Asthma and Memories

This isn’t going to be a light and fluffy post. I’m being haunted by an old fight – multitudes of them, but one in particular tonight. Every now and then this sort of post is going to happen. This blog thing is about my life and my thoughts … so, this is what’s on my mind tonight.

Cameron was nine months old; his dad and I had been broken up for three months. He had a bad cold, I took him to the doctor’s without clearing it with Adrian first (lemmetellya I heard about THAT later), and the diagnosis at a walk-in was a cold exacerbated by ‘asthma’, but to please come back in a couple of days to confirm. I told Adrian that I wanted to take Cameron to our own doctor, not a walk-in clinic, to see what a doctor I know and trust says.

Now, a bit of back history. Adrian had made it clear that he felt asthma was a weakness of mental spirit, that if you were determined enough you could overcome it. That asthma is nothing more than a tightness in the chest, and ‘sufferers’ just need to get over it. Nothing like hearing that your boyfriend thinks you’re weak and want the attention of being asthmatic. Why on earth did I stay with him as long as I did?

The shit really hit the fan. This was one of our biggest fights ever. I’m sure I slung back some insults, but for the most part was just trying to defend myself. The line that stands out in my memory is, “If you have Cameron diagnosed with asthma I’ll steal him away to Kuala Lumpur and you’ll never see him again!” I was freaked. I don’t remember how that afternoon ended, what we did, how we ‘resolved’ things. I do remember that the fight went on from there; I was incensed at his phrasing. Have him diagnosed. As if this was some sick goal of mine. This was even pre Faith and Addalin on Babycenter. He was accusing me of wanting my child to have some diagnosis like that. I asked him if that’s what he meant, and he said that yes, that was just like me and I had many characteristics that showed it. I should’ve pointed out that he has many characteristics in common with psychopaths, but I didn’t.

The next morning, in the wee hours, Cameron woke up coughing. I held him in my arms, worried, as he turned a bluish shade around his lips, then recovered. It was the end-of-breath cough, where you just catch enough breath to keep coughing, on and on. I still don’t know why I didn’t take him to the hospital. That upsets me, to put it mildly. I resolved to take Cameron to see Dr.H the next day, Monday.

Monday morning it happened again.

Dr.H agreed with the walk-in clinic doctor, calling it ‘reactive airway disease’. They can’t diagnose asthma in babies that young, as the diagnostic criteria require active participation in tests. I didn’t tell him about having taken Cameron to see another doctor, as I wanted his unbiased opinion. So, prescriptions were written, use the inhalers with a spacer and mask, twice a day, as long as symptoms last. Keep on hand in case he gets another cold like this, but many kids outgrow it.

It took me until the next night to get up the guts to tell Adrian. Predictably, he freaked. And the BS he’d spouted on Saturday continued. Did you know that the inhalers make your lungs weaker, that I was dooming our child to being a fat lazy self absorbed weakling? More nonsense about me needing my son to have some illness. He hung up the phone, saying he was too angry to talk now, and he’d call back when he was calmer.

It took him six weeks.

I think that after that cold, Cameron only needed his inhaler two times.

So why is this haunting me tonight? Why am I angry and agitated?

Cameron’s had a lingering cough for a while. He’s seemed to ‘hold on to’ colds for longer than he should, and instead of getting the typical daycare one-week cough once a month, he’s sick for three weeks, okay for a few days (while I cough and wheeze), and then the next cold starts. I took him to the doctor today to see what he said.

Asthma. Duh.

So I’ve got those memories rattling around in my head, triggered by that first asthma experience. And a year and a half later I’m so furious at Adrian and myself I could spit nails. I’d like to jam the ventolin canister up one of his orifices. No, not the obvious one. I’m thinking urethra. Why am I mad at myself? Because I let him scare me so bad, I question my own judgments even now, and because I stayed with him for as long as I did.

Cameron used his inhaler without a fuss tonight. Ventolin and flo-vent. We made a game of it. He’d seen me use it sans mask, so it was easy to make it ‘fun’. He’s sleeping peacefully, no coughing. It’s a nice change.

What positive stuff can I take out of this? I was strong enough eventually to break away from Adrian. I’m ever so glad I don’t have to deal with him any more, he can stay gone forever as far as I’m concerned. I’m now aware that I’m still mentally walking on eggshells concerning some things from our past, and here’s hoping I can get past them. Knowing what you’re fighting against is half the battle.


3 responses to “Asthma and Memories

  1. sound like adrian was not the best partner or male role model for Cameron. Congratulations on having the courage to get out and to move on! Its so frustrating as a mom, to look back and think “why didn’t I do something, why didn’t I protect my child”. But you can’t be perfect and you’re still learning to be a mum. Being on mental eggshells doesn’t help, but you’re doing a great job and just focus on that. Eventually the eggshells will go away.

  2. So you failed a parenting test, huh? Yeah, me, too. It hurts so that you don’t do it again. I’ve had similar struggles … My mother kept my son one weekend about a year ago, and by the time I got him on Sunday night, I had to go to an emergency pediatrician (not an emergency room, thank God!) that night, and we got him fixed up. It was horrible when they had to put him in this clear mold thing so they could xray his chest…he cried and cried, and so did I…so, he doesn’t stay with my mom anymore, because she didn’t follow my directions, and it’s hard now, since I need that babysitting sometimes! My failure was in trusting my mom, which is sad, because she’s usually pretty good, but she’s just getting older enough that she can’t handle a toddler. Sigh.

  3. SM – I’m hoping eventually the eggshells get trampled to dust and I can just vacuum them away!

    Rusty – yikes! And don’t even get me started on losing trust. I haven’t yet written about Adrian giving Cameron enough whiskey that he warned me Cameron might be DRUNK just three days before the asthma thing.

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