LD’s Health Issues… and the Impact on our Homeschool Life

I’ve been alluding to our health issues here at the Homeschool Den. There’s nothing too terribly major thankfully, but LD has had illness-induced asthma since he was little.  Since we moved back to the USA he’s been steadily having more and more asthma attacks. Some land him in the hospital and some have been controlled at the doctor’s office.  Our pediatrician suggested that we look into some underlying triggers, so shortly before Christmas we took him for allergy testing.  For those of you who might not know what that is, they have  a block with eight or ten prongs on them. The nurse presses these prongs on his back to scratch the skin’s surface. They do this nine times covering the entire back.  By the end, LD had tears in his eyes, poor thing.  Those spots will swell up sort of like mosquito bites if you have allergies.

This picture is courtesy of Shutterstock.com, but it shows one set of prongs.  They repeat this nine times. Plus, LD was also tested for allergies to cantaloupe and watermelon. (The tests showed that he was sensitive to melon.)

Pediatric Allergy Skin Test by Anthony Ricci

I could see immediately that LD had pretty big reactions. Many of the spots welted up and blended into the next area.  It turns out that LD has major allergies to most everything that grows and lives in our area — maple trees, elm trees, oak trees, grasses, ragweed/weeds, mold, dust mites, cats and on and on!  The doctor said, “If I were to rate LD’s allergies on a scale of 1-10 he would be a 25!”  He also said that allergies tend to manifest themselves most highly after a person has been living in a new area for 3 to 4 years. Obviously LD has pretty severe allergies if he’s showing all these signs after living here for just over two.  And the bad news is that his asthma and allergy symptoms are likely to get worse and worse if we do nothing.

Our best option for LD’s health and asthma is to start him on allergy shots. That means going to the allergist twice a week for six months! AUGH!!  The allergist’s office is about 25 or 30 minutes away, plus you have to stay in the office for at least a half hour to watch for reactions so that means at least two hours away from the house twice a week.  With the traffic I really have to wait for rush hour to be over before we head out, so that means traveling a lot during our prime homeschooling hours. :(  I’ve had to adjust my plans/thinking about school quite a bit.

Now, believe me I am incredibly grateful that this what has been dealt to us — nothing major health-wise.  Nor is it far from my childhood experiences.  When I was little… from about 6 on… I had to go about once every week or two to see my ear doctor (an hour away) because I had (and still have) ear infection after infection after infection (I had 8 surgeries as a child.)

I’ve been thinking long and hard about how I can make this time on the road work for our homeschooling family.  There are a bunch of things we’ll do…

  • We’re going to listen to unabridged audiobook of The Hobbit.
  • I downloaded lots of stories (free) from Storynory.com of fairy tales, Katie stories and things like that that ED (and the others) will especially love.
  • We’ll listen regularly to some German learning audio CDs.
  • We’ll probably do math at the doctor’s office.

There are also some adjustments we need to make around the home… When we first moved back to the US, we didn’t have any furniture (no beds, no couches, no dining room table, etc. etc.).  We had lived overseas for 12 years in a furnished home.  So our priority (money wise) in addition to buying new cars (and things like lawn mowers, tools, etc.) when we returned was buying furniture for the house.  We didn’t have the money to deal with the rugs.  But now  knowing about LD’s severe allergies to dust, etc. we’re going have the carpets removed from the kids’ bedrooms upstairs.

A couple of easy steps that were easy for us to implement was getting cotton dust might mattress protectors and cotton dust might and allergy control pillow covers.  Our pediatric allergy nurse had issues with her own son and she recommended the Allersoft brand; we went with that.  Since children spend 10+ hours in bed, it’s important to address the sleeping area.  We also now change the kids’ outer pillow cases every night before they go to sleep.  It’s not a hard step to add into our daily bed-time routine.

And despite my severe reluctance to having help in the home, I think we’re going to have to look into having someone come and help me keep a handle on keeping the kids’ bedrooms’ clean.  I manage to keep our main areas reasonably clean… you know vacuuming up the dog fur in the living room/homeschool room a couple times a week, but with homeschooling and my part-time work and kids activities… there just isn’t enough time to add in the deep-cleaning that needs to be done around here on a more regular basis. It really brings tears to my eyes, but I honestly can’t do it all on my own — with hubby’s long hours, meals and those other demands on my time. Maybe that’ll help explain yesterday’s post with my philosophical musings about time, right?!   It’s pretty hard to admit this (and look at me doing this publicly!)… but I’m sure there are others out there who feel overwhelmed with the demands on their plate.

For anyone else who is trying to come to terms with children’s allergies and/or asthma, I highly recommend the book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Allergies and Asthma: Simple Steps to Help Stop Attacks and Improve Your Child’s Health. I read the book cover-to-cover and loved it.

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  1. by Heidi

    On January 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I had allergy shots as a young teen and it helped me so much. We will be having one of our children tested after we move–not so much for pollen issues, but for weird allergic reactions to other things.

  2. by Kristi

    On January 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I think, because you homeschool, you can make this an adventure! I have a friend with DH who has severe allergies like your son. Her house was spottless. No carpet, no dust, no pets. She chose her cleaners very carefully and cleaned religiously. She would rather do that than take her DH to the emergency room. If hiring outside help will make it work for your family, then you should go for it. Good for you for stepping up to the plate!