Thursday 29 March 2012

When your child can't breathe

"Try not to worry" said the initial assessment nurse at A & E "but your baby's really quite poorly". Then she took him down to resus, hooked him up to a monitor and put an oxygen mask over his face.

My normally happy little baby
My baby seems to have caught every virus going since last December and every time, the illness has left him wheezing and with a horrid night cough, which sometimes makes him throw up.

Each time, I've taken him to the GP in case the virus has morphed into a chest infection and each time, I was assured it was just a cough, there was nothing on his chest and it would get better in time. Except whenever he'd start to get better, he'd catch another virus and the cycle would start all over again.

Baby was last ill for about 4 days some time towards the end of February and the subsequent cough had been hanging around since then; so about 5 weeks. But in the very early hours of Wednesday morning, he suddenly deteriorated. His breathing became very noisy (lots of panting and grunting); the cough became vicious and wouldn't stop; and he was clearly in pain and started inconsolably crying.

I was freaked out and took him straight to A & E where I promptly freaked out again at hearing that my beautiful, precious baby boy was very poorly and needed help to breathe. In the space of a few seconds, my mind ran through a whole host of worst-case scenario images before my crisis-management head took over and I started to absorb what I was being told.

The consultant diagnosed baby with bronchiolitis and a viral wheeze but he was also concerned by some crackling he could hear on his lungs and that, combined with the information I gave him about the cough, prompted him to put forward a tentative diagnosis of asthma. It's not definite, as baby is too young for a firm diagnosis, it's more of a "there's some red flags here we need to keep an eye on" diagnosis.

I never knew this before (and really, I should because I have asthma that's brought on by hayfever and thunderstorms) but the 3 main symptoms of asthma are a cough, wheeziness and breathlessness. The nurse also explained, after witnessing an episode of coughing  that resulted in vomiting, that if a baby has a full tummy and is struggling to breathe, the fullness of their tummy presses against their lungs/rib cage making it harder for them to breathe so they throw up, which helps to relieve the pressure. I also found out that one of the triggers for asthma can be illness.

With the help of a course of steroids and 4 hourly doses of a reliever inhaler, baby was able to breathe normally and easily. His cough is significantly better and didn't bother him at all last night (the first time that's happened in 5 weeks) and, touch wood, has yet to make an appearance tonight.

We were discharged at lunchtime today with what feels like a handbag's worth of asthma-related medication and apparatus and baby is pink, perky and babbling away. Hurray!

Part of me is frustrated that asthma wasn't picked up as a possibility all those weeks ago, as if it had been, maybe we wouldn't have ended up in A & E. But I know the GP provided the best help and advice that he could whenever he saw us so it wouldn't be right or fair to say he did anything wrong.

I know we haven't been given a firm diagnosis but to me, it feels like things are making a bit more sense and we can now focus on getting baby back to full health. At the end of the day, that's what important and matters to me the most.

Oh, and I came back from hospital with a virus! Joy!

Thursday 22 March 2012

Check out my bounce

Today, for the first time in a long time, I woke up in a good mood. It took me a moment to identify what it was because normally, I wake up super grouchy and it takes me a good hour before I start to feel human-like.

As the baby didn't sleep through and we had the same amount of night wakings, I can only conclude I feel so good because I'm steering clear of sweets, chocolate and sugar in my drinks. A definite incentive to keep going with the detox.

I'm liking this feeling of happiness and awakeness. Universe, I'm placing an order for more of it!

Disclaimer: this is not me!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

48 hours later

Well, I managed another 24 hours without sugar and have officially completed my detox. I should be ecstatic as tomorrow, I can start bingeing on chocolate again but instead, I'm feeling quite perturbed. You see, today was almost too easy.

I know that probably sounds a bit weird but apart from the usual tiredness (courtesy of 3 hourly night wakings from the baby, lucky me!) I really didn't have much in the way of sugar cravings today. Okay, I glanced a couple of times at a little bag of leftover chocolate but I didn't have to force myself to stay away from it, I just sipped my fruit tea and got on with the day. And that worries me.

Surely I should be having sugar withdrawal headaches and all sorts by now?

As much as I would like to think I'm now sugar-free, I suspect one of the reasons why I don't feel that bad is because 48 hours hasn't been long enough to cleanse my system. I think I need to give the detox a bit more time before I truly feel its benefit so I'm going to keep going for another 24 hours and see what my body throws at me. If I have to, I'll try another 24 hours and another......

