The Breathing Treatment

The hits just keep on coming for poor Evie.

We were taking Oliver for a follow up appointment for his ear infection, but you would have sworn the appointment was for Evie. She was hacking and coughing every few seconds the entire time we were there, while Oliver joked and played around. “Do you mind if I look at her?” asked the doctor. “No, no, she’s fine, just a cold,” we said. After a few minutes, the doctor asked again. “Well, it’s probably not necessary,” we responded. More uncontrollable hacking and coughing from Evie. Finally, the doctor just plain insisted.

She had Evie checked in and did an exam. After listening to her lungs, she decided she wanted to get Evie a nebulizer.

I’m not going to lie, this freaked me out. Growing up, my sister had pretty severe asthma, and she still deals with it to this day. I have strong memories of seeing her in the hospital, looking so small and pale, resting in an oxygen tent, unable to get enough air into her lungs. She was practically connected to her nebulizer, doing a breathing treatment several times a day, every day.

Asthma, allergies, and eczema are all related, and they’re all in my family in spades. There isn’t a one of us that doesn’t have one or more of these afflictions. Obviously I gifted my son with the eczema gene, so in my mind it seemed entirely likely that I gifted my daughter with asthma.

I remember my sister once did a school science fair project on asthma. In order to show what it felt like to have an asthma attack, you were supposed to breath through one of those little coffee-stirring straws for 30 seconds. This is something that has really suck with me for my entire life. 30 seconds is such a short amount of time, and yet the feeling of suffocation was absolutely terrifying. Ten seconds in and I felt like clawing at my throat. I imagined how many times my sister must have felt that desperate panic, and how she couldn’t just remove the straw and draw in a breath when she couldn’t take it anymore.

Not something I wished for my daughter.

Evie was a little worried about the breathing treatment, but that was partially our fault. I was caught up in my own thing, so it never occurred to me to actually explain what was going on until Evie, almost in tears, leaned over and asked in a small, quiet voice, “Is that going to turn my lungs black?” She thought we were making her smoke!

The doctor doesn’t think she has asthma, but she couldn’t rule it out either. However, her theory was that Evie’s airways were reacting to the fact that she has had 6 colds in 12 weeks, and her lungs just haven’t had time to recover in between. Certainly something was going on, because within 30 seconds of doing the nebulizer, Evie’s cough magically disappeared. They gave us an inhaler to take home, and we’ve used it pretty regularly. Again, this brought a lot of flash-backs to my sister, and in fact, Rachael used her inhaler in front of Evie to inspire her.

It seems like Evie’s lungs have now recovered, and she’s gone 30 seconds in between colds, which is a record for her. Hopefully this was a transitory thing, and not something she’ll have to deal with her entire life.

That poor girl just can’t catch a break!

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3 thoughts on “The Breathing Treatment

  1. We have had a nebulizer in full force in our house for a couple of years. Both Ayla and Jackson use it at the first sign of a cough… especially Ayla… if we don’t use it immediately, her lungs just cannot rebound and she is lethargic for a week. But we don’t need it on a regular basis, only when a cold hits. Hopefully this will be the case for Evie (or hopefully not even that!)

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