My son was diagnosed with asthma just before he was 5. He had always been a kid that was susceptible to croup and had a bit of a wheeze from when he was quite young. Just before he turned 5, we went away and were camping and had been sitting around a campfire at night. Driving home the next day he took a major turn for the worst. Once we got home, he was incredibly wheezy and short of breath and he ended up having an attack while I was driving him up to hospital. He was then diagnosed with asthma, put on a management plan and given preventative medication. He started kindergarten a couple of months later and it was the start of an endless year of hospital trips, ambulance call outs and specialist appointments. Towards the end of the year in the midst of renovations, we ripped up all the carpet in the house and his asthma started easing quite a bit. And this year, we have had limited amounts of trips.
I’m writing this now from our room at the John Hunter because unfortunately after a difficult weekend, he has been admitted to a ward and currently being rescued back to normal, hopefully. For anyone who has a child with asthma they will know and understand the differences between this sickness and others. Firstly, we arrive and go to triage. There are generally at least two or three other families with sick children (some bleeding) who have been waiting for a while to be admitted into emergency. We, unlike them, go straight in. Breathing takes precedent. Our child may be slightly lethargic looking and could be coughing a bit. Then they’re given some steroids, and started on the rescue ventolin. Suddenly our tired and coughing kid, is feeling quite a bit more energetic, and showing it. They bounce around loudly on the bed, while all the other sick kids cry around them, and yet we will always be the last to leave no matter what.
So I generally head to the hospital fully equipped for that energetic child. He’s not an iPad watcher, so we bring lego or something that he can draw. Anything that could keep his little mind entertained because we are always there for a full day. The hardest thing I find about asthma is the cough. It sounds terrible and sounds as if they are full of some deadly illness. But he’s not contagious at all, so please stop looking at us as if he has the plague! One time I almost yelled at someone for starting at him while he had a mild and sudden fit in Coles. Don’t worry, I ended up just putting my head down and leaving quickly!
So to all you other asthma mums and dads, I feel your pain! There’s nothing worse than hearing that wheeze or that cough in your little person.