Archive for the 'Michelle Obama' Category

Just a rant…

This was a post this week on one of my favorite blogs to follow. Amy had written earlier that it would be nice if Michelle Obama took Childhood Asthma as her issue. After all, she has a child who suffers from asthma, and it’s somewhat of an “invisible” disease. Unless one has lived the all-night coughing fests, the trips to the ER when your child can’t breathe, or any of the other “things” that parents of children with asthma have to deal with…it’s too easy to say, “it’s just asthma.”

First Lady Obama has chosen childhood obesity as her cause. Yes, it’s alarming how many children in the US are obese. It’s MORE than alarming how many children are being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. However, I have a very, very hard time feeling sorry for parents with obese children. The reason? With the exception of a very small population of obese children…the parents DID this to their children.

Parents who frequent a different drive through every evening for dinner. Parents who ply their children with crap all day. Parents who believe that food is love. Parents who believe that it’s appropriate to feed a 5 year old child an entire box of mac and cheese, or get mad at the nanny for not feeding a 3 year old a THIRD grilled cheese sandwich. These are also the parents who look at the doctor and say, “I don’t understand WHY my child is overweight.”

Parents of asthmatics (or any other chronic childhood disease) didn’t make the choice to have a child with a chronic disease. It’s not like we sat there one day and said…”hmmm, I think I’ll decide to have a child with asthma.” Parents with obese children make a choice every day. A choice to feed their children a healthy diet, or to feed them crap. Or even just to feed them enough of a healthy diet, or too much of one. There is such thing as too much of a good thing. Even if you’re feeding your kid whole grains and low sugar…if they are eating too much of it, it will still turn to fat.

On NPR it was stated…”Mrs. Obama attributes her sensitivity about childhood obesity to her own days as a working mom (married to a busy, political-type, rising-star of a husband). Before moving to the White House, she had little time to prepare healthy meals for young daughters Sasha and Malia.” I did work full time when A was small. In fact I worked full time until she was 3 years old. Sure, she came to work with me, but I was still outside the home 45 hours a week. I still managed to feed A healthy meals. I prepared things ahead of time, I used the crock pot and the pressure cooker. I’m not sure why it is so hard for some parent to make a healthy meal. Perhaps it’s because it’s so much easier to make excuses.

Perhaps I’m more sensitive than most. My child takes high doses of adult strength medications to give her what little control she has. These are the medications that have the warnings on the TV commercials about one of the side effects of the medications being death. I would love to have more research into the causes of asthma. On why some people respond so wonderfully to medications, and why some people don’t respond well, or at all. I’d love to have more awareness out there. Too many people think that asthma is no big deal. Sure, people with asthma might have to take the blue puffer, or the yellow and orange one…but…they wheeze a little, they might cough…they stick the puffer in their mouth and they’re fine. My daughter ISN’T fine. I don’t count the good times in terms of seasons or months. I get excited if she goes a week without needing a rescue overnight. I have yet to go a full week without her needing rescue during the day. The twice a week “benchmark” of control…I laugh at that. (BUT…it’s just asthma…people don’t DIE of asthma anymore…do they? YES, someone asked me that question…they were a bit shocked when I looked it up and told them that 11 people die every DAY from asthma. That 300 CHILDREN die each year from asthma.)

Michelle Obama had a chance to bring the issues of those of us parenting children who have asthma right to the forefront. She had a chance to perhaps make a difference in the lives of the approximately 7 million children in the US with asthma (and their parents.) I really feel like she dropped the ball on this one. She had the chance to bring awareness, and with awareness comes research dollars and with research dollars comes research, and better medication and treatments.

AND, on a total side note…it occurred to me today that most people’s understanding of asthma comes from the drug companies commercials. It’s been quite funny watching the Olympics with M. Normally, she watches children’s programming, which is generally medication commercial free. So, she’s been noticing the Symbicort commercials, and every SINGLE time one comes on, she says…”Hey..THAT’S MY PUFFER” I also have to be careful of my older daughter watching the Advair commercials, because she has been prescribed Advair for her sick plan…and they use the “asthma related death” phrase several times in that commercial, and A doesn’t usually miss stuff like that.