Posts Tagged ‘ chronic cough ’

My Kids’ Health Crisis, Part 1 = My Resolution Crisis

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Remind me to never make a New Year’s resolution for as long as I have kids under the age of 18. My resolutions were reasonable and tangible. For 5 minutes. At the top of my list: getting back on the blog. Posting at least twice a week. Followed by running 2 times a week and doing yoga at least once a week.

Then came the proverbial thunderstorm that sucked me into its vortex as it wreaked havoc on my week. Here is part 1 of my war story.*

Wednesday at 3 a.m.: Em coughs to the point of barfing. Fia wakes up complaining of something in her throat.

Em eventually falls back asleep, propped up in crib, humidifier at full speed, slathered in Vicks Vapor Rub, particularly on his feet (click here for more on this cough tip).

For Fia, I see a white “thing” almost like a skin tag on her tonsil. I give her Motrin.

Wednesday 9 a.m.: Em is doing awful. He can barely breathe because the cough is relentless. Fia is saying it’s hard to swallow. I rush both kids to the doctor. Em is diagnosed with full-blown pneumonia. They give him a hospital-grade antibiotic shot in the butt to try and avert an emergency room visit. I guess this is a super painful shot, and he screams bloody murder as big fat tears roll down his face. Fia can’t wait to tell everyone about this. She is almost giddy.

Meanwhile, she is diagnosed with a “tonsil stone“…which is when debris of food and bacteria build up on your tonsil, causing a hardened, white, almost scab-like spot. The doc doesn’t think it’s hardened yet though and is able to put a long Q-tip in her throat and knock it off. Or so he thinks. Problem solved. 

Wednesday 4 pm: Fia spikes a 105.5 fever. I’m suspect that the stone wasn’t the only issue.  Problem not solved. I give her Motrin, she seems fine and I am so preoccupied with Em, I don’t call the doctor. Em just wants to cuddle and sleep. For once the world’s most active (almost) 2-year old boy is passive.

Wednesday 11 pm: Em’s fever is 103 (love my thermometer because I don’t have to touch him to take his temp) and he is panting in his sleep at a rate of 70 breaths per minute. I speak to the on-call doctor. She said if we can give him Motrin and get his fever down, his breathing should slow to 30-35 bpm. If not, then we have to get him to the ER for oxygen.

Emmett is the worst child with taking medicine. Even at the doctor’s office the nurse gave up on helping me with Motrin when he barfed all over her. He is so stubborn, and he gargles it at the back of his throat until he pukes. But Phil and I had to get it down. So we get him up and pinch his cheeks so his mouth is open and the cheeks are between his teeth. That way the nurse said he can’t bite down because he’ll bite his cheeks. I get 1/5th of a dose in before he projectile vomits on us both. Fia is awake now screaming with a 104 fever.

I get Emmett in a cool bath, then try again once he’s dried off and a little calmer. I manage to get down about half a dosage. I decided not to push my luck, because I’d rather him have a little bit than barf all of it up.

Phil is with Motrin-medicated Fia, whose fever is down again. I’m with Emmett, waiting for him to fall asleep so I can count his breaths. 30 minutes later he is panting, but at a rate of 35-40 breaths per minute. I put him back in his crib and go to sleep on the spare bed.

It’s only been 20 hours since this all began…and that was just the beginning of my perfect shit-storm. And the end to my New Year’s resolutions. I’ll post the rest tomorrow.

*I realize in the grand-scheme of things, this is just a bad day/week. We are not battling a chronic illness or worse. But I like to put it all out there in case anyone else has experienced these same conditions or others. It’s parenting in the trenches. Thankfully I don’t have to do it often. Tell me your tips/stories.  It feels good to write it all down.

 

Yoga pose via Shutterstock

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My Magic Cure for a Chronic Cough. It’s a Miracle!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

I have such a breakthrough to report. I wrote about Fia’s chronic cough a couple months ago. This is a cough that lasted for 5-6 months and nothing was working. I was at my wit’s end and annoyed at my pediatricians for chalking it up to a “thing” that toddlers get with various cold cycles. “But she hasn’t had a cold!” I’d say with exasperation. “Well, you know, the mucus can irritate her throat and the cough is the last thing to go. “But she has no mucus!” I’d say, pleading with them to hear me. I asked for them to send her for an X-rays or something. They thought it was unnecessary because her lungs sounded fine. I went in multiple times to make my case.

Finally after my sitter and her teachers at school started to say how much the cough was wearing her down, I took matters into my own hands. I got all the paperwork together to get her into a pediatric pulmonary specialist at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

While I was awaiting approval for an appointment, a miracle happened. I was at a little Xmas gathering with Fia and there was another mom there. Fia started coughing. Of course. I told the mom how exasperated I was by her cough; how I was pulling my hair out over it. She said, “You need to put Vick’s Vapor Rub on her feet.”

