Saturday, 19 January 2013

Little Miss Cough-a-Lot

When Beautiful B was tiny she used to cough a lot each and every time she got a cold.  Yes everyone does, even I know that, but she sounded like she had whooping cough and would cough until she was sick.  I made a nuisance of myself at the GP surgery asking over and over if it was asthma.  As the breathing issues only occurred during a cold, asthma was not diagnosed but as her mum I ‘knew’ different. 

It’s amazing how you can nurse your child at home and just know the moment that changes to requiring a trip to A&E.  As Beautiful B got a little older we got used to going to hospital so she could have a nebulizer to fetch her breathing under control.  I dreaded her being kept in on the children’s ward because she never slept and woke all the children up. 

When her dad and I split up, I lost count of the number of times I was woken in the middle of the night because he would send a taxi round to tell me she was in A&E.  At this time she was 3 and could hold a full conversation with you, breathing permitted.  The fact that she looked and was only tall enough to be 18 months old made for some funny incidents when she would suddenly start telling the doctor what was troubling her.

Each and every trip to A&E resulted in all doctors and nurses asking whether she had asthma.  Each and every time I would say “not according to her GP.”  Our GP was insistent asthma was not the culprit until one particular hospital incident when my baby needed 2 nebulizers back to back to get her breathing under control. 

At the time I was optimistic as there was hope she would grow out of it.  True enough, by the time she got to 8 or 9 she rarely needed the inhaler and hasn’t needed it now for at least 5-6 years.  She still had the odd cold where she would ‘whoop’ regularly but she would never take medicine ‘because it makes her sick’ – I have no idea WHERE on earth she would get that idea from [she says whistling].

3 days ago Beautiful B started ‘whooping’.  Immediately, Hubby said ‘That is not a normal cough’ to which I responded ‘Oh that’s okay, it’s her “non-whooping” cough, she will be fine.’  The next day she had to take a trip out and wrapped up for the cold and when she came back she was breathless and sat down to tell me she was scared. 

Beautiful B’s legs ached and she was scared she meningitis.  In January 2012 her 3 year old sister died last January of undiagnosed Meningococcal Pneumonia.  Although running a temperature of 102 all signs pointed to a severe cold but one morning her legs wouldn’t work and she died 2 hours later.  I put her mind at ease and she took herself off to bed after taking medicine.  Now you KNOW your child is ill when she is taking medicine for the first time at 18 years old!

Not being able to get an urgent appointment at her GP Beautiful B took herself off to the medical walk in centre yesterday after I agreed that as she didn’t have a cold, the breathing issue must be due to something else.  I can only assume she took a taxi because she really was struggling to get enough breath to walk any sort of distance. 

The diagnosis?  A chest infection.  Running a temperature of 38.5 degrees, a heart rate of 120 BPM and breathlessness after sitting in a waiting room for 10 minutes were all the signs they needed before listening to her clogged up lungs.   

So Beautiful B is wrapped up in bed all day and all night feeling the worst she has done in her whole life, popping antibiotics and taking more medicine she asked me to pick up yesterday.  

Where am I going with this?  In essence, you know your baby is growing up when she knows and can articulate that this bout of ‘whooping cough’ is different and that something is wrong.  For the first time, Beautiful B has been able to explain to me how she feels, why it’s different and recognise sensibly that something is different with this bout of illness. 

My baby is growing up; from being 3 years old and telling a hospital emergency doctor that she cannot breathe properly, she is now 18 years old and doesn’t need me to make the decision to seek medical help.  Shame that it feels like she has gone from 3 to 18 in about 5 years – where does the time go?

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