Where is that Instruction Manual?
November 29, 2011, 11:21 pm
Filed under: humor, Parenting, Teenagers | Tags: , ,

“Why can’t I just take a pill? Why could it not be some horrible disease that has a cure they just found so it’s all exciting but not fatal? Mom, this diagnosis does not make sense to me, I must have something else. I do not have Asthma.” says my oldest son Isaac. We have been to the doctor, Isaac has not been feeling well. He has been short of breath, tired and lethargic (which is saying something for my sloth like son.) We go to the pediatric doctors office and my son rolls his eyes at the loud, coughing, wailing kids. What are we doing here?

The nurse calls us in, she makes some comment about his height and wants to know if he plays basketball. Isaac smiles at her and gives me a look. She takes his blood pressure, height, weight, and moves us into a room. She takes his temperature, and asks the normal barrage of questions. The Dr will be in shortly and out she goes. Isaac looks gigantic in the small room with the white paper pulled over the exam table as his feet dangle an inch from the floor. Can this really be my child?

The Dr. comes in and introduces himself. I like him right away and he does not ask any stupid questions. He looks at Isaac and starts to ask questions. How long have you been feeling this. Can you describe he problem, is it just when you are exercising or all the time… Isaac answers with yes and no and about three weeks, all the time looking to me for confirmation as if he could get the question wrong. Where did my seventeen year old know it all son go?

After the questions the Dr. does a normal check up, reflexes, ears, eyes, throat, abdominal, and deep breathing. Everything looks normal, not sure what this is. Lets test his breathing capacity and do a full battery on his blood, oh and let’s do urine too. I just want to rule things out so we do not spend a bunch of time on something he for sure does not have. He does the breathing test and it comes out 70% of normal capacity. Urine is fine, throat looks fine, initial test for Mono comes back normal, lets take a bunch of blood and I will get back to you when the results come in. How did I know waiting would be involved?

It is Thanksgiving weekend and so we wait. Monday, the Dr. calls, everything is normal, no mono, no other virus or thyroid problem, not anemic, or leukemia or anything else that is concerning. I think it is Asthma. Relief floods my system and we discuss the options for this and he mentions it is not severe, but can be maintained with a routine inhaler twice a day. I am thinking this is pretty good news all things considered. I text Isaac at school let him know he is not contagious, he is cleared for basketball, come home after school so we can discuss the treatment and you can go to Dr.’s office and learn how to use an inhaler. Isaac texted back, is this a joke?

When he comes home he is angry, he is adamant this is not what he has. It does not make sense and it must be something else. He broods and whines and refuses to use an inhaler. This is a side of Isaac I rarely see. I am totally caught off guard and confused. I do not understand why this is a big deal, I try to talk to him but he is done talking and done with stupid doctors and he does not have ASTHMA! Where did my laid back, take it all in stride son go?

As most parents do, Scott and I want so much to do the right thing, be the good example, have the answers and comfort our children when they are hurting. I am totally at a loss. I do not know if this is normal teenage angst, depression, peer embarrassment, a stigma around asthma that I am unaware of? Isaac is sullen and closed to my attempts to understand or try to reason. I go to bed and talk to Scott, he too is at a loss. Parenting is never easy, its messy and hard and confusing. I do not know what will happen with Isaac, maybe it is not asthma and time will tell. Where is that instruction manual when I need it?


4 Comments so far
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Kari, both of my kids (and me) have exercise induced asthma and we all use inhalers for strenuous activities. Ian was diagnosed in about the second grade and Sydney just a year ago. It was embarrasing for Ian to use his inhaler in front of his soccer team mates for several years; now it’s just what he does. Sydney doesn’t seem to care who sees her using it. My personal experience is that it feels like a crutch, like I should be able to function without it, that somehow I am less than others for having this what can be seen as a disability. Well, guess what? When I use my inhaler I can exercise until my muscles give up, not my lungs. I don’t get dizzy and I feel as though everything is fine (normal?) with me. Using an inhaler far out weighs not using one. Get him the inhaler and let him see how much better he will feel at practice.

Comment by Anonymous

Thanks for the information and encouragement

Comment by Kari

Boy, could I related to this one! My older daughter was first diagnosed with asthma as a toddler. She was too young to object to the use of an inhaler or nebulizer. When she hit her middle school years, she stopped wanting to use her inhaler or even carry it because she didn’t want to look “lame.” I asked her which looked “lamer”, an inhaler or struggling to breathe.

She got over that hurdle. Then this past spring, after months of (very uncharacteristic) depressed and rebellious behavior , she was diagnosed with an autoimmune connective tissue disease. Here we are–back to square one. Though she’ll take her meds without argument, she thinks it makes her “lame” once again.

Teen girls—argh!

Good luck with the diagnosis and the next steps.Oh, and if you find that instructional manual, can I borrow it?

Comment by Transitioning Mom

Wow, we really are living similar lives. Thank you for reading and commenting. It is good to have a new kindred spirit in my life! Thanks!

Comment by Kari

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