I recently had the asthma/allergy specialist tell me, "We can stop calling it reactive airway disease at this point, your daughter (3 years old) has asthma". Why did this hit me like a ton of bricks? I am a physician; I know how it is diagnosed and what the symptoms are, I take care of people every single day that have asthma.
Had they failed me?
My 3 year old, SH2 (small human 2), has asthma. Whew! There I said it. I don't blame anyone or anything for her asthma, well except the winter where she had RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) with bronchiolitis three times and my husband who also had childhood asthma. I vaccinate my kids on schedule, flu shots and all, and I don't blame her vaccinations for a common hereditary condition. I don't blame myself for giving her the demon medication (*sarcasm*) acetaminophen (you may know it as Tylenol) as a baby. Placing blame on someone or something else does not help her get better or get me more sleep on those white-knuckle nights I hear her cough and wheeze all.night.long.
I am torn as all moms are, but I feel the chasm in this circumstance is a bit wider. I am "western trained" and believe in research and randomized controlled trials. I pride myself on how up to date the care I provide to my patients is, using evidence based medicine (EBM) as my medical Bible. Here is where it gets a little dicey...I rub the essential oil, Thieves mixed with organic coconut oil on her feet every single night. If we are out late at a birthday party or friend's house and skip bath time, I will still rub it on her dirty feet before I put her in bed. I love putting Vicks Vapor Rub on her feet and cover them with socks if she is coughing and swear (anecdotally) that it works 100% of the time. I rub other essential oils on her chest if she has a cold and put an even different one in her humidifier that runs 24:7 while she sleeps. That is it right? That is why being a mom is so darn hard. I will do anything for my kids and every single night as I smear black voodoo magic oil on their feet (my husband watches me bemused) I swallow my EBM pride and pray it works to keep her healthy. Every.single.night.
Anecdotal evidence is the lowest form of healthcare in the medical world. I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "My brother tried this and you wouldn't believe..." Having kids has made me come to terms with the fact that anecdotal evidence is really just hope. Hope that there is an explanation for your child's autism, hope that they won't get sick this winter, hope that my child will be the one (like that other one) that this works for. I used to tow a hard line on many things about raising kids (sleep hygiene, meal time, white noise), but I am just a little more forgiving now. Who am I to take away a mom's hope?
Pass me the Thieves oil please and the Singulair, Flonase, Flovent and Albuterol HFA.
SH2 has asthma and I am a better person for it, who knew?
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