Saturday, August 31, 2019

He Couldn't Breath

A couple of weeks ago Patrick had a doctor's appointment and while he was there I mentioned that I thought the possibility of him having asthma that we'd talked about in the past, had developed into exercise induced asthma.

I've long been nervous about Patch's breathing. He was a wheezy baby, but gradually that went away.

But in so many ways his breathing, and health in general, reminded me of Sadie. And then I began to notice that despite being very active, he was becoming breathless and having coughing fits a minute after he'd begin running around with his brother and sisters.

His doctor knew about my concerns and had explained that it did sound like he was more prone to developing asthma, but there was a chance that he wouldn't. Some people can go either way.

But when the coughing fits started and I saw it really effecting his play I decided it was time to talk to his doctor again.

So a couple of weeks ago we came home with an inhaler from his doctor's office, to be used before he went out to run around, and an order for a PFT.

We were waiting on the call about the PFT, when yesterday came meandering through out of nowhere and smacked into us, in the most terrifying of ways.

I think that Patrick must have been feeling sick, because he came down and climbed into bed between Paul and I, which was something neither boy has been doing regularly in quite a while. He slept for a while, and I hardly noticed that he was there until the coughing started.

He coughed for about thirty seconds and I helped him sit up, asking Paul to go get his inhaler, because I had a sudden sinking feeling we were about to need it.

His coughs didn't sound quite right.

By the minute mark he was wheezing as he coughed and struggled to breath.

I didn't know that Paul was struggling to find the inhaler because it had gotten taken upstairs to Sadie's room with a bag of medications after a slumber party at Nani's house.

The inhaler, we'd thought, was only going to be used before he exercised or ran around. It hadn't seemed important to put it somewhere to be found at a moments notice like we have to do with Sadie's. And I had thought I'd known where it was. But I was wrong.

It took Paul a few minutes to find it and by the time he did Patrick was panicked and wheezing and coughing and sobbing and completely incapable of using the inhaler, even with the spacer.

We both tried to coach him through it, but with little luck.

He couldn't breath coordinate breathing out, or putting his mouth effectively around the spacer.

Then I remembered Sadie's nebulizer.

I raced downstairs and grabbed it and within another couple minutes was holding the mask on his face.

Within another minute his breathing was easier. By the time we finished the treatment I still thought his breathing sounded horrid but he said it felt fine.

He had another attack three hours later.

And that is how we ended up back at the doctor's office yesterday. There was one appointment available for the day, with a doctor we've seen before, and of course we took it.

His chest sounded fine, but he was stuffy. But I played a little bit of the video from one of the security cameras and she thought the cough sounded like croup (which he's also had before).

Sometimes albuterol can work on croup apparently too, so the nebulizer working doesn't rule out the possibility.

She does have him using his inhaler four times a day as we wait on his PFT, and for that reason didn't prescribe QVAR or a preventative medicine just yet.

And every time he uses it, it apparently becomes much easier for him to breath, so I'm thinking it might be a bad combination of both croup and asthma.

She also prescribed presidone in case it gets worse again (I'm pretty sure I now have three prescriptions of "just in case presidone" around here for various people).

Benadryl seems to be helping, along with his regular Zyrtec, too. And of course that four times a day use of his inhaler.

This year has been so good in some ways and so brutal in others. But I'm cautiously optimistic that if this is asthma, hopefully we'll have it under control soon. Sadie's is pretty well controlled now (she only needs her inhaler a few times a month and her pulmonologist is working on getting her to the point where she needs it even less than that) and hopefully, if that's what this is, his will be soon too.

Now if everyone could just stay healthy and uninjured for five minutes that would be great!


And for anyone interested in a few highlights from the vlog here are a few of the latest videos from over there: 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

We Were That Car in the Drop-Off Line This Morning

Today I was THAT parent in the drop off lane.

You know the one.

The one that takes forever.

And I didn't even see it coming.

James is four and a half but as the fourth of five kids, he can tumble out of the back of the car with his brother and sisters like he's storming the beaches of Normandy. The kids have a tendency to race to get places, even when they're been told "okay, no racing," so I know that he can move.

Today however, took a turn when, after dropping Sadie off at Middle School I heard a small voice from the back say "Mommy. I have to tell you something."

My immediate thought was "Maybe now, as I've just pulled into the drop off lane, isn't the best time, dearest" but there were about six cars in front of us, and no cars behind us, because it was still half an hour until school started and so instead I said "what's up Buddy?"

"My. Waterbottle. Just. Came. Out. Of. It's. Pocket." He said, his voice trembling.

As someone who has not been with our family this past week, you may not understand how monumentally dangerous I immediately understood this moment to be.

There have already been hysterical tears over the correct placement of his Paw Patrol Water Bottle in his Green Slime Backpack twice this week (and it's only Thursday morning, so that's 2 out of 3 of the morning runs completed). Fortunately those other W.B. disasters happened before we left home, where they could be quickly dealt with.

Now we were in the drop off lane. And getting closer to the front every second.

I did not ask why on Earth he was touching the water bottle in the car AGAIN, which I'm pretty sure means I deserve some sort of Mommy gold star towards a free coffee. Instead, as two cars pulled forward and we inched our way towards the front I said, in my calmest calming voice, "do you think you can slide it back in there Buddy?"

"NO I CANNOT!" he replied as we reached the front of the line.  As I glanced back I realized that his bones had been transformed into jello-y mush and he had now slipped down in his seat like the tiny puddle of preschool drama he so clearly had become.

"Can you just...Hold it in your hand as you walk in? Look right there buddy. There's a kid with a water bottle in his hand! Just do that! And you can put it away in your classroom!" Stress seeps through the forced brightness in my words as his older brother tumbles in an appropriately quick manner out of the car.

