The Boy Who Coughs
Jack has asthma. It’s a fact of life. It was a long journey from first episode to diagnosis to treatment plan to being at the point where his asthma is under control. We are FINALLY at the point where I feel comfortable saying that his asthma is under control. He is on two daily medications and (knock on wood) they are working. He willingly takes his meds every day. I no longer panic ever time that he coughs.
See, Jack’s asthma episodes are brought on by colds. You get a cold and you probably get a runny nose and a cough and a week later you are fine. Unmedicated Jack gets a cold and gets a cough and then his cough won’t stop. Then he starts breathing heavy and wheezing. It’s takes two weeks for him to get over his cough. His cough sounds terrible. For two straight weeks it goes from hacking dry cough to hacking wet cough and then back to hacking dry cough. Now that he has a treatment plan that is working, Jack’s colds are more run of the mill. They do seem to linger a tad longer than Xander’s colds but he hasn’t needed rescue meds in a while now.
Before Jack’s asthma was under control, he coughed A LOT. For weeks at a time. Fortunately he’s very good at covering his mouth, but still, he coughed a lot. I cringed when I took him out, but honestly I had no choice. My husband and I have wonderfully flexible jobs but we couldn’t take a week or more off every time he had an asthma episode (which averaged once ever 6 weeks). So he went to school with a hacking cough. Or swim class, or the grocery store, or sports class. Point being, we let him live his life. We could not let his illness hold him back. And every time I took him to sports class (or the grocery store, or the pumpkin farm) and he coughed I could feel it. I could feel the looks. The looks from the other parents that said “How can she bring her kid here?” or “I can’t believe she lets her sick kids be around my kid. If my kid gets sick. . .” I wanted to tell everyone of those parents that my kids wasn’t going to get their kid sick. I wanted to tell them that he has asthma and that’s why he coughs. I don’t want my kid to be known as “the kid who coughs.”
All around the internet you see parents judging other parents for pretty much everything that you can imagine. The usual culprits are out there but a new one has cropped up this year. Sending your kid to school or daycare with a cough. Every day I see multiple tweets or facebook mentions of parents being downright angry or flat out saying that they are judging the parents of kids who send their kids to school with coughs. And yes, I know, not every kid that has a cough at school has asthma. And yes, I know that this is a horrible cold/flu season. And yes, I’m probably being over-sensitive, but before you start complaining that Tommy is always at school with a hacking wet cough or that Sarah’s mom is always letting her go to basketball practice even when she’s coughing, please take a second and realize that maybe they aren’t sick. Maybe they have a chronic illness like asthma and their parents are just trying to let them be normal little kids and participate in the same activities as all of their peers. And mostly, remember that their parents don’t like it anymore than you do that their kid is “the boy who is always coughing”
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.