A few days ago, I was cleaning out some paperwork and I ran across some medical invoices and Explanation of Benefits sheets and I was a little disturbed. See, Julianne at the age of 4 months was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and then RSV. We did around the clock breathing treatments and visited our doctor several times a week because the treatments weren't helping and I felt like a helpless, terrified mama. Many times, our pediatrician would double her breathing treatments and put her on a pulse ox machine or give her a different med in the office. It was terrifying but the pediatrician really was trying to keep her home with us and not have her hospitalized.
After all of that, she was never the same. She became winded easier. She started to fall off of the growth chart. Every cold went to her chest, she wheezed alot and the doctor visits continued. Our pharmacist kept Xopenex in stock just for Julianne because we used it so often in her nebulizer and we had two nebulizers... just in case. My life revolved around breathing treatments and it got to the point that if she slept in after her normal time I'd worry that she had stopped breathing.
After feeling like we weren't getting anywhere, I pushed for a pediatric pulmonologist referral. The soonest they could see us was 3 months away. I called and asked to be put on their cancellation list. And one day the nurse called and told me I had an hour to get Julianne's radiology records and get us both down to MCG- there was a cancellation. I boogied it right on down there.
I'm so glad that I did! The visit was so productive! Julianne's diagnosis was changed from Reactive Airway Disease to all out Asthma. Most doctors really wait to label asthma because of insurance issues. But our ped pulm decided that our insurance was already acutely aware of Julianne's respiratory situation and all future insurance companies would be too. She also sent Julianne for an upper GI and found that she was still refluxing. Even after reflux usually resolves itself. Reflux can irritate the nerve endings in the chest and can trigger asthma attacks. She put her back on reflux meds (long after the ped had taken her off) but this time prescribed a solutab instead of a liquid that burned her already irritated throat.
Her nurse practioner taught Julianne to use an inhaler with a spacer and that made her meds so much more convenient for us.. all of us. An inhaler with a spacer means it takes a few minutes instead of 20 plus for a nebulizer treatment. She changed her meds from Xopenex to Qvar and Albuterol and I had a new child within days. She still made me very nervous but it wasn't as bad. She continued to have issues with colds, etc.
Fast forward.... November 30, 2008, we moved to Richmond, Virginia to an all hardwood, linoleum and tiled rental. We braced ourselves for our first Virginia winter. And nothing happened. No colds, upper respiratory infections, no need for her inhaler, nothing.
Fast forward again: December 2009, still nothing. She has had small colds, but nothing has gone to her chest like it did before. Our pediatrician is shocked when he looks over her history and then notes that she has no issues now except ongoing periodic reflux.
Looking back, I see a few things. We built and moved into a brand new house in September 2006. And Julianne's issues started that very October/November which is also right around the time that you start putting your baby on the floor for playtime. Some might say it was something in Georgia she was allergic to... but even here in Virginia, if she is in a home with carpet for an extended period of time, she breathes much differently. In fact it is the same as if she is in a home in Georgia with carpet. I'm convinced it is the fact that we do not have carpet in our home here. I think the brand new carpet in the home we built was something that triggered her respiratory issues. And I'm just so glad we've found a way to make her better without pumping her full of medications.
And in the future, none of my future homes will have carpet if I have anything to say about it.