It's been a hot minute since I've had one of these posts spill out of me.
Yesterday had all the makings of an interesting day. At our eleven year old well check up for David, the pediatrician finally decided that we had explored every treatment she could think of to alleviate his nasal congestion and wheezing and that seeing an allergist was the best option for him at this point. Time to get down to the bottom of things and find out exactly what triggers his symptoms.
The poor kid has had a stuffy nose his entire life. I remember first discussing it with his pediatrician in Montgomery when he was still an infant; he couldn't have been any older than nine months. I first contributed it to teething, but when it never went away, I asked the doctor if he could be allergic to our cat. He said most likely not and that allergies like that don't normally present themselves that early on life. I found out yesterday that he was wrong.
As we sat in the little patient room and the doctor began asking questions, this Mama began feeling more and more inadequate by the moment.
"So, when you're laughing, do you sometimes laugh so hard that you end up coughing?"
(My internal thought: Wow... he does this all time.)
"And how do you do when you're outside playing really hard with your friends? Do you ever notice yourself wheezing or coughing or feel short of breath then?"
"When we're playing football for a long time, I do. I start coughing or feel weird in my chest and have to sit down for a little while."
(My internal thought: He's never told me about this before. How could I not have noticed, though?)
"Do you get hoarse a lot?"
"Oh, yes. All the time."
(My internal thought: I had no idea this could be related to asthma or allergies. How did I not know that all these years? Why did I think that was normal?)
I could go on, but I will spare you of all the weird little things that have been a part of David's little life so far that are normal for him but are far from what normal should be. And it broke my heart to watch his little back literally explode in whelps in reaction to all but three environmental allergens they tested him with. And to hear from a doctor that my son has never known how a normal respiratory system works, what it feels like to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It broke my heart. It really did. And to think that we could have gotten a handle on this much earlier in life was almost unbearable to me.
I know, as parents, we do the best we can. We make choices and decisions based on the information we have in front of us, and we move on. But later on down the road, the what ifs of life sometimes haunt us, and that's how I feel in this situation. What if I had pushed for this sooner? What if I had paid more attention? Would he have been a better student? A better baseball player? The allergist even told me that studies have shown that mouth-breathers, like David, have more orthodontic issues than those who breathe through the nose. She said that breathing through the mouth for years, especially as a young child, actually changes the shape of the face effecting spacing of teeth and facial shape. So could we have avoided orthodontic work all together?
I know I have to stop asking myself questions that are irrelevant at this point anyway. I made the choices I made, and now we have all the information in front of us. So on to more decisions.... shots or no shots? What kind of HEPA filter to buy for his room? What kinds of mattress and pillow covers to purchase? The decisions are, at least, now proactive and moving toward a more healthy child instead of simply managing the symptoms of a problem.
So, the moral to the Crazy Mama story today is that Mama's intuition is usually right. Turns out he is allergic to cats, just like I suspected ten years ago. I was right; doctor was wrong. Seems I need to listen more to my intuition than to the powers that be. If I had, we would have know a long time ago that we needed to make major changes in our home to help our son breathe better. Some things can't be avoided, like trees and grass and weeds (to which he tested positive to every single type of each), but I could have been more proactive with a few things that would avoid flare ups.
So, this Mama will be busy in the weeks to come. Cleaning. Eliminating the things that hang on to dust in our home. Learning a new way to dust without stirring it up in the air. Working on making David's bedroom as controlled an environment as possible. And also being grateful that we finally know what is going on and know how to make it better.
Dear Lord... I am so thankful for a healthy little boy, one who has never complained about the little things that have effected him all along. I am thankful that his allergies are not severe and life threatening. I ask You to help me make good choices for him, to do all that can to make his life better. And I ask You to grant me all the patience and strength I need to enforce to the things he will try to resist. In the Powerful name of Jesus, I pray... Amen.