The god awful day I found my two year old had asthma:
It was a very mild September three years ago. I was nearly six months pregnant with our little girl and my son was nearly four. He was a very happy, confident little boy, who loved nothing more than keeping himself occupied and adored going to preschool a couple of mornings each week. I guess he was a very typical little three year old boy. He had what seemed like an average, mild cold for no longer than just a few days, which had turned into quite a nasty cough. I’m sure you know that this is definitely nothing knew for any child who mixes often with other kids. He spent the night awake, coughing and crying, not being able to sleep. I feel like such a bad mum now because, if i’m honest, I thought nothing of it, it was a cold mixed with a fever. Of course like all kids he had been ill before and had, had many colds – we all know its not always easy sleeping well with one.
Naturally, he was extremely exhausted the following morning, we all were. My son just laid on the sofa not really moving and not really talking, he didn’t even have the energy to eat, drink or go to the toilet. I thought it was best if I called the doctor and tried to get an appointment that day, I was worried he would get dehydrated. Yes, I was very worried about him, but I only thought that he might have a chest infection and put him on antibiotics or something – nothing major. Hindsight (gotta love hindsight), I should have taken him straight to A and E and knowing the signs now, I certainly would if the same were to happen with my daughter. The doctor was lovely and gentle (it helped as she was a mum I knew), but basically took one look at Jacob and called an ambulance. She sat me down and was straight with me and said if he didn’t go to hospital immediately, he could die. (Something a parent never, ever wants to hear.)
So, he spent the night and the next day in hospital on oxygen and taking steroids. To finally be diagnosed with viral asthma as well as a severe chest infection. We were sent home that evening with inhalers and firm instructions that the children’s ward at the hospital will remain open for him and to just phone and bring him straight back in. It took in total three courses of steroids and three courses of penicillin before Jacob well again, but he wasn’t himself at all. He wasn’t himself again for nearly another six months. It was horrible to watch him go through it. He caught any illness around, which in turn would set his asthma off. He was scared to sleep at night, he was scared to be left alone at playgroup and he wasn’t eating much. Then, just like that, he was fine and most importantly he had got his confidence back. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for my confidence. I doubted every single decision about his health (I still do) I worry endlessly when he is or his sister is ill (I know every parent worries.) I worry that his teachers won’t see the signs of an asthma attack – I wish so much that I could wrap him in bubble wrap! You have to let them live, right? What’s life without a few scraped knees? Or falling out a tree?
Jacob is a very, happy, confident boy now, but still whenever he gets a cold, the chances are it’ll end up on his chest, it always does, even though his asthma is under control – I guess it is his weak spot. However, he is six and apparently many children grow out of their asthma around the age of seven. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please – I really don’t want to have to go through, or see my son go through that hell again.