I will start out by acknowledging the obvious. I know that my son is not dying. I know that there are many children and parents that suffer way more than we do. We are not a tragic tale. Disclaimer inserted so that anyone reading this doesn't feel the need to tell me that we could have it way worse. I am well aware. But, I am also aware that just because others have it way worse, doesn't mean that we have it easy. Disclaimer over.
I never had asthma. When I was growing up, I knew kids with asthma. The ones with the inhalers out at recess and they'd puff a few times and go on. I even remember being jealous of it. The same way kids want glasses and braces until they get them and realize that its not nearly as fun as you thought it was going to be. Until Will, I didn't know asthma. Now, I do... and I hate it.
Will has struggled with asthma since his second year of preschool. He gets flare ups that are all but debilitating. He talks, he coughs. He moves, he coughs. He lays down, he coughs. And, in case you've never experienced an asthmatic cough, let me inform you. The word cough isn't big enough to impart the appropriate image. He coughs so hard and so long that he can't inhale again. Imagine violently pushing all your breath out without a pause to get more air in. It sometimes leads to vomiting. It often leads to panic. It always takes the energy level of his which usually hovers around 100 to a level 0. His body hurts. His throat hurts. His head hurts. He's exhausted. That's asthma. And I hate it.
Doctors are hopeful he'll grow out of it, and the improvements he's had are amazing. He is starting a flare up now, but he hasn't had one since September. That's huge. But, in September it took a month to get under control. So, the start of this one is not met with relief that its been so long without, but with the dread of how long its here to stay. Its not just his physical self that suffers. There is nothing worse than attempting to go to school and knowing you're distracting the entire class repeatedly, but there is nothing you can do to stop. Do we keep him home for a month? I know his teachers get frustrated. I do, too. I get the distraction, the desire for quiet, and they don't have the sleepless nights and don't even have to deal with the huge amount of money we've spent monthly on his medications. I get being frustrated. But, think of the frustration, and worse the embarrassment, he has. Everyone is silently watching as he is running to the trashcan because this time he coughed up phlegm. He wants to run and play at recess, but the staff won't let him because it may cause an attack. He suffers socially, academically, emotionally, and of course physically. All because of asthma, and I hate it.
I know that mothers all over the world have worse to deal with, but I'm talking about me now and the worse thing in my world is when my son can't breathe. He is looking to me, gasping for breath and all I can say is "it will be ok." It is not ok. He ought to be able to breathe. I'm not asking for a 5 minute mile, a 100mph fastball or a MENSA acceptance letter. I just want my boy to breathe. But, today he can't. Thanks to asthma. And, I hate it.