Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy holidays and quick update

First off - Happy Holidays to everyone! Hope you've all enjoyed whichever of the many December holidays you celebrate, and (if I don't post before then) that you have a wonderful and HEALTHY New Year!

Just a quick update on the boys --

B didn't have the flu after all. Typical of me to panic like that, right? He was fine the next day, but he has developed kind of a nasty cough over the last few days. I have him on Combivent for the first time since September. Funny how he only develops coughs like that when we come to Canada. Must be something with this fresh Ontario air...

Oz didn't get the stomach virus, but did develop 102 fever and a lovely grayish skin tone as soon as we arrived in the Great White North. He's still not looking all that well, but he isn't coughing, either. He's just congested, puffy-eyed and pale, and he does seem to be retracting a bit. So he's on Dimetapp and albuterol for the time being. We'll see the peds when we get back.

Ig (who turned two last week - did I post that?) is doing well, but is a total toddler. Little tyrant!! Good thing he's so cute... He has a bit of a runny nose and loose cough, but he looks really good. Just keeping an eye on things, but he really seems OK. His lips have been blue a few times, but I think it might just be because my in-laws have cold floors. (Albuterol's always handy, though!)

That's about it. I'm happy to be away from work and focusing on the kids...and actually READING a BOOK. Fiction. Nothing on asthma, Aspergers or business - just pure entertainment.

Now THAT's a vacation!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Could B have the flu?

It's a little early in the season, but I was reading this article on the CDC site...and it could be.

Should probably check with the peds before taking him over the border. It would SUCK to make the news because we started an international flu epidemic, y'know?

Too Sick for the Road Trip

B woke up this morning complaining of a stomach ache. I knew he was serious - he never complains about his health. Ever.

And we were supposed to leave to see the in-laws in Canada this morning. Not only was he incredibly psyched to see his grandparents, he was even psyched for the DRIVE. Seriously -he was all about watching DVDs in the car, stopping at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's....I guess I never realized how cool road trips are when you're 6.

Anyway, he threw up his whole breakfast, so we didn't leave today. Rob took him to the peds because B will occasionally vomit when he has strep, and we definitely needed to start antibiotics right away if he had that.

But while the strep test was negative - at least the rapid strep was - he did start running a fever later on in the day.

We'll keep an eye on him tomorrow, and we'll see what his temp is, etc. before we leave. (This will be very had for Rob who would have us loaded in the car at 7:00AM regardless. I totally don't get men and their arbitrary schedules. Is there a hockey game or something tomorrow night?)

Meanwhile, Oz is looking poorly and has a funny rash around his nose and mouth (please let it not be perioral dermatitis again...) and Ig's been breathing noisily and coughing a bit.

We'll see. Hopefully, we'll make it to Canada before Christmas Eve. It would suck if the kids couldn't spend the holiday with the grandparents. Especially since they've got all the presents!!

Keep ya posted...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

WEGO Health Recommends....Me!!

Just a little blog's currently recommended on WEGO Health.

Let's hear it for the Mama!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

NJ's New Mandatory Vaccine: Mama's Angry All Over Again

It's not that I'm against vaccines...I'm not. I think a lot of vaccines are necessary. Polio, for example. Mumps. Measles.

What I have a problem with is vaccinating kids for EVERYTHING. And worse yet, FORCING me to have my kids vaccinated for everything.

Let's give this some context. I'm the mother of a child on the autistic spectrum, as well as three asthmatic boys.

While there's no 100% ideal link between vaccines and autism, there is enough circumstantial evidence - and enough questions have arisen - to give me pause. For one thing, look at the rise in autism diagnoses in recent years. (And sorry - no, I don't believe it's all because of the new diagnostic criteria.)

First of all, why in the world was anything even remotely related to mercury used to bind any vaccines? And no, it's not in the MMR anymore - but is still in the flu vaccines. Seriously.

We'll recall any toy with lead-based paint on the outside chance our kid might chew on it, but we'll inject thimerosal directly into our kids' bloodstreams.

Can someone explain this to me?

