When I was about 4 years old we stayed in a friends house on holiday. They had a cat. The cat slept on my chest for a few nights and one morning I woke up unable to breathe properly. I tried to call my mum and dad, but they just snarled at me “it’s 5am go back to sleep”, I kept trying but they kept shouting at me to shut up, and because I couldn’t really breathe, I couldn’t really shout, so I was just making lots of wails and grunts. Eventually I knew I had to go and get them because I was really struggling. I don’t know how long I was calling them but to four year old me it felt like an eternity. The room they were sleeping in was up a steep flight of stairs, I remember standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up and thinking I would never make it to the top, but I knew I had to. I had to get my mum and dad to understand I couldn’t breathe, they were the only people who could help me. When I finally reached the top my dad took one look at me and they whisked me to A&E where I was nebulised. It was my first asthma attack and I was on ventolin as needed from then on. A few more hospitalisations due to asthma occured after then. I know how much guilt my parents felt from that episode and I vividly remember how utterly terrified I was that my mum and dad weren’t coming to make things better and I couldn’t breathe.
When you were 10months you had got croup and I went back to the doctors four times until they decided to admit you. I knew you weren’t right and it was serious. I remembered how I felt the morning of my first asthma attack, I vowed I would never put you in the same situation and that I would always check on you if you called me (Admittedly I haven’t always stuck to it as sometimes you are playing up at bedtime and so you get ignored a bit if you are clearly playing up but but I do check on you once asleep and not if ill.). Last night you were not sleeping well and wailing lots, as was your sister who had a milder cough. I was on my knees with tiredness as you kept waking each other up but I kept going in to check on you and at 3am I decided you breathing was sufficiently serious to warrant medical attention. LordCurd slightly disagreed so we tried sitting with you for ten minutes in the bathroom with a shower going to see if the steam helped first (you weren’t going blue but you were fighting to breathe). As there was no improvement I insisted on taking you to A&E (your dad never had childhood asthma so doesn’t know what it is like, but I was vividly remembering 4year old me and how scary it was, I didn’t want you to ever feel like I felt, that your parents weren’t taking your breathing difficulties seriously).
I took you up there, you were lethargic and grumpy, you were very weak and exhausted (it was 3am and you hadn’t really slept), you were initially very reluctant to try the salbutamol in a spacer but within 3puffs your chest eased and by the 10th puff you had already started to cheer up. It was literally a miracle transformation. You then started demanding I read you stories and you wanted your shoes and a drink. They gave you some steroids in a syringe and cup which one doctor was betting we would never get down you as it was vile and bitter, but you gulped it down happily without even needing something to take the taste away, the doctor was very surprised, and I was very proud. You got a blue helium balloon and a sticker for being a brave girl. You were very excited by both (you call the balloon a blue moon, and its currently tied to your bed) We took you home and went back to bed and you slept in until 10.15am and fee much better now.
Your diagnosis is either viral induced wheeze or asthma (but they tend not to formally diagnose until 4) so we have salbutamol and steroids for the next few days to keep you breathing well. I suspect you will ultimately turn out to have asthma like I did but that’s okay, the treatment is incredibly swift and effective and I promise I won’t ever leave you feeling terrified and unable to breathe with your parents ignoring you like I was. I will always whisk you to hospital if I think you need it- thankfully we live within a 5mins drive of A&E.
I hope you never develop a serious case of asthma, mine was never too bad and I grew out of it by 11ish, with the occasional mild wheeze due to allergies (am allergic to your grandparents’ house- your grandma, my mum, doesn’t like hoovering, ever!)
Anyhow I love you and I am so glad I took you last night and you are feeling so much better.
Phew. Thanks to nursery for their vigilance in knowing you were out of sorts and letting me know so I collected you early yesterday and thanks to the likely staff at A&E who treated you so promptly and effectively. You are a very lucky girl to be so well cared for.
P.S you just woke up and teddy had to have the medicine first and then teddy had to do your medicine as she is a Doctor Teddy 🙂