

Doctors didn’t understand that sort of asthma very well when I was young. Since I didn’t have asthma attacks from more traditional triggers like exercise or perfume, well, they just didn’t see it. Figuring this out changed my life. I no longer have to think of myself as “sickly” or expect to be miserable for a month if I catch a cold. If Lucas has a similar reaction, then please do listen to the doctor’s recommendations. Being able to breathe is so worth it.

3 DaniGirl April 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Sally and Lynn, thanks so much for your insight — sounds like it was hard-earned in both cases!

The thing about Lucas’s cough is that it’s better than it was. True, it was one of the worse coughs the boys have had, so much so that I went out and picked up some homeopathic cough syrup because I felt I had to do *something* and almost ended up using OTC cough syrup even tho he’s only two. But the cough was nothing like you guys describe, and he’s only had it a week.

Anyway, I will trust the doc’s dx and go with the Flovent and (hmmm, I forget what the other one is, but yes, blue and orange!) for now. I suppose now I know why she gave me four repeats — I really hope it doesn’t go on that long, though.

4 Madeleine April 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm

This just happened to me this winter, at the age of 40. We all had swine flu in November, and I woke up one night coughing and unable to breathe. Doc said “lung infection” which I think meant pneumonia. Antibiotics plus inhaler got me mostly better, but I coughed for two months before I started using the inhaler again (mine is Symbicort, which is red, not blue or orange) and made the cough go away. Then I realized I wasn’t coughing, but I still couldn’t breathe well. So more inhaler, and an asthma diagnosis. I have allergies, so my doc isn’t really surprised, despite the late onset. It might go away, or it might come and go. I also saw some news piece about Canadians with lingering asthma-like symptoms after this year’s flu season, so we are not alone.

5 karen April 30, 2010 at 8:57 am

My son was given a puffer at 18 months after having been quite sick for a few days. He had no cold symptoms but had a high fever. He had been breathing very fast and you could see him pulling in at his neck and ribs. After 2 nights at the emerg and 2 x-rays they decided to give him a puffer. On Monday afternoon after his x-rays were read by the guy in charge I got a call that it was pneumonia. He needed his puffer for a few weeks, usually after going out in the cold or playing hard. He has never needed it again.

6 Ingrid April 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

One episode of something like this does not mean Lucas has asthma. I think the MD is giving him these medications to trial their effect. The Flovent is a corticosteroid and reduces the inflammation, but it’s effects are not immediate. the blue, which is probably ventolin, is to reduce the “attacks” – it dilates the bronchioles to allow better air enrty. the one thing I would caution you about is to deliver these medications properly – did you get an MDI – a tube-like device that you put the puffer into and then the mask part of the MDI goes on Lucas’ face? Correct delivery has an impact on the effectiveness of the medication. Call me if you have more questions!

7 Trista May 4, 2010 at 6:43 am

This is basically anecdotal, since I’m not sure it relates to what you experienced with your son, but we had a similar situation earlier in the spring when our daughter developed a slight cold that turned into a horrible, horrible, barking cough really quickly, with a side of wheeziness as a bonus. After consulting a nurse by phone and watching our daughter get more pathetic by the minute we took her to a walk-in clinic rather than wait for an appointment the next day with our family doctor. The clinic doctor told us, as I suspected, that it was croup (which you can’t do much for other than the old steam/cold, honey, etc. routine) but a secondary infection was causing breathing issues (the doc was clear that it wasn’t asthma). I didn’t really understand this, but we walked out with antibiotics and two puffers, and the medication definitely helped right away, but I was pretty surprised by the diagnosis and even more surprised to walk away with puffers. We were told to use them a few days past when her symptoms cleared up. It seems like the puffers are being prescribed as breathing aids for many conditions other than asthma, so perhaps “asthma” is being used as a catch-all phrase for breathing problems? It does seem like a lot more children are being diagnosed with asthma, and one friend who’s three-year-old is now on puffers for it was told by her GP that he may grow out of it, many do.
Hope your little guy is better – it’s so stressful when they’re sick.

8 Rev Dr Mom May 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

The Kid was diagnosed with asthma when he was around three, after having bronchitis for a while. Like Sally his came on when he had a cold, and he used Flovent every day for a long time. He seems to have outgrown it now (at 18)–at least the last couple of years he hasn’t needed a puffer.

9 kate May 15, 2010 at 1:36 am

I have developed this asthma as an allergic reaction to virus in the past few years– it took a long time to diagnose (I finally figured it out myself by consulting Dr. Google and suddenly it all became clear.) I hope it’s not going to be a continuing issue for Lucas, but the condition does exist (and I know a few other people who also have it.)

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