Emma has asthma.

Oh, the guilt! I feel like I did when Kate broke her leg.

I saw on the news this week that Children’s Mercy has seen a large number of kids come in with pollen allergies. A mom was describing her child’s reaction. It was exactly what Emma had. Every time she was outside playing, her eyes would swell and she would get a stuffy nose. She didn’t act like she had a cold because she was happy. It seemed to get better indoors.

We gave her some allergy medicine and that made everything better. She could play outside with no symptoms.

Then two days ago, the dreaded cough came back. It sounded like we had a seal barking in the room next to us.

I called the triage nurse at Children’s Mercy around midnight. We had some leftover codeine medicine from the last time she had the cough. It helped suppress the cough so she could sleep. The nurse said it was ok to give her another dose. We gave her a dose and went to bed. An hour later, she was back coughing.

I am not kidding you. Every 30 seconds to 1 minute, she would have a coughing fit from about 1 am until 7 am. We put humidifiers close to the bed. We brought her into a steamy bathroom. We made her drink warm honey juice. We put a thick layer of Vicks on the feet with socks. We gave her cough drops. NOTHING WORKED.

Scott and I got absolutely no sleep last night. I am usually a pretty good sleeper. I can sleep with lights on, tv on, on a hard surface…nothing bothers me if I’m sleeping. But a freakin’ seal bark coming from my child twice a minute will keep me wide awake. My heart was racing half the night. It was about to pump itself out of my chest. I kept thinking Emma was going to stop breathing because she was coughing so much. I obsessed on how I would get her to start breathing again. I googled on my phone how to perform CPR. I was positive Scott would run to the bathroom with diarrhea caused by his nerves (He didn’t, but it sounds likes something he would do). It was hours of insanity and pure torture.

Emma finally stopped the coughing fits at 7 am. Kate woke up at 8 am to begin my day. Scott left for work. Poor Emma finally got to sleep from 7 am to noon.

When Emma woke up and came downstairs, she said to me with very droopy eyes, “mommy, I slept really good.”

She had no memory of coughing. Which I guess is good…she actually slept through her body’s need to bark every 30 seconds.

I called her ped’s nurse anyway. I was not about to go through another night of that.

They got us in to see her doctor today. Emma officially has “allergy induced asthma”.

She is on an oral steroid for the next 4 days. Which, by the way, causes her to stay awake. Taken twice a day. Her first dose was a double dose. So guess who is watching cartoons with daddy as I type….

She also has to have an asthma inhaler taken twice a day for daily maintenance of her lungs. We have to give her this every day, twice a day, until about 4th of July.

She also has a rescue inhaler that is only given if she gets a coughing attack. The doctor informed us that not all kids will wheeze if they have asthma. Some kids will have a “croupy” cough. And the coughing kids are harder to diagnose because “coughing” can be a number of diagnoses.

Emma’s doctor has ruled out everything else she could possibly have. She shows all signs of “allergy induced asthma”.


I know, I know….there was nothing I could or could not do to prevent this. Scott and I do not have allergies of any kind.  Or asthma. I kept thinking to myself at the doctor’s office, but I breastfed her until a year! Her own parents have never had this!

Doesn’t matter. She’s the kid with the inhaler twice a day.

I’m glad it’s manageable. I’m glad we figured this out. If she’s going to have something wrong with her, asthma is really not bad at all. I should really count my blessings.

But today, I have the sick, guilty feeling I did when Kate fell down the stairs.

This is why moms have the toughest job ever. It can be pure torture.

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