Just in case you haven’t noticed, we have a new schedule this year. I post on on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Monday’s posts are dedicated to Abundant Living – Wholeness (mental, physical, spiritual health) or Proverbs 31 (living a full life as the woman God calls us to be). Wednesdays are our Bible Study Day. Fridays I post on the Inspired Living page (Acceptable Offering, HERstory, Book Club! or Lagniappe). I am still planning to add some new voices into the mix on Mondays and Fridays, so stay tuned! For now, it is just me 🙂 And so today’s bit is about the journey our family has taken, finding answers for my youngest, my Sweet Boy who had some health concerns.
He was just three and he couldn’t shake a cold. We thought is was croup at first, which he’d had many times before. But this time, the cough lingered. It was worse at night and then it was only at night. In case it was caused by post nasal drip, we did Benedryl before bedtime. We did Vick’s on the feet, which had worked before so many times. We tried Delsym. We elevated his bed. I slept on the floor. We used the humidifier. All of these things had worked before, individually, at one time or another, to alleviate coughs and get us through rough patches. But this was different. This went on for weeks.
We had been in twice to see the doctor earlier in the process and they said, “Coughs can linger for three weeks after the cold is gone, sometimes longer.” This was longer. He coughed all night, every night for seven weeks. Finally, I saw a young Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the Air Force Medical Clinic. She listened to our story. She quietly watched me cry my Momma tears as I painstakingly explained every detail I had recorded in my pre-written notes. And then, she listened to our Sweet Boy. No wheezing. But there never was wheezing. She checked him and he was just fine. He told her he felt great, when asked. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Then she listened to his lungs again. For a long time. So long, I was sure she would hear my heart beating loudly, as I prayed that she wouldn’t send me home without an answer.
“He has asthma,” she said. After she took her stethoscope out of her ears and draped it around her neck, she started to clean her hands. And pulled out the little models and explained to me about cough-variant asthma where inflammation in the airway can cause you can cough but not necessarily wheeze; and like all asthma, it can be much worse at night when levels of cortisol (the body’s natural anti-inflammatory agent) drop. She had heard, very faintly, that his exhale was slow. It took a bit too long for him to get the air out of his lungs. That was the evidence. That and my Momma tears. She said, “Maybe he never had croup all those other times. The treatment we gave him for croup would have helped his asthma.” Duh! That was one of those “Mom of the Year” moments. It was my complaint that his cough might have sounded “barky” that got us those croup diagnoses. Anyway there was one way to find out, she told me. Give him the rescue inhaler to treat the cough – it only works on inflamed airways. If it works, then you know. That night, it worked. Not one cough that night. Bingo!
Over the next several months, he got worse before he got better. A few times he did require oral steroids and at times he did wheeze (though I could never hear it out loud). But the hardest part was my learning curve. The only thing I could monitor was his cough, any cough was suspicious. We would learn that his only real “trigger” was getting an upper respiratory infection first which would create inflammation that decreased his airway. The incessant, dry cough is a sign that his airway is inflamed. Sometimes I would over-react and rush him to the doctor when he was fine; and sometimes I would under-react and start his asthma regimen a little too late. The medical providers at the clinic were very understanding. What a blessing that they would throw in hand-holding for me along with great care for my child. I will never forget that. Here we grow again.
Now I have the arsenal of medications. Now I have the experience to be more discerning. Now it is not so scary. Isn’t it amazing how God teaches us about Him through our children? Motherhood was never quite what I expected. It has been amazing and wonderful…and much, much harder than I thought it would be. And it has been very humbling. I have learned that there is only one place we can rest: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). There is only One who can calm our fears and He is the one who will never let us down. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6). I think God uses every area of our lives to grow us spiritually. He wants us to grow in our faith and obedience and knowledge of Him. Growth is painful, but worthwhile. Like a careful Gardener, He cuts off every branch‘¦that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (John 15:1). Like a metalsmith, He works in us to remove our impurities: For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried‘¦we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. (Ps 66:10, 12). For me, motherhood has been one refining fire! How about you?
Another time I will share more of our journey, about how we learned about the connection between GERD and asthma. For now, I hope you are getting started on our Book Club novella (only 150 pages total!). We will discuss it Friday, February 17. Today, let’s look for the areas God is calling us to grow in and be thankful that He is working in our lives. See you Wednesday for Bible Study!
JustAgirl…just like you