I’ve been feeling lost for the last week. In the midst of all the crazy respiratory illness crud that’s been running through our family (thank you Fall allergies), our youngest was diagnosed with asthma last week. The doctor said with his medical history, our family history, and several other factors, it just made sense. Looking back, she’s probably right. I’ve ended up taking him in to the doctor every allergy season so far for a cough that just won’t seem to quit only to be told “It’s just his allergies. Here’s a decongestant that will help.” And it always has helped – until now. I guess normally doctors don’t make an official asthma diagnosis until age 3, but our pediatrician wasn’t going to split hairs over a month and a half between now and Aaron’s 3rd birthday. I can see her point. I don’t see him suddenly outgrowing these symptoms in that time span when they seem to be getting progressively worse each allergy season since we first discovered his grass allergy at six months old.
So where does this leave me? Lost and overwhelmed. You would think that being an asthmatic myself I’d feel OK with all of this. I don’t. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 12, and I didn’t have a good treatment plan in place until just recently. I’ve never dealt with asthma in a small child. I know he’s a whole separate person and his triggers may be different from mine. I can’t just assume what affects me will affect him as well. I’m also a little freaked out by the fact that he’s too young to use an inhaler properly, so I have no portable rescue medication for him. Reading online hasn’t helped either. It has overwhelmed me with more information. And there’s so much information online. where do you even begin? The one thing reading about pediatric asthma has done is give me more mother’s guilt. I’ve read that reflux can cause asthma symptoms. Aaron’s had terrible reflux since birth. I know the co-morbidity rate of asthma and allergies is astounding, and he’s had moderate allergies since he was six months old. Add in an asthmatic mom, both parents and a brother with allergies, and the fact that he was preemie (everyone forgets this of the Jolly Green Giant Baby), and the poor kid never really had a shot at not having asthma.
So what do I do now? I do what I do best. I immerse myself in information, ask the pediatrician questions at his 3 year check up, and then ask my asthma and allergy doc questions on the side. I know that unless the pediatrician can’t keep Aaron’s asthma under control, he won’t get a referral to the allergist until he’s 5 when we do allergy testing on him (That’s the earliest they’ll do it. I keep asking).