Remember back in May when we had to take Addison to an out-of-town hospital because of difficulty breathing? Here...this might jog your memory. Well, when we got back home and I reported this to our pediatrician, we talked about the chance that the episode could have been asthma related. Being a preemie and having been born with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), Addison did have a much higher risk of developing asthma early in her life. Dr. B said the following about that first, isolated episode: "First time it's a fluke, second time it's a coincidence, and third time it's asthma."
Well, for the last 2 months, Addison has been sick more than she's been well. Addison rarely used to be sick, so this has come as a surprise to us. It started with the flu in early September and since then has been what we assume were colds. All of these colds (4 to be exact) have been rough on her (and us), especially in the breathing department. They've all gone straight to the chest. I'm not one to rush to the doctor with every sniffle or cough, so I've just nursed her back to health on my own. The symptoms last 7-10 days and then seems to return within the week. I have been dumbfounded as to what is going on with her immune system. The last bout at the end of October had her coughing, wheezing, and struggling to breath. I told a number of people that I thought Addison had cold-induced asthma. (For those who don't know, I have a really good track record at diagnosing.)
3 days ago, after only 3 days in a row of good health, she came down with another cold. As usual, it went immediately to her chest. I decided I would call the pediatrician first thing this morning to have her looked at.
Addison has asthma. Cold-induced asthma (we believe), to be exact. This basically means that when cold air enters the lungs, histamines are released which triggers asthma symptoms. Even more so, viruses (especially those spread in the winter) such as influenza and RSV can trigger asthma. What might pass through a non-asthmatic toddler with that child exhibiting little to no symptoms, turns into what appears to be a full-blown, bad cold for Addison, resulting in an asthmatic episode that lasts for days or weeks.
So what happens from here? Well, my sweet baby girl will be on daily breathing treatments (Pulmicort) indefinitely (at least through this winter), regardless of whether or not she is asthmatic at the time. If she is asthmatic, a second medication (Albuterol) gets thrown into the mix and is given to her as needed (via the nebulizer), as it was today.
Her airways are currently so tight and aren't contracting as they should. The idea is that this medication will expand her airways, therefore allowing her lungs the ability to prevent such severe reaction to cold air and viruses. The long-term hope is that she will eventually outgrow this, which seems likely given no family history. Thank goodness!
This diagnosis is almost without a doubt due to her premature birth. Though it is painful to see my baby suffer from this unfortunate circumstance, I say that if this is the worse side-effect that comes from her losing out on 9 weeks in utero, we are blessed!
Addison did great with her first breathing treatment. She enjoyed reading the book about Bubbles, the fish with asthma and kept telling me (muffled) "I big girl, Mommy. Doctor gim me mecine. All bedder."
Because she is currently displaying moderate asthma symptoms, I immediately followed the Pulmicort with a dose of Albuterol. One of the most common side effects to this medication is trouble sleeping (along with nervousness, tremors, headache and nausea, to name a few). Addison was due for a nap about an hour later and I didn't want her to lose out on more sleep, but knew she wouldn't sleep well without the treatment. What's a mom to do? So I gave it to her, thinking an hour would be enough time to give her lunch and hopefully avoid any side effects. She asked me to hold her during this treatment and about 2 minutes into it, she was out. I put her down for a nap and she woke up shaking and starving. POOR, POOR girl.
If you would please keep Addison in your prayers, we would really appreciate it. I know she will be fine and I thank God for modern medicine. I just hate to see her like this and don't want her to have to deal with this too far into her sweet, little life!