Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Puff, my magic little dragon

Mallory has had a nighttime cough for the past several weeks. It doesn't strike too much during the day, though it's been known to crop up when she experiences an extreme temperature change (going outside/coming in) or is running around. Mostly though, she has a couple of coughing fits each night where I might get up to give her a drink of water, but mostly we just have to wait it out.

Then, on Sunday night, she had a coughing fit that went on for quite some time. I got up to give her a drink and went back to bed. Still she coughed. A few more minutes passed and then the door to our bedroom opened and she came in. "Mom, look," she said. I took her to the bathroom and turned on the light. Her entire arm was soaked in white foam that she had coughed up. There were a few puddles of it on the floor in the hall. I freaked out. I gave her some Tic Tacs to suck on to help quell the coughing and sat up with her in the rocking chair until she felt better. Then I plugged a vaporizer into the socket in her room, went back to bed for a few hours, and called the doctor's office the minute they opened the following morning.

My doctor couldn't see her all week, and neither could any of the other 3 doctors in the practice, which makes me wonder what the hell kind of a medical system we have. Nonetheless, they recommended us to a medical clinic later that same day and we got in there. It did not take the doctor long to zone in on the problem. I described what had happened and he asked whether Mallory has ever had seasonal allergies (check!) or eczema (check check!), and then he diagnosed her as having Reactive Airway Disease.

Basically, this is a precursor to asthma, and about half of kids with RAD go on to develop asthma as adults. He prescribed her two puffers, one to take twice a day and one to take only when her coughing fits flare up. We've had no coughing fits in the 24 hours that she has been using the other puffer, so that's good. She also enjoys taking the puffs, which I do appreciate, seeing that I am already cramming pills down Captain's throat twice a day and the idea of forcing more medication on anyone would be enough to send me over the edge. Even though cough syrup is not sold for kids under the age of 6 anymore, I have been known to slip Mallory some from time to time, and she doesn't like the taste so it's always been a battle of the wills. I'm glad we don't experience this with the puffer.

Still... it's a puffer. And it's a chronic disease. And it's sad to face that kind of diagnosis for one of your kids. Especially when you are an active person, and you hope for that kind of life for your child, too. I know there's no guarantee that Mallory will be athletically inclined, nor is there a guarantee that asthma would prevent her from participating in anything, but you know the two are linked and it could make it that much harder for her. Yes, I know it could be worse, and I am thankful that her treatment is 'only' a puffer - she does not have it too bad, compared to a lot of other sick kids out there. I just hope that she'll be in the half of the population that outgrows this, and doesn't have to deal with it for her entire life.


Anonymous said...

Careful with cough syrup, many of the o/c kinds say on their labels that it is counter-indicated with asthma

Carrie said...

Thanks for the tip! Did not know that. The puffer seems to clear the cough up nicely on its own, so hopefully this is the end of my clandestine cough syrup days.

Anonymous said...

Ask to see a pediatrician from your family doctor to make sure that is she has been diagnosed properly.

megan said...

I would say that 1/2 of kids in Chatham are on a puffer at one time or another. Evelyn has had them on and off, been in the hospital over night for treatments and has been fine for the past few years (and played on every team that has crossed her path). I'm pretty sure Mal will be fine.