Secondly, have you looked at the American vaccine schedule lately? 10 different vaccines before a child's first birthday. Does that seem a little extreme? The UK requires THREE.

But who has the bigger pharma lobby, I wonder?

This just drives me CRAZY.

Now New Jersey, my lovely home state, is requiring me to vaccinate my kids against the flu, as well other illnesses including whooping cough and meningitis.

But let's think back to last year. Anyone remember flu vaccine recalls? How abou the the year before. And hey - didn't Merck just recall the Hib vaccine?

At the end of the day, here's how I feel.
  • I will absolutely vaccinate my kids for diseases that pose a dire risk to them and to the public -- Measles, Polio, etc.
  • I will not vaccinate my children with predictive vaccines that may or may not be safe or carefully tested.
  • I will not allow my children to be injected with vaccines bound with thimerasol.
  • I do not think it's necessary to vaccinate my children for non-life-threatening illnesses they're perfectly capable of fighting on their own, like chicken pox.
  • I protest the compulsory vaccination of 9-year-old girls for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • I DEMAND that vaccinations not be mandatory because pharmaceutical companies have enough money and power to lobby to make it so.

I'm tired, and this may or may not make sense...honestly, I'm not a freak, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm the mom of a child with an autistic spectrum disorder, of three asthmatic boys, who has a LOT of dangerous questions.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oz & Ig - still not better

So...Ig's being treated for for a double ear infection. FUN - it take two full-grown adults to administer the antibiotic drops for my 23-month old. And he's still got a tight, nasty-sounding cough in the early AM and at night.

Oz has a much looser cough, but he's got enough goop around his nose for me to think he may have a sinus infection. I don't think it's cleared up since he had that flare a few weeks back.

So I think we may end up at the peds tomorrow morning.

In other news, I've got a call into the developmental pediatrician because B, whose asthma is 100% under control with just Singular these days, is exhibiting some odd behaviors. No time to get into right now, but we think it's Aspergers-related stuff.

I'll try to post again after I talk to the doctors...

Monday, December 03, 2007

No RSV but...

We have a double ear infection!

Here's how it played out:
  1. Ig was fine by the time we go to the PP on Thursday.
  2. Oz was coughing like mad on Friday, so both of them were home and on nebs.
  3. Ig was tapered down and went back to just the albuterol MDI on Saturday.
  4. Oz was tapered down and went back to just the albuterol MDI on sunday.
  5. They both went back to daycare today, but both were meant to get albuterol at 12 and 4.
  6. Ig was SO happy to see me when I picked him up today, but then wouldn't stop crying when we got home...and wouldn't eat, either.
  7. I noticed fluid draining from BOTH ears (remember how he has tubes now?)
  8. I gave him Motrin and Floxin after paging the peds, and then I put him to bed.
Fortunately, Dad can work from home tomorrow. (I was home Thursday and Friday.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ig & Oz Update

If was up to 40 breaths per minute this morning (despite a greatly reduced fever), so I took him to the peds. pulomonolgist this afternoon.

Spent the whole day wiping blood-streaked mucus off that kid --his nose was like a little, hideously disgusting faucet. And we went through two shirts because he kept wiping his nose on his sleeves. Really GROSS.

But of course, by the time we got to the PP, he was fine! No wheezing, moving air well, normal resp rate satting at 97%. Not that I'm not happy that he's better, but the kid pulled a total Michigan J. Frog on me.

Nonetheless, she tested him for RSV, and while we haven't gotten the results yet, the respiratory therapist was pretty sure he had it. So I'm not ruling out an overnight nosedive, and I'm definitely keeping Ig home again tomorrow for a rigid neb schedule!

Oz, on the other hand, woke up congested and coughing - just a bit - this AM. I started him on nebs, too, and given the liklihood that Ig has RSV, I'm glad I did.

We'll see how he is in the AM, but I'm not optimistic. But am I ever, when it comes to RSV?

Read this blog and tell me if that's unreasonable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ig May Have RSV

Ig was up the last two nights, fussing and congested. He started coughing last night, and sound pretty bad this morning.

