Thursday, September 17, 2015

Every Breath You Take

Readers and friends, I'm in a tail-spin, trying to adjust to the recent acceleration in asthma that our wee girl, Tess, is facing.

She's five now and  she had her first diagnosis of  'possible asthma' aged three. It had always been mild and infrequent until the last six weeks or so, when  it just feels like we're fighting ever bigger waves in the ocean.

She's had three flare-ups: one requiring oxygen masks and hospital. The other two, I was more attuned to, so we caught them earlier with oral steroids from the GP, although they still were (and are) very hard for her; and not easy for me to watch. All the episodes seem to be viral-ly triggered by a cold.

I have no experience of asthma myself. Daily now, I am walking or cycling and just marveling at the miracle efficiency of my own lungs - for the first time in my life. It's something we easy-breathers take for granted. Now I can see how achingly challenging it must be when something as fundamental as breathing is not 'a given'. Poor Tess currently has the hacking / heaving cough at the slightest walk in the street.

So we have seen a consultant and my dear GP friend is very supportive, but this week just feels like fire fighting; throwing buckets of water at a burning building, thinking What? How the hell did this happen?

I'm searching the net for info. Lots of it is conflicting. Lots of it is scary and I try not to click on those links. One asthma nurse urged me to get rid of her bedroom carpet and all of her cuddly toys.

Another doctor friend said dust allergy isn't 'dose-dependent' and because you'd never get rid of it all, don't wear yourself out being over zealous.  At least one website claims evidence on dust reduction isn't conclusive.

Almost everyone I talk to knows someone with asthma - themselves or their brother, sister, child etc. Honestly world, what are you doing to us all?

In my rash moments I want to move to the country and keep as far away from our crazy car culture as I can. I know it's not realistic for us as a family, although I pine for a sunny Mediterranean break or 3 months in the pure sea air of the Hebrides next summer.

In the meantime it's a day-by-day thing. I have to get to bed early, knowing I could be woken through the night by the heart-sink cough.

Wish us luck. She's on day 3 of big steroids tomorrow, although the doc said she may need 5 days. We'll see.

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