Monday, August 25, 2014

Family Update: Another ER Visit and A Different Diagnosis

Some people know what's been going on with us lately, some know only parts, and others probably have just wondered why I've been a bit absent lately on the blog and other social media (and I apologize for any non-answered emails). I figured an update here was appropriate and I could then easily share the story with anyone who has been wondering about us.

The short story is that after two trips to the ER and one hospital stay in a month, we have a child with asthma. That doesn't really explain a whole lot, so here's the longer version.

In mid-July Peter started not feeling well and we ended up at a doctor appointment, then the ER, and then admitted to the hospital. I mentioned this in a 7 Quick Takes post shortly after it all happened. you can read about it in Take #6 on this post HERE.

So the diagnosis then was pneumonia. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.

Fast forward to August 17, almost exactly one month from his hospital stay, and his breathing seemed very labored again. He woke up that morning seeming a little off, so we gave him an albuterol treatment (the nebulizer) before leaving for Mass that morning. By the time we got home he was sounding bad again, so we did another one. But his breathing wasn't improving much and he was starting to get that grunting sound back. So I called the Twilight Clinic to find out if we should bother with them or go straight to the ER (told them we had dealt with this the month previous) and they said go to the ER. So, Hubby and Peter headed out. It was probably around 1:30, maybe 2:00, that afternoon.

I got updates from Hubby here and there and it sounded like Peter was responding well to some breathing treatments. It was looking like he was going to be sent home. During one of our phone conversations was when I first heard mention of possible asthma. Eventually I heard around 8 that evening that they were going to be sent home. They pulled in around 10:30 and I told Peter I'd get him anything he wanted for dinner. He chose yogurt, applesauce, and cinnamon-sugar toast, so that's what he got.

That was a Sunday. I made a follow-up with the pediatrician for Tuesday where we discussed asthma some, did some more nebulizer treatments, and got a new prescription to fill (someone in the ER didn't write one of the prescriptions they gave us correctly and I thought it looked odd when I got it filled so I waited until we saw the pediatrician and she agreed with me). We were also given an appointment for Thursday with the Pediatric Pulmonology Department.

As a side note, I went to the pharmacy on that Sunday to fill a prescription I had from July for more albuterol. I ended up getting the big box which was HUGE! 60 vials huge!! Then I went back on Monday with the two prescriptions from the ER. I went again on Tuesday with the prescription I got from the pediatrician and then again on Thursday (drop off) and Friday (pick up). I've spent a lot of money there recently. AND ... I now recognize the pharmacy's phone number on my phone when I get the automated "your prescriptions are ready" call. Hopefully we are done for a while.

Thursday's Pulmonology appointment was really good. The doctor was very nice and took time with me. We discussed asthma, what it means, a plan for treatment, allergies, and his nurse went over the treatment plan in detail with me as well. Plus they gave me a bunch of information to read. And we go back in three months for a follow-up.

So for now, we have an inhaler that he uses every four hours (albuterol, and I can use either the inhaler or the nebulizer; same medication, just different methods of distribution). Then he has a second inhaler that contains a steroid that is used twice a day, morning and night. Currently we are supposed to do 4 puffs of that one and then wean him down to two. He was on a prednisone for four days which we just finished up on Saturday. And finally he has some Singulair he takes just before bed.

I was taking in so much information this past week that I was starting to feel overwhelmed. It's hard enough to get things done on the weekends and also spend time with my kids without running a bunch more errands and trying to clean the house from top to bottom. I went to work on Thursday afternoon and just could not concentrate! So I made a very last minute decision on Friday morning and took a vacation day. I went and bought impermeable mattress and pillow case encasements for the boys' room, I washed all the sheets from their room (and Silas' room), dusted the furniture, and vacuumed everything, including moving the bed to get under it. I got the encasements all on and remade beds. I haven't yet done much else in the rest of the house, but luckily we had recently had guests so I had cleaned most of the house earlier in the week.

Now I just have to plan to actually change sheets once a week and figure out how to vacuum twice a week. I can vacuum and dust once over the weekend, but how in the world I'm going to find a way to do it once during the week is beyond me. Especially since Peter can not be in the room that is being vacuumed and he can't go into the room for 30 minutes after it is vacuumed. Normally we have about two hours between when we get home and when we start getting kids to bed, and those two hours are pretty packed.

There are a number of other things I hope to do and a few things that won't be happening (like replacing carpet with flooring or switching out our furniture, just can't do those things right now). But I need to get rid of some curtains that we have left hanging up from the previous owners of the house (which won't be sad at all, there are some horribly ugly curtains in our family room that I've been dying to get rid of) and I want to try and wash as many parts of the couches as I can. I've toyed with the idea of getting a cleaning service, even just once a year to do things like blinds and ceiling fans and all those things that are a pain and don't necessarily need to be done frequently, but now I'm seriously considering it. It'd be nice to know that we can get a good deep clean 1-2 times a year while I handle regular maintenance as much as possible.

I'm sure we'll be learning a lot more about asthma and allergies and who knows what as we go forward in the months and years to come. For now, Peter is doing great! He's running around, playing with his brothers, getting into trouble, and just being 3 years old. His breathing is excellent at the moment, I have't heard much coughing at all and definitely no grunting. So we're pleased.

Only thing we need now is tips on how to teach a 3 year old to take a sip of water, keep it in his mouth, swish it around, and spit it out. He needs to do this after the steroid inhaler and he doesn't yet get it. It's so hard to explain something that seems to intuitive to us.

If you've read this whole long story, thank you for sticking it out with me. As a reward, I give you a recent testosterone pile:

Yep, that's all four of my boys piled up there.

1 comment:

  1. Clark also has asthma. He was about this same age when he was diagnosed. Which means he also wouldn't swish and spit. He ended up using a wet washcloth to clean the inside of his mouth or toothbrush with just water until he learned to do so. Also, if you find a cleaning service for those kinds of things, let me know! I've been toying with that idea as well. Not that I've found the frequent cleaning to be helpful (as far as his symptoms go). You might want to look into seeing a peds allergist to see if the asthma is caused by allergies. And here in KY, it seems it usually is. So, treating the allergies helps eliminate the need for the asthma meds. Just a thought :)