I brought him to daycare this morning, knowing that he probably wouldn't make it the whole day. He had no fever, but the cough was a little rough and
he just wasn't himself. He didn't eat breakfast, but he wasn't as congested as he'd been either. I really didn't know what to make of his state, but I had that feeling that he really was getting sick.

Last night, btw, he had me cracking up . He woke up at 3:00 AM (!) crying, calling for me to come get him. I didn't get him right away (3:00 AM, I remind you) so he came up with some GREAT lines to lure me in. Mind you, he's 23 months old now. Here's what I heard:
  • "Mom? Want up-up."
  • "Mom? Want up-up. 'Kay? Kay."
  • "Mom? Want juice."
  • "Mom? Want cheerios."
  • "Dad? Want juice."
  • "Mommy? I smell poopies."
That one got me.

Back to today...he woke up from nap at daycare with 101.9. I went and got him, and he looked SO BAD and sounded so awful that I took him straight to the peds.

The peds noticed he was retracting, but didn't hear anything concerning beyond his cough, which she called a "typical asthma cough." Ears were fine, throat was fine, etc.

She did mention that they've already seen some RSV, and recommended we keep the nebs up and DuoNeb if necessary. I told her we'd watch his resps, too, and she reminded me about hospitalization for RSV. (As if I'd forget staying at the peds hospital with #1 son for five days!)

Keep y'all posted....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Asthma, the kids, and the past few weeks

In a nutshell...'tis the season for peds asthma!

Oz: Had a bad cough the weekend before T-day, as well as a horribly runny, icky nose. He actually had to miss a birthday party because he was such a mess that Saturday. Many nebs later, he's much better and finally off albuterol.

Ig: Just getting sick now. Lots of yellow ick all over his face, but no cough yet. Also just found out that the always-sick (and constantly dosed-and-dropped) kid at daycare just had croup and coxsackie (and probably STILL DOES even though he's there today) so the future's looking a little gray on that front. He was also up SCREAMING last night, and I thought he sounded a bit wheezy. No cough (yet), though.

B: Told me he had a cold this morning. Sigh.

We'll see how it goes over the next few days.

Rethink your Tamiflu Stockpile...

Someone just emailed this to everyone at work in response to an invitation for everyone to get free flu shots:

F.D.A. Staff Recommends a Warning on Flu Drugs


Published: November 24, 2007

Makers of the two most common drugs used to treat and prevent flu should add warnings that they may cause psychiatric side effects, federal regulators have recommended.

The report, by staff members of the Food and Drug Administration, was posted yesterday in advance of an advisory panel meeting scheduled for Tuesday to review use of the antiviral medications Tamiflu, made by Roche Holding, and Relenza, from GlaxoSmithKline.

Five Japanese children who took Tamiflu and became delirious died, and there were reports of abnormal behavior among some children using Relenza, mainly in Japan, where the drug is widely used to treat flu, the documents noted.

There have been no fatalities in the United States, the F.D.A. report said.

Regulators are not sure if the deaths and abnormal behavior were caused by the drugs, the flu virus or a combination of both, the F.D.A. staff members said in a memorandum written Nov. 9. They did not propose any new limits on use of the drugs. While governments worldwide have been stockpiling the drugs in case of an influenza epidemic, sales have slipped in recent months amid concerns about the safety of Tamiflu.

Tamiflu generated $257 million for Roche in the third quarter. Sales were down 62 percent from a year earlier. Relenza generated $58 million for Glaxo in the third quarter, down 7 percent.

Roche, based in Basel, Switzerland, says studies show the flu, not the drug, causes the reported side effects, but a company spokesman, Terry Hurley, said yesterday, “If the F.D.A. concludes that it is valuable to place additional details on the label with regard to specific adverse event reports, then Roche is open to that consideration.”

Officials for Glaxo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tamiflu’s prescribing information was updated last year to tell doctors they should monitor patients for signs of abnormal behavior. The label should be revised again, the F.D.A. staff members said in the Nov. 9 memorandum, to alert doctors and family members that psychotic side effects may happen quickly and can be fatal.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Everyone's Coughing's the "in" thing to do!

