Poor little Greggles has been suffering again. He has asthma. Well, they all call it ‘asthma-like-symptoms‘ because he’s too young for an official diagnosis. We all know it’s asthma though; Accidental Hipster Dad and I both have it and suffer moderate symptoms. He’s definitely asthmatic.
What scares me the most about his breathing problems is that they come on so quickly. On the morning of our hospital stay we were all getting ready for a family day out to The Deep. By lunch we were in the waiting area at A&E.
Greg had been snuffly for a few days, coughed a little in the night on Friday and woken up almost completely fine on the Saturday. By mid morning he was struggling, by 11:30 his inhaler hadn’t worked, his breathing was incredibly laboured and his temperature had shot up.
Usually, when we reach A&E we are ushered straight through and given the nebuliser and some oxygen while they sort the paperwork to admit us to the ward. This time, we waited a long time in waiting area before we were triaged. After triage we got a bed but still no treatment. After three hours in A&E a doctor came to see us but didn’t check his oxygen saturation because it had been 94% in A&E. (Oxygen sats should be around 98% in a healthy person, in the past when Greg has been admitted they were usually 89% then we’d get sent home at 93%).
After a fourth hour another doctor came and finally treated him because his oxygen saturation had dropped to 89%, as per previous visits. Greg wasn’t very happy about being treated and kept crying and saying ‘bye-bye’ to the doctor. Lucky a pretty, young nurse popped down from the paediatrics ward and Greg’s mood brightened.
Greg is quite possibly the reincarnation of a slightly sexist middle aged man. He’s surly towards male staff but flirts his head off when a pretty lady comes near him. He’s even been known to shout “Bye-bye pretty lady!” after dealing with some of his favourite nurses.
We didn’t actually make it to the ward until 5, so it had been quite a long and distressing day for us all (considering we’d checked in at A&E at 12:30). We were really relieved to find the nurse had listened to us and got us a cot.
Normally when we stay in the hospital we have fight for a cot, I think it’s because Greg is so big for his age. He’s two and the staff want him to have a bed (which we’ve tried, but it just doesn’t work).
The problem with a bed is that Greg is basically feral when he’s well. When all he’s suffering from is breathing difficulties, the minute the steroids and whatever else have worked, he feels completely fine. To add to his sudden recovery, the Salbutamol they give him to help his breathing sends kids hyperactive.
One stay when we had trouble getting a cot, Greg spent the night running up and down (and round and round) the ward. By 1 am we were ready to check him out and bring him back in the morning because he was diving headfirst out of his bed and we just couldn’t contain him. He was having his inhalers two-hourly which meant the ‘high’ had no hope of wearing off.
I can’t stress enough how glad I was to get a cot. To him a cot is a cue to sleep, and a bed is a bouncy castle!
The story is pretty anticlimactic at this point. By morning all of his steroids had stabilised him; they observed him until teatime and sent him home. He’s getting better now and we’re still giving him his drugs.
I think it’s easier for me to cope with because I have asthma and when I was little I had similar medicine. I feel positive that it will eventually stabilise and he should lead a completely normal life.
The biggest fear for me while he is so young is the sudden deterioration he experiences. I worry when he has a cold that he’ll get much worse in the night and I won’t realise he’s struggling until morning. So far we’ve been lucky and had great treatment from the NHS.
All I can really do is watch him closely and do everything I’ve been told to.
Do any of your children have asthma? I’d love to hear from other mums in the same boat. Tell me in the comments!