Monday, August 15, 2011

When he can't sleep, I can't sleep.

Poor Thomas just can't seem to catch a break. Between his history with his ear, his asthma, his ADHD, and now his allergies, he always seems to be having trouble somehow.

You probably already know that he finally had allergy testing done a couple of weeks ago, and several allergies were confirmed. Most of them weren't any real surprise, but unfortunately the worst of them all was dust mites, and we now know that he has a pretty severe allergy to them. In fact the doctor was excited by the results, calling them "off the charts" if I remember correctly via Brian's report; I wasn't there. Basically though, where a reaction measurement of 3 or greater marked a confirmed allergy, his reactions to two different types of dust mites were 8 and 20. -His other positive reactions were at or around 3-5.

Since dust mites live in all homes without exception, we have our work cut out for us. There is a long list of things that one can do to try to reduce the number of dust mites in his room, where his symptoms appear nightly, but we will never be able to get rid of them completely. It's also going to take some time. For example, I still haven't figured out exactly how to handle his stuffed animals; he LOVES them. He has been a good sport about removing them from the bed, but I don't know that he could be rid of them altogether; I'm not generally terribly sentimental about too many things, but even I can't ignore that there are a lot of really special memories tied up in a good number of them. I have to figure out how best to try and clean the ones that will be kept and then find some place to put them, away from his bed. ...It doesn't help that money is tight (and that's putting it lightly) right now either, as he also needs both a new mattress and two new pillows, along with all the appropriate covers (he does have some now but they don't appear to be good enough), which are pricey.

What scares me most, though, are the types of symptoms he exhibits; any symptoms would be troublesome, for sure, but he complains of things like trouble breathing, his throat getting tight, and his heart racing... He sounds okay, but he sounded okay when he complained leading up to his first severe asthma attack too, at age 5,and that one sent us to the ER in a panic at 4:30 AM when he was gasping for air, barely able to talk... He ultimately needed several steroid injections, nebulizer treatments, plenty of albuterol via his first inhaler, a serious course of Prednisone, and follow-up treatment with his primary care doctor.

All that said, he was having the same breathing issues prior to his visit with the allergist, so I never know when it is an emergency. I have this ongoing fear that one day it will be an emergency and I won't have known it until too late, and this is that point where, as a parent, I struggle. I have learned the hard way that when Thomas says something is bothering him but it seems as though he is fine and is maybe just having some anxiety or possibly exaggerating some, he must be taken seriously. Even his teachers in first grade used to shrug off his complaints, thinking he was really fine, but then we would find ourselves back at the doctor's with yet another course of Prednisone in the works. Remember, too, that this is the child who had a cholesteatoma that was almost missed; usually there is either trauma or there are persistent ear infections leading up to such a diagnosis, yet he never complained. Ever since he was an infant and the nurse practically scolded me for not knowing that he had an ear infection when I brought him in for a check-up even though he showed absolutely no symptoms (she knew only when she looked in his ear), I have wondered at how many times he could have had infections and no one would have known. Therefore I take his complaints seriously; I have to.

And so, I finally get to my point; when he can't sleep, neither can I. So here I am. Thankfully, blogging has taken enough time that he has finally drifted off and seems to be finally sleeping like a baby. My eyes are heavy, so off I go as well.

...Tomorrow I'll be washing the sheets and curtains again - and trying to figure out what else I can do to help.

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