What? Huh? It sounded like a piece of voodoo to me. I must have looked skeptical. So she continued.

“I have five kids. Every one of them has had a chronic cough. I kid you not. Put the Baby Vicks on her feet at night. Rub it in and make friction to get her feet warm with it. Then put some on her chest and put a warm towel (not damp) on for 30 seconds. Repeat a few times. Then put her to bed. I promise you, it will work.”

I agreed to try it, but felt like rolling my eyes.

That night I didn’t do it. I mean, what was the point?

Then, I happened to tell one of my girlfriends about this mom’s suggestion. My friend got really excited. “Oh my gosh! Someone else told me about that! It’s totally supposed to work. People swear by it.”

So now my curiosity was piqued. I Googled it and sure enough there are claims all over the internet about the magic of curing a chronic cough by putting Vicks on your feet.

That night I did as instructed with the Vicks. I kid you not: for the first time in 6 months straight, Fia didn’t cough once. I was simply dumbfounded. I did it a second night and at nap times. No cough. I stopped doing it on the chest and only put it on her feet. Still no cough.

I did this for about a week. Then I stopped entirely. That was early January. There have been a few nights where I hear her hacking and if it gets bad, I go in and put the Vicks on her feet. But those nights are few and far between. Other than that, there has been no cough. I repeat: No Cough.

Children’s Hospital called to make an appointment. I told them that for the moment, the problem has subsided.

I honestly can’t believe how something on your feet could cure a cough, but it does and it did. Apparently it works on adults too. I looked it up on Snopes.com–the site that debunks urban legends. Their verdict is “undetermined.” You can check it out if you want to see their report.

Needless to say, I am thrilled, but am still so surprised by the results.  Has anyone else heard of this? Any theories to why it works on the feet?

Coughing in Children
Coughing in Children
Coughing in Children

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Fia’s Mystery Cough. Any Ideas For Me?

Monday, December 24th, 2012

girl coughing

Fia has this chronic cough. By chronic, I mean it’s lasted at least eight weeks. Could be twelve. I remember about a year ago in Brooklyn she had the same thing. But now we’re in a totally different climate so I don’t think it’s allergies. Plus, when she got that crazy rash five months ago, I had her tested at an allergist. All she had was a high histamine level.

I took her to the doctor last week to have her checked out. Thing is, she only coughs when she goes down for bed, or mid morning. The rest of the day is nothing. She’s not sick, she’s not congested, and no, it’s not Whooping Cough (and we vaccinated for that).

When the doctor came in he said, “Eight weeks???” I told him not to think I’m a terrible mom. It’s just that I took her to our Brooklyn pediatrician last year and she couldn’t find anything wrong and said something (I recall) about kids can cough a lot because their lungs are still developing and we can’t give them cough syrup until they’re 4 or 5?? And believe me, I’m in no hurry to dose her up on meds. Especially those with Red Dye 40. (Side note: my cousin swears the RD #40 gives her children night terrors. They cut out all medicine and candy, etc with RD #40 in it, and the results were incredible. No more screams in the night.)

Anyway, the doc listened to Fia’s heart and her lungs. They sounded fine. No wheezing. She had a small cough in his presence. He said it was a dry cough and her throat was a little red on one side but nothing crazy. I told him I give her a natural honey medicine (Little Remedies for Colds), and it does seem to help in the short term.

He prescribed me liquid albuterol sulfate, which I guess is a medicine for asthma. I can still do the Honey Elixir, which she now comes to expect, of course, since it tastes good.

The goal is to see if the albuterol lessens the cough. If it does, she could have a type of cough-induced asthma and we’d give her this medicine more long term. Ugh. I hate giving medicine as an “experiment.” It makes me incredibly nervous, because you never know how your kid will react. I gave two doses last week at night. I kept going in and checking on her breathing because I’m so paranoid. She coughed some, not a ton. Then I decided to stop and just stick to the natural honey stuff. But yesterday morning she coughed so hard she started to gag and burp. Poor thing. It just wears her out. So back to the meds.

This morning she was coughing a bit, so I gave her the albuterol again and she coughed a few times before I dropped her off at preschool. They told me that she’s continued to cough a little, not a lot.But as the day wears on, the cough lessens anyway until night.

I’m not sure what to think. I can’t say definitively the medicine is working. I guess I’ll have to keep giving it to her. Was wondering if anyone has any homeopathic remedies or other advice to offer? I can put the humidifier in her room, but that will only help at night. Not with the morning cough when we are out and about. It is seriously driving me mad. It’s so frustrating to not know what to do. Thoughts?

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This post is sponsored by Little Remedies — makers of children’s medication without artificial colors, artificial flavors, or alcohol.

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Photo: Illustration of girl sneezing via Shutterstock
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