Getting early diagnosis for breathing issues important

Getting early diagnosis for breathing issues important

4 20 17

By Eric Becker

Short Commentary 

My wife and I both new that our youngest son, Evan, had asthma. We could see signs as early as six months.

But it wasn’t until a very scary episode about a month ago that he was finally diagnosed with the common ailment.

I spent around 32 hours the weekend of March 17-19 at Barnes-Jewish Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Evan has had several coughing fits, which have caused numerous trips to his pediatrician, only to be given the same medication and sent home.

The medications worked for short periods of time. After coughing most of the night on March 16, on Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), I again had to take Evan to the pediatrician. However, this time, his breathing wasn’t as the doctor would have liked. His oxygen levels had slipped under 90 (around 92-95 is average for a normal person).

So it was off to Children’s Hospital, which is a phenomenal place. Arrived around 3:30 p.m. Friday. Evan didn’t leave the hospital until Monday afternoon.

Breathing apparatuses, various tests, a chest x-ray, and various medication was given that first night in the emergency room, and we were then transferred around 9 p.m. to the intensive care floor of the hospital. It was not a very good night sleeping for either myself or Evan as I stayed in a nearby bed.

Hooked up to numerous machines with wires and cords, it’s not how I envisioned spending that weekend, which was the first weekend of spring sports in Carlinville.

All that sports stuff put on the back burner, for sure. Over the next two days, Evan continued to stay in the intensive care room, before being moved upstairs late Sunday afternoon as his oxygen levels had improved tremendously.

He was finally released on Monday and has been taken an inhaler twice a day as well as daily allergy medicine.

Apparently, Evan is allergic to just about everything possible, including most trees, some types of grass, dust mites, various animals and so forth. I didn’t think it was possible to be allergic to so many things.

Evan is now doing well and since then has not had a major coughing spell, to our relief. But getting the diagnosis that he has asthma was the biggest thing I took away from the whole ordeal.

The doctors and nurses at Children’s were just absolutely phenomenal. Everything was explained as they were doing the tests and they also explained what medicines were given and why they were giving him the medication.

I know that this should be a given, but it was comforting to know how understandable and patient the doctors and nurses were with us, answering our every question or concern with the utmost dignity and respect.

So, here are some latest asthma stats I found from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From  May, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about one in 12 people, or 25 million have asthma, and those numbers are increasing. That is 8 percent of the population in 2009, compared to one in 14 back in 2001 (seven percent).

More children than adults have had an asthma attack in 2008. Boys were more likely than girls to have asthma, while women were more likely than men.

Asthma is something that Evan will have the rest of his life. He’s a little feisty fellow, keeping up with his big brother and his friends last weekend as we took four boys to Sky Zone Trampoline Park.

He gets excited very easily, yelling, jumping, screaming, singing, dancing, sometimes for some unknown reasons. Never a lack of energy, although he does have a problem waking up in the morning, complaining about not wanting to go to school. LOL.

Don’t put off getting a medical diagnosis, especially among the young. The one fear I do have is not having either one of my sons around. I don’t even want to think about it. But his health is very important, and now that we have a clear diagnosis, hopefully Evan will have an even brighter future.