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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sad times can cause asthma attacks?

(Shutterstock image)

Sadness causing an asthma attack? Yep, it can.

Sunday is one of those days I would like to forget.
Even though we have allergies and asthma , we have 2 kitties (long story….we inherited them from our neighbors). Anyway, my sweet little Siamese Kitty seemed really tired Saturday night. We thought he was spending a little too much time wandering around the neighborhood.

He came home and curled up on his favorite chair, nothing unusual about that.
Sunday morning, I woke up to see if he wanted breakfast. He didn’t look good. I’ll spare you the details, but we bundled him up on his blankie and rushed him to the closest animal hospital.

They suspected leukemia or distemper. But let’s face it, either one is fatal.
After $600 in tests, it came back as positive for distemper. The vet told us that Siamese Kitty was really sick, and that of the cats she had seen that had actually survived distemper (very few) were permanently brain damaged and needed special care for the rest of their life.

We couldn’t let Siamese Kitty live that way.

We made the difficult decision to have to put him to sleep. We called the kids to and asked if they wanted to come and say goodbye.

While waiting for them to come, it hit me what was happening, and I started to do the Ugly Cry. And I was crying so hard that I had an asthma attack.

Luckily, I take my inhaler EVERYWHERE I go. I quickly pulled out my inhaler an used that while I was waiting for my kids to come say goodbye to their cute and crazy little Siamese Kitty.

How can strong emotions cause an asthma attack? I like to tell people that when you have asthma, your body over reacts - to everything. I call it the "drama queen effect". For those of you who have had teenagers.....well....enough said, right? They over react to everything. So does your body when you have asthma.

(That's why I have a picture of the crown above.) 

Strong emotions (fear, anger, sadness, laughter, etc) are all things that can cause an asthma attack. I was in such shock that it took me a few minutes to realize that a) I was coughing and b) I needed to use my inhaler.

So, if you find yourself in a situation and your emotions are a little out of control, watch your asthma.

And use your inhaler if you need to! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Child Life Specialists at the hospital

If you ever have to be in the hospital with kids, you may have a Child Life Specialist.

This photo may look familiar to some of you who spend time at the hospital. This is one of our breakfasts in the Emergency Department (after being there for over 4 hours). You can tell which one of us has high cholesterol.....

I get oatmeal and Hubby gets scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns.

Such is life!

But back to the kids. Once they would take one of the kids from the Emergency Department upstairs to Pediatrics, we would meet Child Life Specialist.

We got to know Child Life Specialist REALLY well. For those of you that are regular readers, you know that my kids were hospitalized 12 times for asthma when they were little (2 of those were ICU.)

The hospital can be a VERY scary place for kids (and for parents!) One of the worst parts is when they try to get an IV in the kid's arm. It can be really hard to do when the kids are dehydrated or their oxygen level is low. The nurses would tell us that their veins weren't very "plump", because their oxygen level was so low, so it was hard to get the IV in. 

If any of you have had to get an IV, you know what a super fun experience it can be. Try doing that to a sick kid and have the nurse try to move the IV around to try to get it in the vein just right.

Child Life Specialist would come into the triage room and try to distract the kids. She would blow bubbles, show them funny things, play music - anything to distract them.

Once we were assigned a room on the Pediatrics Floor, she would come visit us to see what my son or daughter liked. Then she would come back with art supplies, video games, snacks, all sorts of stuff to try to make their stay at the hospital a little better.

Child Life Specialist would make sure we understood what was available - pizza on Friday nights, location and hours of the cafeteria and snack bar, play room for the kids while their brother or sister came to see them, a sleep room for parents, how late the valet parking was available and where to get my keys if I left the hospital late at night, even a room for me to use my breast pump.

We LOVED our Child Life Specialist!

Child Life Specialist would generally try to soothe feelings and make our stay as best as it could be.

Here's their job description from the Association of Child Life Specialists:

"....provide evidence-based, developmentally appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation and education that reduce fear, anxiety, and pain for infants, children, and youth."

She was a friendly face every time we were in the hospital, and she made our stay a little less scary.

Check out your local hospital and see if they have a Child Life Specialist. They can help make a very scary experience just a little bit better. 

Anyone else have a good experience with a Child Life Specialist?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Think anaphylaxis won't happen to you?

Ya, I had heard of anaphylaxis, a severe life threatening allergic reaction. But that would never happen to us, right? That will happen to someone else. 

I mean, we ALWAYS waited 30 minutes after allergy shots. You are supposed to wait 30 minutes so that if you have an allergic reaction, the doctor's office can spot it and treat you immediately.

All 3 kids had 5 year's worth of allergy shots, so we had a LOT of time sitting in Asthma Doc's office.

One day, Son #2 was in the hospital (again) with pneumonia. Hubby came to the hospital for his "shift", and I went home with the other two kids.

Son #1 needed his twice a week allergy shots, so we headed up to Asthma Doc's office. It was a Friday night, which meant pizza & video night at our house. So, we decided to get allergy shots, grab a pizza, and take it back to the hospital so we could have pizza & video night there. (The Pediatrics unit has a LOT of movies, games, arts and crafts,  etc for kids who are in the hospital.)

As Son #1 was getting his shots, I told Shot Nurse that Son #2 was in the hospital, so we weren't going to stay. We were just going to grab a pizza and head back to the hospital.

She said, "Ah, you guys will be fine. What are the odds that anything will happen?" 

Well, OUR odds. We have the worse luck in the world.


