Thursday, November 12, 2009
Sympathy Smoking, aka Fun with a Nebulizer
Aidan's had a wet cough this week so we've been giving him breathing treatments to help his lungs. He isn't really sick enough to miss school (eats fine, no fever, no achy feelings, no congestion) but since he has Reactive Airway Disease we keep an eye on his breathing should it turn to something worse. He is such a trooper about getting his breathing treatments because he knows how much better he feels after wards.
When Aidan was 2, he was sick with what I thought was just a chest cold. I noticed he was wheezing so I decided I'd better take him to the doctor. Our regular doctor was out of town, so he saw one I'd never met. He didn't even need to listen with a stethoscope, he saw Aidan's chest retracting and clearly heard the wheezing. Our doctor's clinic was connected to the hospital, so I again had the experience of a doctor scooping up my sick child and carrying him to the emergency room to be admitted. He was hospitalized for several days with severe bronchitis and on breathing treatments every 2 hrs around the clock, plus steroids and antibiotics. Sean was just a few months old at the time, and our heads were pretty foggy still, so it was a shock to be in the hospital with our "healthy" child.
I stayed with Aidan, pumping milk to send home with Doug for Sean, and fought tears while I tried to get Aidan to do the breathing treatments. He was terrified of the noise the machine made, and the mask, and of being restrained for 30 mins each time while taking the medication. I had respiratory therapist try to show me ways to tightly pin him in my arms so he wouldn't pull the mask off. It was so exhausting and painful. When he was well enough to go home, we had to continue breathing treatments with a portable nebulizer 4x a day. Luckily, it wasn't as loud as the hospital one. We managed to slowly get Aidan more comfortable with the treatments by using those times as our TV times. One Bob the Builder episode was long enough for one treatment. When we had to do them at night, I'd hold him and tell him a story to pass the time. He loved for us to tell him stories, real and make-believe, and it would distract him from the treatment because he couldn't hear my story if he was crying and fighting me. He decided to call it "getting special smoke" when he was a toddler and we still call it that.
So here we are, five years later, and he does them without a problem. He even asks for them when he is feeling bad. Our biggest struggle now is keeping his siblings from unhooking the tubing! As you can see, they decided this morning to play with the spare equipment and keep Aidan company during his treatment.