Ig's been coughing for days, a croupy sounding number that rips through my heart every time I hear it. (He actually asks for his medicine. He's 22 months old, and he asks me for "ap-icine." How sad is that?)

Oz is doing better, but still coughing at night. Looser than it was, thank goodness.

I'll be unreachable, working a trade show Monday and Tuesday, so I hope they're OK by the time the weekend's over.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Combivent and Nighttime Fears?

Granted, we may start watching Ghost Hunters too early some nights, but since we started the Combivent, B seems to have some odd night time phobias. The past three nights, he's begged us to leave the light on his room.

Has anyone else seen this with fast-acting inhalers at bedtime?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Over Albuterol - We're Reaching Straight for the Combivent

B started coughing slightly a few nights slightly that I (bad mommy!) didn't bother starting albuterol.

Well, ha-ha and me (and pity on him!) he was coughing so badly last night that he was begging me for Dimetapp! I had given him 2 puffs of albuterol, and then 30 minutes later, another 2 puffs, but it hadn't worked. He was coughing his head of most of the night.

Today, when I picked him up from school, he was coughing a bit. It wasn't alarming in frequency, but it sounded SO BAD.

When we got home, I couldn't find the nebulizer, so I gave him two puffs of Combivent.

I swear, he's coughed maybe twice since then.

I'll look back, and I'm willing to bet I've written this before, but giving this kid albuterol is a waste of a perfectly good pharmaceutical. It just doesn't work on him anymore.

I called the PP for a refill, but I'm not sure if they were able to get it to the pharmacy because I called late...I probably have enough to get through the weekend. Just.

Monday, October 15, 2007

'Roid Rage in Your Asthmatic Child

Every now and then, I get a comment like the one I just got from Tami. She's got a son with severe asthma who needs to be on Pulmicort or Flovent, but goes a little psycho when he's on the stuff.

It's a horrible situation to be in. Unfortunately, steroids are considered the strongest weapon in our anti-asthma arsenals. And as a message board buddy once put it, she'd rather have a kids who "kicks the dog" but can breathe than one who's in the ER every other week.

I think we'd all have HAPPY kids who can breathe.

At the end of the day, when we're not happy with the results we're getting from our doctors, the first checkpoint should be other doctors. I realize that some of my friends here don't have the luxury of being in major metro areas like me, but if you can find another pediatric pulmonologist or asthma/allergy specialist, get there. If you've only been dealing with your regular peds -- take the 2 hour drive to see the specialist. You'll never regret it.

Tami, I don't know what other meds your son is on, but you sound smart and I imagine you've been asking all the right questions and tried lots of different things. We're doing well with Flovent, but I know others who've seen positive changes by switching to Qvar and other brands of similar steroids. Maybe your son can do Singulair instead of steroids? Worth asking...

We've got lots of smart moms around here -- I'm sure someone can offer grounded, sensible advice. (Ahem!)

One note on the eczema -- there's a boy in my kids' daycare who had THE WORST eczema I've ever seen. He was constantly scabbed and bleeding. So sad! Recently, I noticed a drastic improvement, and I asked his parents about it. Would you believe their miracle cure was VASELINE? That's right -- they switched dermatologists, and the new doctor recommended that they bathe him every day (seriously!) and coat him with Vaseline within 2 minutes of getting out of the tub (and barely drying him off) to seal in the moisture.

Worth a shot, right? (With your doctor's permission, natch!)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Loving the Autism Diva

This woman is SO on my blog roll! (Some of you may know that my oldest son is on the autistic spectrum - so this is always something we're looking to learn more about.)

