Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Cough

Claire has a cough. I haven't taken her to the doctor, over the month that it's been going on, because it gets worse at night. Every night for the past month I've said, "If she's still sick in the morning, I'm taking her to the doctor," but then she's fine and I forget all about it.

Last night she coughed so hard she woke herself up. It's a dry cough. I haven't wiped her nose in months. She isn't coughing anything up, or at least, nothing I've seen. It isn't croup - it doesn't have that characteristic sound. It's more like vomiting, in that it's spastic and sounds uncontrollable. She coughs until she has nothing left in her lungs, then she just stops and is silent for a second, before she breathes. Sometimes she coughs again, until she's out of breath. Sometimes it's just once. Sometimes she takes a drink of water, and that helps.

Whatever it is, it's not normal, and it's been going on long enough that it set off my, "Ok, it's time to go to the doctor," alarm over the weekend. I called yesterday, but the Dr. MWMH didn't have any open appointments this week. (That's what I get for referring most of our town to him over the past 4 years). I could either make an appointment to see the nurse practitioner (who I've never met) or I could try to get a same-day-sick appointment today. So, this morning BJ called at 7:30 am, and we have an appointment this afternoon.

The thing is, right now she's fine. And I'm considering canceling the appointment so that someone who is more acutely sick can have it. I would, too, except we're going out of town next week, so the soonest I'd be able to get her in to see Dr. MWMH is a week from Friday, and that seems too long when she's coughing so hard every single night.

Ok, she just coughed, so now I feel better about taking her.

I'm worried that she might have a milk allergy. She also has dark circles under her eyes all the time, and I guess that can be a symptom of a food allergy. She doesn't have any skin rashes that I've noticed. She gets diaper rash easily, though, which probably counts as a skin rash, now that I think about it.

She probably won't cough once at the doctor's. I wonder if he'll be able to hear anything if she doesn't.

I'm also worried that it's asthma. Can they even diagnose asthma in a 2 year old? Doesn't it have another name when they're that little? I have asthma, and my brother had it as a child and grew out of it. I grew into it. It was nice of me to take over having asthma for him, wasn't it?

I wish she could tell me what's going on. I can't ask her if her throat itches, or if she feels badly anywhere, because she'll just repeat the question. "Do you itch here?" pointing to my throat, "Itch here?" she'll say, pointing at her throat. "Do you itch inside?" "Inside?"

It's a lot easier when they're bigger and they can tell you what's going on.

Our neighbors' daughter also has a cough - hers has been going on for a long time, maybe a year? I wonder if there's something in our neighborhood - maybe a flower or a tree - that's causing the kids to cough. Or then I go all Erin Brokovich and start wondering about the corn processing plant nearby. They make sweeteners out of corn. I wonder if there's something they're putting in the air that's affecting the kids. Sometimes, when the wind is blowing wrong, we can smell it. It's about a mile away, and we're uphill from it. Still... It makes me wonder.

I'm so grateful that our kids are mostly healthy and strong. There are plenty of parents and children dealing with more serious illnesses than this. But this is what's on my mind today. Any thoughts?


Indy Cookie said...

Poor lil baby. Hope the Dr is able to shed some light for you. Have you tried a humidifier in her room - perhaps the air is just a tad dry for her (especially since it occurs mainly at night)? Keep us posted!

Adelas said...

Hey there. Personally, I would encourage you to print out this post and take it in! I am forever being convinced by the doctor that it's no big deal, only to have the problem continue or worsen.

Even if she doesn't cough for the doctor, if the doc is worth his/her salt, he'll sit up and take notice when you say the coughing is bad enough to interfere with her sleep at least once that you know of. (Don't know how heavy/light of a sleeper you are but if you know of one occasion, perhaps it has happened more than that - could explain the dark circles!)

Also, my mom-dar went off when I read that she was coughing until she's out of breath "every night".

Even if the doctor doesn't know what's causing it, maybe s/he can give you something to alleviate the symptom - something better than what you can buy OTC for a kiddo her size.

Don't forget a follow up post to let us know what happens!

Amy said...

Indy - the humidity here was in the 60 - 70% range - if it's too dry in their room, maybe she needs to sleep in the bathtub!

Adelas - I'm trying to get it on video before we go. Hopefully she'll give me one good cough. A picture's worth a thousand words - how much is a video worth?

Anonymous said...

If she coughs only when she's in bed at night, and if it might be reflux, you can try elevating the head of her bed so she's sleeping with her feet downhill. And that won't cost you $60 at the pharmacy!

Anonymous said...

Have the kids been tested for allergies to animal fur... omg I hope that's not it... but, also, yes, they can tell you if a child that small is prone to being asthmatic... grandson is in that zone... prayers are out to you!