Not only does Ian suffer from fetal alcohol effects, he also suffers from asthma. Severe asthma. Last May he was hospitalized after contracting a simple cold that triggered a massive attack. He spent three days in the hospital, the first being Mother's Day--yes, now is the time to feel my pain and express sympathy--thank you. Last Saturday Scott and I were on date with his crew from the fire station and their wives. We were having a delicious meal at Market Street Grill, courtesy of Captain Kirk. (That is not a typo.) Luckily we'd finished the meal and were awaiting dessert when the call came. It was Tawni. Ian couldn't breathe. She'd given him his medication, but it didn't help.
Prior to this, Ian had a stuffy nose for about two weeks. Nothing major. Just snot. But on Friday, he developed a cough. Saturday it got a little worse. By the time we arrived home after our date, he was throwing up every time he coughed. On my bed, and all over the freshly cleaned carpets. I know it's shallow to mention it, but hey, it's frustrating. After emptying his stomach, he then began to cough up thick mucous. Scott put his paramedic skills to good use and listened to his lungs. The tops were wheezy and there was no air flow in the bottoms. We administered a breathing treatment with the nebulizer, but it didn't help. We decided to take him to the emergency room.
Luckily, Ian didn't need to be admitted. With another breathing treatment and oral steroids, his lungs cleared, although the terrible cough remained. It is now Wednesday night. He has not been to school. This is the third week of school he has missed since it started in late August. I just can't keep the kid well.
We had a follow-up appointment with the pediatrician yesterday. She increased Ian's maintenance medication from 44mcg 2X/day to 110mcg 2X/day. He also gets three Decadron tablets every night this week, Albuterol every four hours, nasal spray, Benadryl, and 2 tsp of Amoxicillin 2X/day. The poor kid is a walking pharmacy. And every medication Ian has to swallow triggers his gag reflex. It takes me twenty minutes to get the Amoxicillin into his body. Every puff of Albuterol is straight adrenalin. You couple that with a kid who has major ADHD, poor impulse control, and no understanding of consequences, and you end up with something like a mean alcoholic on speed.
He and I have been together none stop since Saturday night. I am tired.
But I shouldn't complain. He's the real one who suffers. A few weeks ago, Ian was battling another cold. He lay in his bed, miserable, while I attempted to settle him for the night. He asked me one simple question.
"Will my ashthma go away?"
I had to be honest. "No, honey. It doesn't go away. It will always be there, but you won't always be this sick."
His bottom lip trembled right before he burst into tears.
Ian is seven. He's beginning to notice the differences between himself and other kids. He wants desperately to be well. He wants to play, have pets, play with other people's pets, run without coughing, have skin that doesn't itch constantly, and he doesn't want to take medicine.
Life isn't fair. This little guy's been given a double whammy. He has a lot of illness and issues to overcome. I worry about him constantly, I ache for him daily, and I love him fiercely.