Anyway, here's a bit of the Diva's take on the recent hullaballoo over Jenny McCarthy's possibly "cured" autistic son:

Evan went from being a 2-year old (diagnosed) autistic boy (with seizures)to a 5 year old autistic boy apparently still on meds to prevent seizures, in 3 years. This is supposed to be an amazing thing. It's not. Not unless we are to believe that all autistic children stagnate at their two year old level and can never learn anything or develop skills beyond that. Jenny doesn't attribute his
development to, uh, development, but to her magical mystery cures that she got by way of quack dox and quackery promoting autism websites which of course, she discovered by doing "Google research." Oh, but she's a heroine for saving her son, from... what? From being a 2-year old, low functioning, psychic with a few too many autistic traits? Jenny seems to have a hard time keeping her story straight.

This woman is FIERCE and FEARLESS. I love it!!

All of us asthma/autism moms have tried something crazy at some point - the smartest women I know give their kids fish oils, have them on gluten-free diets, have given chelation a shot...I have hand the Autism Diva the feather boa for being the voice of reason in this clearly insane world of parenting special-needs kids.

Stay tuned for a rant on RSV awareness...!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oz - a little better

Oz is a little better today -- just doesn't seem as...sick. Still whiney, still *definitely* has a cold, but seems improved overall.

Called the PP's office and spoke to the nurse-practioner, who I love. But sometimes I feel like they believe I'm such an "old pro" that it's just not helpful. "There's a virus, low-grade fever, dry cough or really chesty, congested cough. Some kids it lasts 2-3 days, other kids are sick for up to 10 days. You know what you're doing though...just keep up the Xopenex. If he's not coughing a lot, you can drop it down to 1-3 times a day. You'll be fine"

Is that REALLY helpful? And TEN DAYS? Are you freaking kidding me? Ugh.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Up with Oz

I've got a feverish, wheezing little Oz at my side as I type. Poor guy. We'll be at the peds tomorrow morning for sure. :-(

Some quick updates -- if I haven't posted in a while, there are two good reasons. First, we were on vacation the last week in August. Second, B's started Kindergarten at the elementary school, and I am/we are all adjusting to the new routine.

By new routine, I'm referring to getting up at 5:45 AM, getting myself ready for work, getting B ready for school, Oz and Ig ready for daycare and getting everyone out the door by 7:40 every day. Then it's two drop-offs before work, a full day of marketing for four companies, two pickups, dinner (at the table, with everyone) baths, making lunch, and then maybe, if I'm lucky, 30 minutes on the treadmill before washing or folding laundry and going to bed.

Aren't you SO jealous of me???

As for that vacation, let's just say it was everyone ELSE'S vacation, because for me, it was just like every other day, only touger. We rented a cottage on a lake in northern Ontario. My husband found it online, and failed to notice that a) it had steps (and we had no gate) and b) the walk down to the lake was pretty steep!

Ig was a bear....I was carrying him around every second, pretty much. Between the steps everywhere and his seemingly unthwartable desire to walk into the *middle* of the lake, it didn't seem safe to put him down! He didn't sleep well, and when he finally went down for a nap every day, I took a well-needed break by running 2 miles down a secluded dirt road. Believe me, it was my only alternative to running into the woods and screaming!!! I love that baby, but MAN was he tough.

In his defense, it turned out he had Fifth Disease (Parvo virus) but honestly, I still think I had it rougher than he did!

One more thing about that cottage -- every square inch was either carpeted or upholstered. EVERYONE was coughing. B develped a phlegm-y, resonant cough before we left for vacation, and it only got worse while we were there. It didn't go away for weeks, and we finally had to put him on Singular again. :-( Anyway, at least he's still off the Flovent, right?

Anyway, enough feeling sorry for myself -- back to poor Ozzy. He needs some snuggles, and isn't that what moms are for?

Friday, August 17, 2007

FDA Warning on Cold Meds for Babies

I heard this on the radio yesterday AM, and my cousin just sent me a link to the FDA Public Health Advisory (thanks, Sam!). And while I'll freely admit my parental dependency on Dimetapp (stops non-asthma-related coughing, promotes sleep) I doubt I'll give the stuff to Ig anymore.

Honestly, I find that Dimetapp is the only thing that works. Pediacare, Benadryl and Claritin have all been pretty useless for us. And of course, I can't ever give them cough supressants...

