A year ago, Eva was hospitalized for the first time for an asthma attack. In all fairness, I’m cheating when I say that this has been our first year with asthma because she actually had an asthma attack about six months before this “first” one but it was mild enough that they sent us home with an inhaler (which we didn’t really know how to use) and no real sense that asthma was an actual problem.
It is, in fact, a problem. I learned that when I waited too long to take her to the hospital and watched her struggle to breathe overnight hooked up to all sorts of tubes. Since then, we’ve been on big time asthma watch. No sprays. No perfumes. No smoke. No running running running. We whip the inhaler out at the slightest wheeze because I don’t want to be that mom again.
The strange thing is that once Eva was hospitalized for asthma, people came out of the woodwork with stories of pediatric asthma and how scary it is. For me, asthma was always a bit of a punchline, since the nerdy kid in movies is the one that pulls out his inhaler to take a puff. Real life – not so funny.
Don’t smoke around playgrounds, ok? I never would have thought about it before, but now when people smoke next to playgrounds I have to pull my crying kids away and try to explain why they can’t play there anymore. Same for people who light up near us when we’re eating outdoors at the park or people who put out their cigarettes right before they get into an elevator with us, only to exhale a big smoky breath as the doors close. I know it’s not intentional. Like the moms handing out peanut butter cups at the Halloween party, I know that these people would never shove my kid down a flight of stairs…but that’s the feeling it brings up in my mom heart. And my 24/7 job boils down to keeping these kids out of the hospital, so forgive me for running from you like you’re a terrorist.
It’s not personal. It’s asthma.