Saturday, 21 November 2009

Asthma update

Since Joshua was diagnosed with asthma in the winter of this year, Samuel has been as well. He was having strong coughing fits that made him go red in the face, early in the morning and late at night, which the doctor said were classic asthma symptoms in kids. Since Sam has been taking a preventer puffer and a reliever occasionally, he has had much less coughing, and no huge red-in-the-face attacks.

So I have been reading here and there about asthma in kids. Last week I read an article that warned that changes in weather (such as sudden downpours of rain after a series of warm sunny days) and high levels of pollen in Spring can be an asthma trigger for kids and adults as well. I've been watching for the symptoms in the girls... and beginning to wonder if the intermittent coughing I have had along with Josh, Sam and Abi this last week were all signs of Spring asthma.
Two nights ago, I woke up with a prolonged heavy coughing fit. I have a slight stuffy nose at the moment that might be hayfever or a cold. So I asked Jeff to get me the boys’ puffer, reasoning that ventolin wouldn't work if my coughing wasn't asthma-related, but it would work a lot faster or better than cough medicine if it was asthma. I had six puffs (Josh’s basic dose for when he is having an attack) and only coughed twice after that. I could feel my lungs filling better even as I inhaled from the puffer! I figured that was a convincing evidence I do have it.

Then yesterday morning I got home after taking Anna and Josh to school, and started to play tickles with Abi and Sam, only to find myself out of breath and panting after a ridiculously short time. It’s not like tickling my kids is a very strenuous activity – it’s them wriggling and struggling not to laugh, not me. I stopped the tickling to sit down thinking I might be having an asthma attack and I should rest. But within seconds I went from a little pant to totally struggling for breath. Jeff came in just then and realised I was motioning to him for the puffer – I could scarcely get the words out through heaving breaths – and he got it for me. Four deep puffs and I could breathe completely normally again. What a relief!

All that morning I felt a bit shaky, but I think that was the after affects of the adrenalin from the attack. It made me cry at the time. I know it is the adrenalin, but knowing doesn’t help with dealing with its after-effects! Then all yesterday I was fairly out of it with a light-sensitive headache (perhaps related to a low level of oxygen to my brain?) and general weakness and fragility. Jeff had to come and work from home to let me recover, so the kids wouldn't overwhelm me with their enthusiasm for life.

I went to our GP in the afternoon and he prescribed a Flixotide preventer (the boys have a Seretide preventer) with 2 puffs taken twice a day. I should also take the same Asmol reliever as the boys have, up to four times a day as I need it. At least I can take it straight from the puffer without needing to carry a spacer everywhere with me.

I am so glad that Joshua was diagnosed with asthma right when he was sick with the flu and we took him in to hospital for that. I can’t imagine how we would have dealt with his “classic” attack a fortnight ago or my attack yesterday if we had not already know about the presence of asthma in our family and had the reliever medication right here. I might not have appreciated our seven (!!) visits to PMH emergency this year at the time, but at least I know that God has protected us from something much worse.

Thank You God for your grace to me in this!


mtwiss said...

Hi Sharon

Glad you are okay.

That lightheadedness you felt was probably a side-effect of the ventolin. I had a friend who had to take it as a liquid or she would get terribly dizzy. Just be careful in case you get a worse reaction.

In Him


Sharon said...

Hi Meredith,

The jitters could well have been ventolin, rather than adrenalin. But the headache was a real headache, not just light headedness. I often get them at this time of month, as well, so it could have been unrelated, or connected to the stuffy nose. But thanks for the warning!

Good to see you still visiting my blog! I hope you are well.

~ Sharon

Meredith said...

Another Meredith here!

Good to hear that this all finished well for you. I was surprised, as a spring time hayfever sufferer, about how things are much worse after rain! I always thought the rain would "damp everything down" and it certainly does damp down the airborne pollen but as you have no doubt discovered it apparently causes lawns to burst forth so all grass type allergies will be triggered by a shower!

Praise God for a good doctor. Sounds as though you have a very understanding one.

Alison Lacey said...

The pounding of the rain droplets also displaces more pollen into the air depending of course on the intensity of the rain event.

Sharon said...

O Ali,that comment just cracks me up. Did you forget to take off your scientist work hat when you typed it? I didn't think of the rain falling on the school oval on Friday as an "event", but I guess you could say that!