We left the office, and I was about a block away when I heard Son #1 coughing. He said, "Mom - I think something is wrong."

I looked in the rear view mirror and will never forget what I saw. His face and neck were bright red. His eyes were glassy and bulging, and the veins on his neck were sticking out.

I almost drove off the road. I flipped the car around and called Shot Nurse on speed dial. She was calm and said she would get the epinephrine ready, but to drive back carefully.

I was shaking so hard I could hardly hold the steering wheel! We made it back to Asthma Doc's office and burst through the door in a panic. She quickly took us to a treatment room and injected Son #1 with epinephrine. She also started a breathing treatment.

She explained that he was having anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Yep, the ONE time we left early without waiting 30 minutes.

Shot Nurse stayed with us for 2 hours, watching Son #1 and making sure he was stable. She had Asthma Doc fill out a prescription for an epinephrine auto injector. 

She let us know that when you have anaphylaxis, you can have a "rebound" - another reaction later that day.

Meanwhile, Hubby is calling. "Hey, I thought you guys were just going to grab a pizza. Where are you?" I blurted out, "I can't talk - he's having anaphylaxis." Hubby could barely get in a "Wait. What?!" Before I hung up so I could concentrate on what Shot Nurse was saying.

After she felt he was stable, she sent us to the pharmacy. Daughter Kitty was following along, and was only 3 or 4 at the time, so she was pretty scared. And to top it all off, we left her favorite stuffed animal at the pharmacy. Great.

So, we show up at the hospital. No pizza. No stuffed animal. 

But feeling grateful that my son was still alive.

Back in Son #2's hospital room, I told Hubby what had happened. I think I was still in shock. Pediatric Floor Nurse came in and heard what had happened and assured us that if Son #1 had a "rebound", they could quickly get help for him in the hospital. 

We ended up ordering a pizza and having it delivered to the hospital.

So....don't even think about leaving allergy shots without waiting the 30 minutes (or however long your doctor's office asks you to wait.) 

It's not worth the risk. Bring a book (you know - they are made of paper and you turn the page.) Or scroll through your cell phone.

Anaphylaxis can and does happen. When you least expect it.

Don't take a chance. 



Monday, April 17, 2017

And so begins allergy season....

So, these are a FEW of the medications floating around my house. (Kind of sad, I know.....)

These are only our allergy meds, I didn't include any of our asthma medications. 

The reason I took this photo is to show that there isn't a one - size - fits - all treatment for any medical problem. Hubby & I and all 3 kids have allergies and we all treat them differently. Some of us take pills (name brand or generic), some of us like nose sprays (also name brand or generic).

My kids allergies are worse than mine, they all had to have 5 year's worth of allergy shots.

Allergy shots can help when you are on high doses of allergy medicine and still not finding relief. Before she started allergy shots, daughter Kitty could easily sneeze 30 times in a row (every day, all day long), even while taking allergy medicine. 

So, Asthma Doc tested her for allergies and found out she is allergic to everything (trees, flowers, bushes, grass, cats, dogs, horses, etc.) The only thing she wasn't allergic to was rats. Shot Nurse said we could get a pet rat!  

Yeah, funny....(insert eye roll here)

So, after 5 year's worth of allergy shots, Kitty can now manage allergies with allergy medicine.(Some people may not need allergy medicine after allergy shots, but she still does.)

Everyone is different. 

Some people like allergy pills, some like nose sprays.

And with pills and nose sprays, some people feel the name brand works best, while others are okay with the generic version.

In an interview with Huffington Post,  C. Michael White, Pharm.D., Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut said:

“Some patients will tolerate a brand name medication but when they switch medications, they simply do not do as well. The reason may be that that while the blood concentrations of the brand name medication are very similar, what the tablets are made out of can vary. So while the average patient does as well, not everyone will. If you are that outlier, you are better off on the branded medication or another generic. I usually recommend trying two generic versions before giving up and moving back to a brand name drug because again, the costs are much cheaper." 

My daughter is one of those "outliers" that does better on the name brand. But both of my sons use generic versions of allergy medicine. Go figure.

You may have to try a few brands of pills or nose spray and see what works best on you.

Pretty soon, you too can have a pile of allergy medicine like the photo above! 

Even if the trees and flowers cause me endless allergy misery, they really are pretty! And they smell amazing!

I try to always look on the bright side of things!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RECALL on Ventolin inhalers

I just saw another recall, this one for an Albuterol inhaler, Ventolin.

If you're not sure what your rescue inhaler is called (most people just go by the color), Ventolin is the greyish- blue one just above the word "asthma" in the photo.

If you have one of those, check the lot and date for a recall.

"GSK Plc. is voluntarily recalling more than 593,000 Ventolin asthma inhalers from U.S. hospitals, pharmacies, retailers and wholesalers due to a defect that may cause them to deliver fewer doses of the medicine than indicated, the British drugmaker said on Tuesday."

The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has a link with the specifics of the recall. 

Code Information:
Lot #: 6ZP9848
Exp 03/18

6ZP0003, 6ZP9944,
Exp 04/18
If your inhaler falls under that lot # or expiration date, call your pharmacy or doctor. You will want to make sure you get a replacement as soon as possible!

You don't EVER want to be without rescue medication. Ironically enough, I am having a hard time typing this because I just used my nebulizer for a breathing treatment and my hands are REALLY shaky.

Asthma can be sooooo much fun!

 Good luck and keep breathing my friends!