Anyway, here are a few highlights from the FDA Advisory:

FDA announced today that, in October, the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee will discuss the safety and effectiveness of cough and cold drug product use in children. Questions have been raised about the safety of these products and whether the benefits justify any potential risks from the use of these products in children, especially in children under 2 years of age. In preparation for the meeting, FDA is reviewing safety and efficacy data for the ingredients of these products...

What should parents know about using cough and cold products in children?

  • Do not use cough and cold products in children under 2 years of age UNLESS given specific directions to do so by a healthcare provider.
  • Do not give children medicine that is packaged and made for adults. Use only products marked for use in babies, infants or children (sometimes called “pediatric” use).

Read the entire Public Health Advisory from the FDA site.

Thursday Night at the Pulmonologist

So... here's the quick roundup:

  • B - Doing GREAT! He actually completed the Peak Flow Test (PFT) and did great! Dr. W said she would have been happy if he'd been over 80% -- and he actually surpassed 100% (He still improved after abuterol, but whatever.) He is not going back on Flovent this fall, at least not at this point. :-)
  • Oz - Doing well, but staying on Flovent 110 and Singulair. We'll keep watching him.
  • Ig - With the cyanotic episodes and overall dodgy health, we're starting Flovent 44 again now.

For a change, BETTER than I'd anticipated. I'm so excited about B!! No meds!!! Whoopeee!!!
Now all I have to pay for (for B) are the $500 orthotics, which our insurance wont' cover.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quick Monkey Update

We seem to have beaten Oz's cough from earlier this week...but Ig had a blue-lip episode at daycare today. Two puffs of albuterol and he pinked right back up.

The blue-lip episode happened during a rather important meeting today, and made for a funny overheard conversation. The daycare admin called on my mobile, and I always take their calls, natch. Here's what the CEO, President and other around me probably heard:

"He's blue? Again?....Is he happy, or does he seem like he's in distress?...Okay. Did you give him albuterol?...Yes, two puffs. I'll sign the form when I pick him up. Okay. Thanks for calling! Bye!"

Ah, the life of a working mom of asthmatic kids. Don't you wish you were me?

Pulmo Tomorrow

Supermom is taking her three monkeys to the pediatric pulmonologist - single-handedly! - after work tomorrow.

Wish me luck!!!

...anyone feel like placing bets on the prescriptions I leave with? Do I hear two Flovents? Three? 44 or 110? Any 220s? How about Xopenex? Do I hear a Xopenex...?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ozzy Coughing

Quick note: Oz was coughing this morning, so I gave him some albuterol. Hopefully, we can head this off.

B looked puffy and said his nose felt funny...guess I'll be keeping an eye on that two. Sounds sinus-related to me.

All this on the day Rob starts a new job in NYC - an hour commute each way. Once again, he's out the door before the kids are out of bed, so the mornings are all on Mom.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Because we all know someone who has (or had) breast cancer, I'm doing the Avon Walk to raise much-needed funds to combat this evil disease and to help those who are already fighting it.
Please support me! I need to raise $1800 to walk, but I'd like to raise a whole lot more.

I know I've already got asthma and autism to worry about in my world, but I had my first breast cancer scare this year (I'm fine) and it made me think of all the moms out there who are dealing with this illness while trying to raise their kids to be healthy and strong -- and of all the moms who lost their battles. I want to save those moms!!!

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tiffany Teether (not asthma-related...just a MamaRant!)

I reading about last week's Fisher-Price recall, when while scanning the list, I noticed this older item:

CPSC, Tiffany and Company Announce Recall of Farm Teether Rattles

Tiffany & Co. makes teethers? Oh, dear...I had to read on, of course.

The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Farm Teether Rattle
About 3,700
New England Sterling of Attleboro, Mass., for Tiffany and Company of New York, N.Y.
Hazard: A metal bar on the rattle can break off during use, releasing small round beads and small farm animal figures that roll off the crossbar when the soldered joints break. The beads can pose an aspiration hazard to young children. The breakage also can create ragged edges on the ring, posing a laceration hazard.

