I am an emotional wreck. I have been on high doses of steroids since Saturday for my horrible asthma episode and let me tell you I HATE STEROIDS! For a long time I have needed to be on them at least a couple of times a year to break the cycle of an asthma attack and each time I wait as long as possible before starting them. When I am on them, I not only retain fluid like a whale (bonus!) but I also am incredibly emotional. Today alone I have spent about half the day in tears. Super. And I still have at least 5 more days to go! I have real sympathy for the kids who have to take these. I am (supposedly) an adult and I cannot seem to get a hold of my overflowing emotions and all I can think about is the little 4 or 5 year old who has a fragile handle on emotions as it is being subjected to this!
I have always had bad asthma. When I was a kid, I was really athletic but would get beet red and cough my head off for long stretches of time whenever I would run the bases in softball or would swim more than 200 meters in row. When I was a kid, asthma wasn’t always on pediatricians’ radar screens unless you had true attacks that landed you in the hospital. I wasn’t that bad until I was an adult. For a few years, even though I was a doctor and ‘knew better’ I only toted an albuterol inhaler around with me and didn’t do any longer term maintenance. I am not really sure if it was denial about how bad my asthma was or what but you would think that using up a 90 puff inhaler in three days would have been a hint that I wasn’t optimally managed. It really wasn’t until I was in the hospital for days while I was pregnant with Declan, on oxygen and then home on oxygen for another couple of weeks that I realized this wasn’t your everyday, no-brainer asthma. Since then I have been a very good patient. I have seen allergists and used my inhaled steroids and I have to say it is really frustrating when despite doing it all right I end up on this steroid induced emotional roller coaster.
I am human. I live my life making mistakes and learning from them. I learned the hard way about managing my asthma when I don’t even seem to have symptoms. I hope that when it comes to my kids I am not as bullheaded. I hope that I can see their needs and try my best to meet them. I hope that when they are coughing their heads off after a bike ride or a run that I don’t just assume that it’ll pass. I hope that when they are crying and emotionally undone I can hold them and kiss them and if not make them feel any better at least help them feel they are not alone. Wouldn’t it be great if even as an adult on days like today there could be someone just to hold you when you are an emotional wreck?
Prednisone, lots of water retention and crying to expel it make for a SUPER day.
Molly O’Shea, MD Birmingham Pediatrics + Wellness Center