"NO I CANNOT!" comes the answer again.

"Okay dude. You've got to go. We're holding up the line. Up, up, up. Leave it. If you can't carry it, you can have it after school."

To my abundant surprise he listens. He makes it to the door.

But then Maggie, his nine year old his sister, who's in the middle row captain's chair and is on the autism spectrum, starts to giggle which is what she always does in stressful situations.

"DON'T YOU LAUGH AT ME MAGGIE!!!!" he shouts as the principal arrives the door of the car to welcome him to school (and probably see what the hold up is).

"Are you okay buddy? What's wrong?"

Oh no. Don't ask that. He's almost out. He's literally centimeters from exiting the car.  I scream internally, while outwardly managing a polite smile of thanks for her concern.

"My water bottle." He gulps the words out in one great rush. After almost pulling it together he starts to break down again, as he remembers why he was upset, and not just his anger  because his nine year old sister is annoying him.

"Oh? Do you need your water bottle?"

The silent screaming in my head doesn't drown out his adamant claim that he does need it. He slowly stumbled back to the back seat and picks it up (as only a kid with low tone who's been waiting for an opening after a PT referral can do), then slowly stumbles to the front as I sink down a few inches lower in the driver's seat and try to disappear.

Finally he makes his way past his sister.

"Maggie's sock fell out!" Patrick tells me, because of course, by now her socks are off her feet and on the floor in front of her, and directly in front of the door that James is stumbling out of.

"Throw it back in." I reply. "And have a great day." The car doors finally close and as they head towards the school's front doors I glance over my shoulders to see that "no one behind us" has been transformed into Cars Lined Up All The Way to The School's Driveway Entrance. And possibly down the street, but at least I can't see that far because of the corner.

I die a little.

We pull out of the parking lot and I fantasize for a few minutes about the abundantly clear instructions the four and a half year old is going to have tomorrow about unloading at drop off, and then spend another ten minutes wondering if I've just single handedly gotten kindergarteners and K-club banned from using the drop off lane (they're already banned from being picked up there).

Because if that's the case, we're in real trouble.

I have to drop the boys off by myself each morning, on my way to dropping off our two autistic girls at their two individual schools, which are roughly fifteen and thirty miles away, respectively.

We don't do buses, because with medication rules, they can't have their inhalers on the bus for the hour and a half bus ride, and two of our kids have inhalers and I feel like that's just too big of a risk.

And walking them in? I imagine it's physically possible, in an abstract sort of way.

And dangerous.

I would have our nine year old, who loves to elope and is a genius at escaping (and may just be melting down, because mornings are prime melt down time) and our three year old, who collapses randomly, and who I also have to hold onto every moment to keep from running off, trying to fall into every puddle she sees, and then freaking out because she's wet and HATES how that feels navigating the path to the school.

Loading and unloading them into the car by myself is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Can I do it? Yes.

Do I avoid it at all costs? Also yes.

So I risk an occasional slow morning on those days when my four and a half year old is having a moment to keep everyone a little bit (okay a lot) safer and to keep myself a little bit saner.

And I hope that the cars behind me understand when they see my red eyed four year old tumble out of the car, that the reason behind the unreasonably long unloading time was because of a rebel water bottle, and not because I was scrambling an egg for my kid in the car and serving him breakfast.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The 1st Day of School 2019

Today was the first day of school.

And last night, in anticipation of the first day of school, I had everyone put on their first day of school outfits and I snapped photos.

Because I've learned that there's no way we're getting good photos amid the chaos of rushing around to get everybody to school before 8 am, despite my best laid plans.

Besides, I only had one of each of my back to school chalk boards and interviewing and writing out each kids answer just would not work out with the hours we have between sunrise and school.

So one by one I took each kid aside on Sunday afternoon and asked them their questions. Everyone except Tessie was able to answer them.

In fact, Tessie was the loose cannon all the way around for this whole photo thing. All she wanted to do was look at the flowers on the giant flowery bush in the driveway:

Meanwhile James was ready to ham it up. 

James is going to K-club this year, which is not quite preschool, but not quite kindergarten, although technically it is kindergarten. It's for kids whose birthday are between September and December of the school year and it's just what this guy needs. 

He loved his first day back and is so excited to be in the same school as his big brother this year.

Meanwhile Patch was moved up from kindergarten into first grade. 

I'm grateful that he's only a few doors down from his little brother. 

It took us all summer, and approximately, 8745 pairs of shoes, but we finally found a pair that are not too "tight and squeezy" on his feet.

I was so relieved on that day.

For a moment I had visions of him wearing his favorite raggedy old sandals in the snow.

I am so proud of Maggie and this photo.

Not only this, but today she had her yearly physical and she went in and sat perfectly still while she had her blood pressure taken, and she remained still when the doctor looked in her ears and mouth, and of course as always she said "bu-bump, bu-bump," when they listened to her heart.

I don't think I would have believed that those things were possible if you had told me she would be doing them so soon, a few years ago.

My tween is going to Middle School! How can that be?

She is 5'3 (and a quarter) and is rapidly closing the gap between us in height. At this rate, and if her feet, which are three sizes bigger than mine, are any indication, she's going to be taller than me by Christmas time.

And she's quite anxious for that day. It might be her #1 goal as a fifth grader.

I'd like to thank James for being perpetually photogenic. As mentioned earlier, thank goodness I took pictures yesterday! Because in their sleepy, impatient state, no one really wanted photos today!

I am definitely going to have to do this again next year. It made this morning so much less stressful.

Now to get ready for the second day of school.

Today Nani and Bopa helped me out by taking the girls to therapy, but tomorrow I'm attempting to drop everybody where they need to be on my own. Fingers crossed we can make it everywhere without being late!