Reading that back I sound like a right glutton for punishment! But nothing good ever came easy right? And so far, this detox has definitely fallen in the "easy" category. That speaks volumes to me.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

The first 24 hours

I've made it through 24 hours without any chocolate or sweets or other sugary treats. I may have transformed into a crotchety old harridan but at least it's a sugar-free version!

Here's what I've learnt so far:

  • When detoxing from sugar, do not walk down the cake and easter egg aisles in the supermarket.
  • Do not leave a half-empty bag of Giant Buttons in plain sight unless you want it to spend the day winking at you.
  • The afternoon was worse than the morning. I felt incredibly tired and kept thinking if I just had a little bit of chocolate, I would bounce back and get so much more done.
  • I should have given a bit more thought to what I was going to substitute sugar with before I started the detox. Because I didn't, I ended up "snacking" on bread and butter, which didn't really do much for my energy levels or my health.
Another 24 hours to go and maybe even longer if I think my body needs it. After that, I need to start thinking about eating healthily and sensibly. I need to be a role model for my boys.

If I could just have a piece of chocolate first...

Monday 19 March 2012

I have a problem

I  am a sugarholic. There, I've said it.

Today, I ate 6 creme eggs and a bag of giant buttons.

Yesterday, I ate a box of Milk Tray. I then shared a crunchie and a fudge with my husband before eating a wispa, a flake and a chocolate chip cereal bar.

Last weekend, I ate a lemon drizzle cake, a double chocolate cake and a madeira cake (and by cake, I mean a cake that was baked with the intent of being shared between several people, not a cupcake). I can't remember the rest but believe me, there was more!

I've spent a lot of time, in between the (daily) mouthfuls, trying to figure out why I'm consuming such hideous amounts of sugar and it's because I'm tired. I'm just so, so exhausted from having two little children; one of whom is currently waking 3+ times a night. It's a vicious circle. I eat because I'm tired -> my body then craves more sugar -> I feel more sluggish and tired -> I eat some more sugar.

I've got away with it so far because on the surface, my weight : height ratio is fine and I try to dress in such a way that my flabby areas are concealed and therefore "out of mind". But deep down, I know it's only a matter of time before my poor diet catches up with me and it is a truly awful diet. We're talking no fresh fruit, infrequent portions of vegetables, and food stuffs that are high in saturated fat or sugar.

This has to stop. I can't go on eating like this. It's making me feel really bad about myself and I'm sure my health must be suffering, even if it's not immediately obvious. So what am I going to do about it?

This is going to be tough but I don't think I'm going to get anywhere unless I have a 48 hour detox from all the chocolate and other sugary treats. And the thought of having to dredge up enough will power for those 48 hours scares me.

What am I going to eat????

I'll soon tell you. I'm starting tomorrow.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Making a comeback

It's been 2 and a 1/2 weeks since I fell ill and I'm only starting to make my way back to full health now. I can safely say it's been a really dismal, depressing ride and not one I care to repeat anytime soon.

So what's been wrong with me? Well, both myself and the toddler woke up from an afternoon nap with aches, pains, throbbing headaches, horrible coughs and a general feeling of ickiness. Toddler's temperature quickly turned into a fever and I had no time to think about looking after myself; he was my priority.

Although it was a relief when toddler's fever broke a couple of days later, the baby fell ill and my worry transferred from one child to the other. I spent a good 4 days constantly nursing, as all he wanted to do was feed and comfort suckle in his sleep and while I was glad he was able to rest and recover, all the extra breastfeeding put my body under pressure it couldn't really handle and I started having nosebleeds and feeling like I was falling apart.

After a week, I found my illness changing and it turned into lots of sinus pain - concentrated in the area behind my eyebrows - and some very piercing head pains when I moved. Thankfully, this has all passed but at the time, I felt like my head was full of so much pressure that it could easily split apart.

Probably the most "entertaining" symptom I had was a loss of a lot of my hearing due to my ears becoming blocked. I say entertaining because I seemed to spend a lot of time having to ask husband to repeat himself and then having to guess whether he was truly repeating what he'd said or whether he was spinning an alternate version to see if I'd fall for it or not. As a general rule, if he tried to convince me he'd been declaring his loving feelings to me, he was fibbing. He is not a man that voluntarily speaks about love!

So where am I now? I still can't hear very well but it's definitely a lot better than it was. Everything else has cleared up, apart from a tickly cough at night, and I'm trying to build myself back up, find some semblance of normality and generally feel like my life is back under my control. That's not too much to ask, is it?

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