I need help from all my self-conscious asthmatic friends

Mariella is beginning to feel self-conscious about taking her medications in public, and about her health in general.

We were at a holiday party last night, and she was coughing a little bit, but it didn’t seem terrible.  I was keeping an eye on the cough…but it didn’t seem like she was in any distress.

Until we got home, and she was breathy and asking for a treatment.  When she asks for a treatment, it normally means she’s really tight.  She prefers the puffers…they are faster, and get her on her way much more quickly than a treatment.  Puffers really are her “rescue med of choice.”  When I asked if she was having trouble at the party, she said that she was…which made me ask why she didn’t come to me for a puffer.  I had made a point of letting her know I had her puffer and spacer with me. (she always asks me…even though I always have it, she likes to make sure)

She said…”it’s bad enough I had to take my pink medicine with dinner”  I think she will be as happy as I will be when they switch her to pills next week.

In new news, I think I have to start keeping a food diary.  I’m noticing that there are times that she complains more about her tummy after meals…so I have to wonder if there is a certain food that she’s eating (or foods) that bother her stomach more.  I’ve determined she always complains after a meal with broccoli, so I think that one is going to need to be removed or modified in her diet. (which is unfortunate, because it’s one of the few vegetables that she eats.)

Clinic appointment coming up on the 14th…we’re hoping for some weight gain, for sure.



10 Responses to “I need help from all my self-conscious asthmatic friends”

  1. 1 kerri December 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    My number one self-conscious about inhalers tip… doing them in the bathroom. Outta sight outta mind to other people, right?

    Other than that, have you gotten her to decorate her puffers? I don’t know if it will help, but if she thinks they’re ‘cool’ she may be less resistant to taking them when she needs them, if she has some control over how they look. You know, glitter and rhinestones and purple butterflies and all that ;-).

    Keep me posted on how this goes and what you find out works — something will.

  2. 3 Amy December 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Agree with Kerri–AG always finds a private place to use her inhaler, if possible.

    Of course, privacy isn’t always an option. This is, btw, by number-one source of anxiety about Outdoor Lab next week–that she’ll need her inhaler & not use it b/c all her friends are around.

    Anyway, I’ve done a lot of talking and explaining over the years to (hopefully) head off the situation.

    Whenever she and I have a conversation about self-consciousnesses, the first thing I always say is “No, it’s not fair. Yes, it sucks and I’m sorry you have to deal with this.” On the theory that I’m validating her emotions BEFORE I say, “Okay, kid. That’s life. Suck it up and use your inhaler.” 🙂

    Another thing we talk about a LOT is the way everyone, adult or child, has something in their lives that embarrasses/frustrates them. Just recently, AG came home and told me something terribly sad about one of her close friends’ early family history, and she mentioned how embarrassed this kid seemed when it came up in conversation.

    I seized on that opportunity to point out that A)what happened in this kid’s early life wasn’t his fault & had no bearing on the kind of person HE is, that B)did she notice how hearing this story didn’t change her opinion of him?, that C)he is probably just as self-conscious about this part of his life as she is about her asthma, if not more, and that D)he can’t change his past, but it doesn’t define him and never will.

    It’s hard to talk about another kid like this without feeling like I’m using someone else’s problems to make my kid feel better about hers, but mostly I was trying to show her that EVERYONE feels bad or ashamed or whatever about SOMETHING.

    Finally, I rely on the old standby: “If your flare gets worse, you’ll not only be even more self-conscious, you’ll probably miss something fun.” Which is also hard to talk about sometimes without sounding like I’m saying “It’ll be all YOUR FAULT if you get worse.”

    This is what works for me, but AG is of course older and (in theory) easier to reason with. She’s also always been a very confident child about every other part of her life, which helps her overcome some of the self-consciousness about her health, I think. Finally, I know Mariella has more on her plate, medically, than AG does. So it may be easier for me to sort of talk her out of the self-consciousnesses.

