After JT’s stay in the ICU at Children’s Hospital (read about it here) we had to make a lot of changes. We didn’t know for sure what had caused his “status asthmaticus” but we knew that we would do anything within our power to keep it from happening again. The list of changes was long, but necessary…
- We met with a new allergist. We had seen an allergist previously who wasn’t willing to do any testing on JT because his skin was so covered in rashes he felt like he wouldn’t be able to decipher the results. He also told me that JT was more likely to die on the way home from that appointment in a car crash than to die from a food allergy. Maybe so…but still. And that was the only info he gave us. So, we found a new, much more competent and knowledgable allergist. He’s wonderful and helpful and listens. He did some tests and we learned of some new allergies to add to the list. These included beef and some environmental allergies (mice droppings, dust mites and we learned just how severe his cat allergy was)
- We met with a pulmonary DR. Just one time, actually. Between his pediatrician and allergist we pretty much had covered what needed to be covered, but it did take one appointment to be sure.
- We now had an asthma action plan. We knew exactly what to do in any possible breathing scenario.
- JT was prescribed Flovent. I think it’s a life saver. Since being on it we hardly ever have to use his rescue meds. We also have been able to reduce the amount of Flovent he takes by half! Yay! A possible sign he is outgrowing the asthma?
- We upgraded from a nebulizer to an inhaler with a chamber. The sheer convenience of this was amazing. Not lugging around a huge nebulizer and feeling like we couldn’t go places without electricity (ie…the beach) was so freeing!!! Also breathing treatment sessions going from 20 minutes to 45 seconds was awesome!
- Because of his severe dust mite allergy we started encasing all of JT’s pillows and even his mattress in special dust mite covers (get a good one that totally encases the mattress). It’s gross, but unfortunately no matter how clean you are, everyone has dust mites. ugh. This helped a ton! We also wash anything that isn’t encased (sheets, blankets, stuffed animals) in a hot water wash once a week.
- Fortunately we already had hardwood floors, had we had carpets, they would have come up.
- Here is the big one…ready? It was the hardest and made the BIGGEST difference. It was so, so, so hard. We gave away our two precious, much-loved cats 😦 I had asked many DR’s “Do you think the cats are causing any of this?” and they would hem and haw or say “maybe” because we didn’t know the severity of the cat allergy. I loved my kitties and felt like I couldn’t abandon them like that and if I had to, it couldn’t be MY decision. So, when the allergist finally said “you have 2 months to get rid of your cats” they were gone in two weeks. I sobbed driving each of them to their new home. I am so fortunate that they were able to stay with family members (Thank you Mom and Keith!!). I was one of those people who would have told you that her cats were her “babies” but when you have a real baby and that baby is hooked up to what feels like a hundred machines and a DR. tells you that some kids don’t make it through what he is going through, that goes out the window. Yes, I loved my cats…still doesn’t compare.
In the end something (more likely a combination of everything) worked. JT is a much healthier kid. He went from wheezing and needing his rescue medicine several times DAILY to hardly needing it at all! We went from visiting the ER every couple of months to not needing to go at all in the past 4 years!! And although he still develops rashes it’s nothing compared to what his skin used to look like. We are all so much happier and healthier and calmer!!