I'd planned to do some blog updates yesterday following a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. (Hope all you mamas had one as well!) However, I woke up in the morning feeling like someone had beaten the crap out of me and pushed razor blades down my throat, so this was an initial deterrent. (Side note - I almost never got sick before giving birth, but since then I've come down with a bug three times. Boo to that!)
And then the biggie. S had begun having some coughing spells about a week back, and they worsened over the weekend (mostly at night) so I called the doctor and got her an appointment for yesterday afternoon. Chris took her in so I could crawl back into bed for another hour (yay to working from home), and he came back with some sobering news. According to the doctor, it's very likely that S has asthma. :( Along with this hypothesis came a prescription for two inhalers: a blue one which clears out her bronchial tubes (for short term relief) and a brown one which reduces the inflammation in her tubes (which should reduce and HOPEFULLY eliminate the condition into the longer term.) He said he wants to rule out asthma; if the inhalers don't work, then she is dealing with something else like a respiratory infection. But if they *do* work, it's virtually guaranteed to be asthma. He also prescribed an AeroChamber, a device which attaches to the inhaler enabling it to be used for a baby.
Apparently the pharmacist saw the look on Chris' face when he began to fill the prescription, as he reassured him that this is a common and very treatable condition. However, our research has indicated that it's not common in infants and toddlers (usually it shows up when a child is 4 or 5 years old). And no one ever wants to receive the news that their baby is suffering from a significant health condition - no matter how common or uncommon it is.
We began her on the inhalers last night and we did notice a reduction in her coughing spells overnight. Poor girl hates the process of giving her the inhaler, though Chris pointed out that the bigger of a "production" is made out of it, the more she fusses. (He gave her a shot of the blue inhaler first thing this morning and it wasn't too bad, however when we tag-teamed a bit later on the brown one she really squirmed and cried out.)
So aside from the inhalers, we also need to be really diligent about keeping things clean and allergin-free around here. This means frequently cleaning/vaccuming the floors and laundering all bedding and soft toys in hot water to get rid of dust mites (a notorious culrpit) and, unfortunately, finding a new home for Lucy. :( We discussed doing this earlier when we suspected S was developing an allergy, but now that she's been virtually diagnosed with a serious breathing condition, this is a step we have to take. Wish us luck here; it's not easy to find devoted caretakers for an older cat, even one as loving and awesome as Lucy.
Another concerning thing is that it is possible that swimming in indoor, chlorinated pools can trigger or worsen asthma due to trichloramine, which can be released when chlorinated water reacts with urine and other organic material. This concern was raised in Germany this past January and we've found it in other sources as well. Due to this, we'll need to make a decision regarding her swimming lessons as well.
So this was some unfortunate news, but we're of course going to do whatever we can to promote our daughter's health and wellbeing. We started last night with about 4 loads of bedding & toy laundry, and we plan to steam clean the carpets very soon as a next step. (With her out of the house, of course. Perhaps a Grandma and Grandpa day is in order!)
Finally, as if all of the above weren't enough for one day, I experienced a first last night: an inability to nurse S at bedtime. My milk just WOULDN'T let down! Luckily we had some pumped milk in the freezer, which she gulped down with gusto. And thankfully I was able to nurse her effectively again during our two overnight feedings. A bit disconcerting, though I think we can chock this one up to my illness, stress over the day's events or a combination of the two.
So that's that. We have a follow-up doctor's appointment for S in 10 days to check in. Crossing fingers and toes that with some super diligent cleaning, help from the inhalers and lots of fresh air, she'll be in tip-top shape in no time!