OK -- hold it right there. Metal? I get the 'small beads' inside the rattle, but small farm animal figures? Do your rattles and teethers have any metal and choking-hazard sized animals on them? Moving on...

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC and Tiffany and Company have received one report of a farm animal figure that was found in the mouth of a 7-month-old child. The child
was not injured.
Description: The recalled rattle is designed for children ages 3 months and up. The Farm Teether Rattle is a hollow, sterling silver ring approximately 3 inches in diameter with a bar across its center. The bar is attached to the interior of the ring at two points and has three farm animals (sheep, duck and cow) and two beads that rotate on the bar. Small plastic beads inside the ring rattle when the product is shaken. Inscribed on the rattle is “© 2002 TIFFANY & CO. 925.”

It's sterling silver?? It's STERLING SILVER TEETHER? Are you freaking kidding me??? It's TEETHER that you have to POLISH. Oh, that's brilliant...
And don't get me started with the engraving for authenticity...

Sold at: Tiffany and Company sold these rattles in its retail stores and from its catalogs and Web site from November 2002 through early March 2004 for about

Manufactured In: United States

Remedy: Consumers can return the product to Tiffany and Company for a full refund, credit or a new rattle.

Are you kidding me? About 3,700 people spent $150 on a sterling silver teether? Who ARE these people? Do they all share the last name Hilton?

And damned straight Tiffany & Co. had better issue a "refund, credit or new rattle" for their high-society choking hazard.

Only in America, folks. Only in America.

Oh, and just another sad-state-of affairs note: The CPSC recall list is SO long and so frequently updated, they really should provide an RSS feed.

Albuterol Test, part deux

I have to really scrap the last albuterol test -- Ig was running a fever on Saturday, so he may have had some virus that was keeping him up. He slept PERFECTLY with the fever, though.

Of course, he was up again the next night, so I tried the "albuterol test" again last night. He slept through til 5:00 AM. (GREAT for him.) He woke up really happy, too - despite some icky green goo around his nose.

I'm calling the PP this week to schedule a seasonal visit for all three monkeys, so I'll keep the test up for a few more nights and report the results back to her. $10 says he's back on Flovent by next week.

In other news -- I'm taking B to the podiatrist Thursday (praying he doesn't need full orthotic - NO ONE covers those things) and the developmental peds. in October. Let's here it for back-to-school!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Iggy's Sick

Yesterday, when I dropped Ig off at daycare, I noticed his friend Jack had a croup-y sounding cough. Jack's a first baby, and his very sweet mom often asks me for advice. I told the caregivers in the room that they should keep an eye on Jack and watch his breathing at naptime. His cough, to me, sounded a little like bronchiolitis.

I mentioned this to my husband last night at bedtime, after telling him that I had given Ig albuterol again.

Naturally, when we woke up this morning (Ig slept right through!), Ig felt a little warm to me. I took his temp - 100.6. Not SUCH a big deal, since he ALWAYS seems to be running a low temp. But was getting cranky, so I gave him some ibuprofen.

Then I noticed, as I was changing him, that he seemed to be breathing a little fast, almost panting. He had some crusted mucus under his nose (also kind of a standard look lately), so I figured it might just be upper respiratorty stuff, but I gave him some albuterol anyway. Hey, our action plan says, "at first sign of a cold."

And THEN, about an hour later, I noticed a steady stream of green goo coming out of his nose. Awesome.

So...I'm refreshing my memory on the symptoms of bronchiolitis (so paranoid, I know) and keeping a close eye.

Meanwhile, I gave him some Dimetapp and put him down for an early nap. $10 he wakes up with a cough and AT LEAST 101.5. Can't seem to get a break with their health this summer...

UPDATE: In fact, Iggy woke up with 102.6, but no cough. He was fever-free by Sunday, but the green goo still lingers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, B!

It's B's sixth birthday today. I can't believe it's been six years since I gave birth to that wonderful kid.

