Being a parent is hard.
Having a chronically ill child (or children) is hard too.
Some days you think, "Will it ever get better?!"
I had friends whose kids NEVER seemed to be sick. Or, they would get a "little cold" and sniffle for a week and be done. My kids would get "a little cold", get pneumonia and end up in the hospital.
A coughing kid can wake me out of a dead sleep faster than anything. "Who's coughing?" I yell, as I run from bedroom to bedroom with my heart pounding in my chest.
That's how it would start at our house. A little cold. A little cough. And then it would go downhill from there.
We did everything right. Washed our hands. Used paper towels to open the door handle in public bathrooms. Washed our hands again as soon as we got home. Got flu shots every year. And we even had the pneumonia vaccine!
Made our home allergy and asthma friendly by tearing out the carpet so we could have the wood floors instead. Vacuuming. Mopping. Washing bedding. Washing curtains. Dusting blinds. Washing the couch slipcovers. Changing the furnace filters.
I had a chart on the fridge for each kid's allergy and asthma medicine. Who needs what at what time. We didn't miss a dose. Ever.
And still nothing helped.
Friends would come over to play with my kids and I if could see a runny nose or hear that child coughing, I would send them home. (This is after I already told their parents to PLEASE not send their child over if they were sick. I would tell them a cold to you is pneumonia to us and ANOTHER hospitalization).
Other parents with healthy kids don't "get it."
We had 12 hospitalizations for asthma (2 of those were ICU.)
We get it. We get what it's like to know where every pediatrician's office is on our network - so we know where to go for After Hours help (which for us is from 5pm to 10pm.) After that, we would head to the ER.
We get middle of the night trips to the Emergency Department.
We get prescriptions, doctor bills, hospital bills, x-ray bills, lack of sleep, and crying. Lots and lots of crying. (From me....not from the kids!)
It hurts when my child can't breathe, and I can't fix it. Many times, I was in over my head. That's when I let the hospital take over. That's why I have insurance!
I let other people help too. I'll never forget a friend who said, "Is there anything you need?" I told her I was craving a hot, gooey chocolate chip cookie. She brought a whole plate to the hospital - still warm!
Friends took my other kids to and from school, and let them stay and play after school. Neighbors picked up groceries when my fridge was bare after a hospital stay.
Friends brought "goody bags" to the hospital for Hubby and I. Full of magazines, crackers, gum, juice and most of all - chocolate!
It will get better. Kids get older. They can tell you when they hurt/can't breathe/don't feel well. You fine-tune their medications and learn when to increase their controller meds/start them on an oral steroid/ head to the After Hours vs the Emergency Department.
You learn to sleep when you can.
Son # 1 and Son #2 are in college now and rarely have problems with their asthma. Daughter Kitty is in high school and still has her days, but hasn't been in the ER or hospital for a LONG time.
It does get better.
Take care of yourself. Ask for help. Watch a funny movie. Read up about asthma! Allergy & Asthma Network is a great places for families to learn more.
Keep your chin up! You can do this!