Asthma is so arse, in fact, that it should be called arsema (although that’s just how posh people say it anyway).
Another week, another cold that threatens a hospital stay for my tot. Every time he gets even a hint of a sniffle, his chest tightens, his breathing becomes laboured and his wheezes sound like a mouse infestation.
Greg is two and he has childhood asthma. The only thing is, because he’s two, nobody calls it asthma. They say he’s suffering from asthma-like-symptoms, and doctors explain that he ‘probably does’ have asthma; it’s just too early to early to tell.
He has asthma. We know he has asthma. He’s being treated daily with asthma medication and his ‘asthma-like-symptoms’ have landed him in hospital three times since November. I don’t know why we’re pretending there’s only a chance he’s suffering from the disease.
I suffer from the disease too and I know how much of a burden it is. I worry that my anxieties will be thrust upon Greg and stop him from living a normal life.
Greg doesn’t know he has asthma. Even when he’s suffering, it takes a lot to slow him down; hospitalisation doesn’t seem to do it! He pelts around the house, dancing, running and jumping off stuff, while I try to catch him and slow him down. I can hear him wheeze and see how laboured his breathing is, but you cant reason with a two-year-old!
When I was growing up, my asthma was bad. I had a home nebuliser and used it often. In adulthood, I still worry about my breathing, even though it’s a thousand times better.
Exercise makes me nervous. I can’t be sure if I’m a normal amount of ‘puffed out’, or if the struggle for air is the start of an attack.
I hover over Greg like a helicopter parent. Ready to swoop in if he seems like he’s overexerting himself. I can’t trust him to know but I’m extra cautious when step in. It’s hard to find a balance and I don’t want to raise him with an overly anxious mind. I don’t want to turn him into me.
His hospital stays are stressful too. When he’s admitted, I know he’s in the right place, but it’s still frustrating. I’d rather they were cautious and I’m happy that they want to be sure he’s okay before they send us on our merry way, but he gets so agitated.
We always have to fight for a cot. He’s pretty feral and there’s no way we could contain him in a bed. He’s wild! We always have an argument, someone tells us he should be in a bed at his age. Well he’s not. Soz.
Last time we were admitted, I wasn’t allowed a camp bed and was completely forgotten about from 7 until midnight. They eventually found a recliner chair but I couldn’t use it because I was forced to stand at his bedside. His oxygen monitor was on his toe and every time he moved, an alarm sounded. He moved about ever two minutes.
When I asked a nurse to take him off the monitor, she instead showed me how to silence the alarm when it sounded. I stood beside his bed from midnight until 4am before they agreed he could come off the monitor after a surly nurse woke him.
It’s not the hospital’s fault (probably). It’s not really anyone’s, but it’s stressful nonetheless. I don’t do my best parenting on so little sleep.
I want my son to grow up healthy and happy but I worry for him. I worry about how enjoyable his childhood will be. He’s so fearless at the moment. I don’t want him to grow up, afraid to run.
I intend to raise him with the freedom he deserves, but I’ scared that my worry won’t let me. What would you do? Do you have a child with an illness? How do you cope?
For more information on asthma or to donate towards research visit Asthma UK. This isn’t a promotional post, just an emotional one.