    Or I may have handled this totally wrong all these years, and next week will show me that. I sure hope not.

    • 4 mommato2beauties December 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      I’m sure you’ve done great.

      I’m all about just using my inhaler when I need it, I’ve never been self conscious about it, so it’s kind of foreign to me.

      However, she’s becoming more and more aware that she’s “different” from the other kids in her class. She doesn’t happen to have any other students in her class that leave for medication. (other first grade classrooms do, but not hers) PLUS, because she goes at lunch time…she enters the lunch room late, has to rush through her lunch, etc….so it DOES draw attention. It’s very possible that one of the kids has said something. I’ll have to check with the teacher, because it IS brand new that she’s resisting having her inhaler in public.

      I guess I need to give her this one…to let her know that she needs to let me know she needs a rescue…and that we will find a private place to do it. (unless it’s impossible)

  3. 5 Kat December 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I’m with Kerri, the girls room is my prefered inhaler taking place. Although oddly when I’m in public around no one in particular I have no problem pulling out the inhaler and spacer and taking care of what needs to be. Bus/random street corner: no problems, restaurant w/ friends:time to find the girls room.
    Maybe come up with a codeword so that M can let you know she needs her puffer w/o telling the whole room and you can find a secluded spot to take care of it.

  4. 7 Elisheva December 8, 2010 at 7:47 am

    That’s something I’m STILL struggling with. At this point, I don’t have as much of a problem using it around close friends who know I have asthma or in places where I figure using it would be seen as more normal (the pool, the gym), tho normal could be subjective. I’ve never seen anyone else use inhalers there. I dunno. Maybe my logic is weird.

    I agree with everyone above about using it where other people can’t see it. Another thing that has been pointed out to me by a friend is that I draw more attention to myself wheezing and coughing up a lung than I do taking the inhaler and getting it over with. That’s something I try to keep in mind when the need arises.

    You said Abby has asthma too. Does she also have a problem with this?

    • 8 mommato2beauties December 8, 2010 at 7:53 am

      Abby is so very mild that I’ve only had to give her a rescue inhaler once (that I can remember) in public. She was so upset about not breathing well that she really didn’t care about the inhaler. She’s a lot like me, personality-wise, that I would bet that she doesn’t worry about it. When I can’t breathe, I get my inhaler, and take it.

  5. 9 Amy December 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I was thinking about this last night and I realized–AG started feeling a little self-conscious around the same age as Mariella. I think what happens is that’s the age OTHER kids start to notice. I remember AG telling me about another child in the clinic “staring” at her when she used her inhaler, and that making her feel bad. Which led to feeling weird when she had to leave class to use her inhaler at the clinic, but that lessened as she got older.

    Now the self-consciousness has come back in a different way. When she uses her inhaler at school, it’s either at lunchtime, too, or during reading circle. So when she leaves/comes in later, everyone knows why but it doesn’t bother her–I think she just got used to that part over the years. She doesn’t care (much) if other kids know she’s going to go use her inhaler, but she cares terribly if she has to use it where they can SEE her. (it doesn’t happen too often, though)

    Maybe Mariella will be the same way? With age, AG has seemed to realize on her own that kids don’t “stare” so much as they “look” b/c of natural curiosity. That makes her self-conscious too, of course, but it’s less negative than feeling like people are staring at her, you know?

  6. 10 Melissa January 1, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I don’t like taking my inhalers in public either. If I’m in class I will step out in the hallway or use the ladies room. Around friends I don’t mind using just my rescue inhaler. Recently I’ve started being O.K. using it with a spacer around close friends.

    Actually a lot people will start talking to me and not realize that I can’t answer yet. LOL.

    One thing I will say is to me it’s an issue of privacy, and the possibility as being judged as having a weakness. People who understand are O.K., when I’m in say a work environment, to me it’s a private thing that I need to take care of.

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