Puff puff on the inhaler, sweetie. In this case, inhaler is not a euphemism for something you’d see in the movie Friday, either. Nope, nothing so funny. Instead it’s my new mantra for Zach and his “reactive airway disease”, which seems like a really long way of saying pre-asthma. Or, probably going to be asthma soon, but since he isn’t technically wheezing we’re going to call it this other thing instead. And hey, it only took him hacking like a 5 pack a day smoker before I finally broke down and took him in for a sick visit in early December. Taking the kid to a ped, only for them to tell me it’s viral, annoys me. I’m all for building immunity and stuff, but it’s just counter-intuitive to go to a doc for something viral and come home with something bacterial. So I mostly sit out the kiddie colds. Especially since there isn’t a family history of ear infectio…. oh wait! I just found out today that JB had tubes in his ears as a child. Well, hell.
Anyway, we left that day with his RAD diagnosis and little baggies full of samples of albuterol and flonase. And a super-cool spacer-thing that we call the scuba mask.
You would think, considering Other Self’s employment history in clinical research, which has resulted in Scattermom’s tendency paranoia regarding all-things-pharma-related that I would have performed my due diligence and read the package insert. Well I did read it… 3 weeks later. Bad, bad Mom. For this, I will squeeze into my hair shirt. I’m a parent who has worked on enough clinical trials, with doctors that often don’t understand statistics to, you know, blindly trust a doctor (or a statistician, for that matter).
I’m not dogging doctors–I have mad respect for the amount of effort required to make it through medical school and I even secretly (or not so secretly) harbor a desire to be House myself. But I also know that doctors are often overbooked and/or recipients of snazzy pharma-rep perks (hence the samples, people). Beyond all of that I totally allowed this person, who had seen Z for all of 7 seconds, to just hand me free snake water, without any skepticism on my part. Yeah, that just ain’t me. I blame… well, myself.
Which leads me to my latest head-banging-on-the-wall self deprecation. I have spent billions of hours on the internet, reading about stuff that doesn’t matter at all, but neglected to do any research on two new drugs. For my 4 year old. Well, the nasal spray increases the likelihood of nasal yeast infections (sorry Zach, reckon that’s why your nose was so itchy, hunh), depression and irritability (okay, attributing behaviors to a drug reaction versus the 4-year-old preadolescence reality is difficult), and an increased risk for infections. Did I mention I read the patient insert the very day before he was to start preschool– aka, a two-room petri-dish of infection possibility? Or that, thanks to their egg allergies, they doesn’t get the flu vaccine? And that we were waiting to see if they could get chicken pox naturally, so no vaccine for that either?
What does all of that mean? That I kind of failed at my job here. Yes, I value the importance of medicine–it is after all, better living through chemistry and my adderall is both necessary, and the opposite of homeopathic–but I also really believe that we are each responsible for our own healthcare. And I actually know what the hell “13 randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, multicenter, vehicle placebo-controlled clinical trials” means in English. Though whether that knowledge is helpful, or just feeds my internal conspiracy theorist is completely situation-dependent.
I trust pharmaceutical companies as much as I trust Elliot alone in a room with an open can of paint– which is to say, not much. The profit margins are just too great to think that there are any true altruistic motivations in that industry. Crap, remember the Vioxx scandal.? In general, I don’t trust anyone/thing that stands to make a profit off of me. And as with most things, an individual has to weigh the risk/benefit–which is why we vaccinate for everything else. I could go on and on about how I feel about this country’s drug development process, but that’s for another time. Suffice it to say that I’m normally a bull dog about reading this stuff (from scientifically valid sources) and this time I was more like an ostrich.
Yet, we found ourselves in a pediatric urgent care this afternoon after he spent 15 minutes coughing/gasping himself into a lovely shade of eggplant. A mere two days after I spent on evening on youtube reassuring myself that I would know a wheeze if I heard one. Which led me to basically taking a youtube class on lung sounds. The internet, when used wisely, is a wonderful teaching tool.
My family history with asthma is no joke. On the maternal side, I’m actually the only one out of the 5 that doesn’t have asthma. I don’t even have allergies, unless you count poison ivy and Kentucky. I’m allergic to ALL of Kentucky. So two kids, with that kind of genetic predisposition and allergies? Yeah, without sounding pessimistic, we’re screwed in that regard.
So now my baby has yet another inhaler and a new steroid to help him breathe. And when he says the words, “Mommy, I just want to get my words out without the coughs” or “Some days I can’t run as fast as my friends” I die a little inside. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have new patient inserts to read, new FDA warning letters to analyze, and a new, clearly more serious, rung to add to my already over-burdened stress-ladder. Oh, and if I know you in real life, and your kid has either the flu or chicken pox and you bring them near my corticosteroid-induced, immuno-compromised kid, I’ll leave a burning bag of poo on your porch. Just saying.