Monday, September 17, 2012

Plants vs. Riley

Remember oh-so-long ago (you know, like “2 whole weeks”) when I was lamenting the fact that in terms of health crises, "one occurrence can be considered a fluke, twice constitutes an alarming trend"? (I love quoting myself, as if I'm some kind of expert!) Well, under those parameters, it seems Riley's new "Fall thing" is going to be: Attack of the Wheezing. It happened last year--on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, which I wouldn't have recalled, until he adamantly reminded me, irrefutably proving just how much of a traumatic imprint it made on his memory. Now, that one was downright scary, as he struggled to breathe and we whisked him to the Emergency Room, where they medicated him and gave him breathing treatments to loosen up the gunk and open the passageways. Fortunately he responded immediately to the intervention, and continued to improve over the next several days. Since he'd never experienced any kind of lung issues before, we chalked it up to "random virus" and thought we'd never have to deal with it again. (Ha! Jinxed ourselves…) However, after  you’ve used a nebulizer machine, with the mask that goes over your face, they naturally give it to you to bring home. At the time, I looked blankly at the nurse when she held the box out to me, wondering "what the heck am I going to do with this contraption?" But, being the hyper-organized person that I am, I made sure the directions and all the parts were safely tucked in, and placed the whole thing in the Storage Room downstairs…where it would hopefully never be touched again.

And it really seemed that we were home free. We were cruising along, healthy except for the day-to-day allergy issues that are completely manageable (with OTC meds, that is), all the way to...September…again. (Sigh. At least it was two weeks after Labor Day this time, that counts for something, right?) One night Riley started coughing heavily, sounding congested and uncomfortable. In the morning, although his symptoms were nowhere near as bad as they were during last year’s episode, Husband and I just…didn’t like something about the sound of his breathing. (You know, Dr. Mom and PA Dad, the undisputed team of experts…at least in this house…) So we made the decision to keep him out of his soccer game (gasp!) and drag him to the (real) pediatrician instead. And whaddya know, she agreed with us—that although it wasn’t severe, there was some “tightness” in his chest, and nebulizer therapy would most likely alleviate it.

Well, good thing I carefully packed up the machine last year, yeah? When I went to retrieve it from the basement, I found even better news: not only had I stored all of the necessary pieces, but I’d kept the leftover Albuterol as well--no need to even fill the new prescription. This time we felt like old pros hooking up the apparatus and administering the solution…and once more the procedure eased Riley’s upper-respiratory distress. So what have we learned from this repeated sequence of events? First of all, Riley—although he’s never tested positive for a ragweed allergy--is evidently sensitive to the stuff, at least when it’s at peak production and swirling madly around outside our neighborhood. More importantly, next year we’re commencing a preventative extra-strength allergy drug regimen in August, and crossing our fingers that it keeps the stupid pollen dust at bay without having to resort to steroidal solutions. For now, everyone’s breathing easier (literally AND metaphorically) and looking forward to the more pleasing aspects of the Fall season, like cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and crisp apples. We’re definitely not allergic to any of these!

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