Not invincible

It’s a tough lesson, learning that your child is not invincible. When they’re young you’re told that if you live a natural lifestyle, do everything right, they’ll experience superior health. And it works, to a point.

But no matter how holistically you live, what kind of organic food you feed them, how long you breastfeed, it won’t necessarily be enough to cure all their ills.  Sometimes you may have no choice but to do something you’d hoped to avoid, to consider mainstream medical treatment, perhaps even on a regular or long-term basis.

Our son had been a very healthy kid, with no major illnesses to speak of in his almost four years.  Then earlier this fall, he had an allergic reaction to some pets at a friend’s house. It manifested innocently enough, at first as a runny nose, then quickly followed by coughing, eventually turning into wheezing. We should have left quickly, but didn’t quite know what was happening at the time.

We’d experienced wheezing once or twice before with colds, but this was different. We dealt with it as best we could, but eventually had to go to the urgent care, who sent us on to the ER. It’s a horrible thing, watching your child struggle to breathe properly.

They gave him some nebulizer treatments and sent us home with an inhaler/spacer and a follow up visit to our primary care doctor. We didn’t have to give him the inhaler that day or the next, so we hoped the worst was over and figured it wouldn’t happen again.

But then we had a similar episode, and several more have followed since. And now I’m finally come to the realization that this may not be something we can avoid or fix without meds. It’s quite possible our son may have asthma, and it might even be something that follows him his whole life.

Looking around for advice, while still trying to keep the treatment at bay, I found lots of mothers in a similar situation- most feeling like they’d failed, perplexed that they’d done everything right and still somehow this had happened to them and their kids.

It’s nothing but a positive thing to encourage good health, to get people taking actions that will help their families lives. However, I think we do people a disservice by promoting the idea that taking any particular action will guarantee a certain outcome.

Things happen. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault and might not have been preventable. This is something I keep telling myself as we deal with yet another wheezing incident and I contemplate giving our son a “maintenance” medication. Sometimes breastfeeding just isn’t enough.