Our little William has always been a really healthy guy…in general. But in our family, he is sick most often. He had a course of antibiotics before he was even a year old, which made me sad because at that point in time Henry had NEVER had antibiotics (He has now…just before he turned 4)! William seems to catch every cold, gets fevers without other symptoms multiple times a year, and when viruses make their way through our family, it seems that William always has it first and last. Poor guy gets it twice each time!
Last fall we all had colds, but William’s cough just wouldn’t go away. He had it for a month straight so at his 2 year well check I asked our doctor what she thought. She said that since his nose was still a little runny and his lungs sounded clear, that it was probably just post-nasal drip irritating his throat. She said to give it a few more weeks and then come back.
So 2 weeks later, after a night of no sleep due to his coughing, I took him to the walk-in clinic in our town. We saw an amazing doctor (who we immediately made our new family doctor because she rocks! And is 2 minutes from our house) who said that she agreed with our (old) family doctor but that now William was having trouble recovering from a coughing fit. She prescribed 2 inhalers. 1 to use for 2 weeks to get rid of his cough and another for emergencies, like coughing fits and trouble breathing or catching his breath. Thankfully it worked and he was back to normal at the end of the 2 weeks.
A month later William got Croup. After hours of trying all the home remedies available, doing all the suggestions the nurse gave us form the nurse line and using his emergency inhaler up to the daily maximum, we headed to the Children’s Hospital. He needed a steroid but thankfully that seemed to clear him up.
A month later and I could tell that he was getting Croup again. The emergency inhaler was working, but wearing off really fast. A visit to the walk-in and we had a prescription for a steroid and the doctor’s cell phone number. Again, the steroid worked.
After that I decided that I wanted to talk to our family doctor about this. She heard my concerns and said that it sounds like William might have Reactive Airways. It’s too hard to diagnose Asthma at this age, so they use the term reactive airways until they can make a diagnosis later on. William could be diagnosed with asthma or he could grow out of it. We’re hoping for the later. She gave me a prescription for another emergency inhaler and told me not to hesitate to give it to him if I’m at all worried.
Skip to our recent trip to Ontario. William was feeling a bit under the weather when John and I were scheduled to go to a meeting. We were gone about 3 hours and by the time we were back, William was wheezing and working really hard to breathe. Mom-of-the-year over here didn’t think to bring his emergency inhaler on vacation with us! Luckily our dog sitter was able to drop off the prescription I hadn’t yet filled, at the pharmacy in Alberta, and they could fax it to their sister pharmacy in Ontario. We gave him one dose of it and he was back to normal.
A month later, and he’s got that cough again. He starts wheezing overnight and between 10 pm an 6:30am I have used the daily maximum on his emergency inhaler. I rush to the walk-in as soon as it opens and we get another steroid. The doctor looks at me very seriously and says “You will see a change in him within the next 2 hours. If you don’t, Rush to the Children’s Hospital“. TERRIFYING. Luckily he improved. That was 2 days ago.
Reactive Airways is a really terrifying thing. Watching your child breathe. Counting their breaths per minute. Watching their ribs to see if they are labouring too hard, trying to decide if their lips are starting to turn blue, trying to get them to drink something cold or eat a popsicle or stick their heads in the freezer to get cold air into their lungs to reduce the swelling. I can’t explain how scared I always am. How worried. How I basically chant a prayer all night long hoping he gets better or at least doesn’t get worse.
In the grand scheme of things, I know this is really a Minor Illness. And he’s probably (<–Glass half full) going to grow out of it. It definitely makes me extra thankful our kids are all so healthy.But as a mom, I can’t stop worrying about him. And I just can’t help thinking that it can’t be good to be giving him a steroid dose once a month when the inhaler isn’t helping. There has to be something else! And I’m going to find it.