The year begins with promise: His asthma is well under control - he's not even on meds right now. The Aspergers Syndrome that has the potential to threaten his social skills is barely perceptible. He is among the most popular with teachers and students a like. Sure, he sucks at sharing, but how many 6-year-old boys can boast "shares Transformers well" as a social skill?

I have nothing but optimism for his first year in public school, for his health or his happiness.

Happy Birthday, B! I love you!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Albuterol Test Results

He was up at 2:00AM. I don't know if this was a failure of the test or due to the fact that my darling husband hasn't the slightest idea what it means to TIPTOE when he goes to the bathroom at night.

Give it one more night. He slept through after I gave him albuterol at 2:00.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Albuterol Test.. and Yea, ME!

I've probably mentioned in several of the last posts that Ig hasn't been sleeping lately. It's an ongoing motif in my world. I've learned to function -- heck, even earn a PROMOTION -- on 4-6 hours sleep. (I used to swear I couldn't get by on less than 10.)

Ig, now 19 months old, wakes up at 11:00 almost every night, usually at exactly the moment I'm turning off the TV to go to bed. If he sleeps beyond 11:00, he's up at 2:00. Sometimes, he wakes up at 11 AND 2.

And he doesn't just wake up, he SCREAMS. It's horrible. There's not letting him cry it out -- no one would sleep if we did. And honestly, I'm not inclined to. My mom-sense tells me there's something really wrong, something beyond separation anxiety.

In the past, when Oz was waking up like this, we found out that we needed to put him back on Flovent. When Ig was waking up during the winter, we learned that he had chronic ear infections and needed tubes. So for me, the net-net is, if he can't sleep, he's either in excrutiating pain or not breathing well.

I brought this up with the peds at his 18-month checkup last week. She thinks it's just separation anxiety, and that I'll end up with this kid sleeping between his dad and me until he hits puberty....but she agreed we should see the pulmo "if I'm concerned."


Anyway, as he's getting over strep, he did sleep a few nights when we dosed him up with Dimetapp and Motrin. But then the screaming started again, so...for a test (YES, I'M GETTING TO MY POINT NOW) I gave him albuterol before bed last night.

And guess what...he slept til 5:00 AM.

So, I'm trying again tonight, to make sure it wasn't just a fluke. It's only 10:20 now, so I can't say yet, but I'll post a quick update in the AM.

One final note...I've won an award for this blog! Did ya notice the new bling in the right-hand nav? I'd always hoped to win a Tony Award, but y'know...this'll do!

I'd like to thank HealthCentral for this honor, my loyal readers, Google - for the free blogging platform, my stunningly smart co-workers, and of course, my wonderful children...(OK, I'll stop now).

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adopt the Sky

Check this out: - it's a petition to raise ozone level standards. Great cause, cool site.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not Asthma Related -- New Autism/Fragile X Research

As many of you know, one of my guys, in addition to being asthmatic, also has Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's is on the autistic spectrum, but considered a form of "high functioning" autism. Like his asthma, the origin of this condition is unknown...we plan to test for Fragile X syndrome, which will determine if it's genetic. But it could have been caused by a vaccine, or by some other factor. (I try not to harp on this aspect of things too much.)

So research on Autistic Spectrum Disorders is as interesting to me as asthma research. Today's news was particularly fascinating, as researchers at MIT seem to be having success in treating lab rats with Autsim and Fragile-X related retardation with a particular enzyme.

Here's a snippet:

In a series of experiments on mice, the MIT investigators showed that they could undo the brain damage seen in a condition called Fragile X syndrome by inhibiting a key brain chemical called PAK....

The study raises the intriguing possibility that the brain damage seen in children with the condition can be rolled back and identifies a specific target for potential drug therapies.

"It opens up a new avenue for drug research to treat this condition," said Susumu Tonegawa, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and lead author of the paper.

Read the full article.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Antibiotic Use Linked to Peds Asthma

Just when I thought I was running out of things to be angry about.,..

From the IHT:

The use of antibiotics in the first year of life is associated with an increased risk for asthma at age 7, a new study has found, and the reason may be that antibiotics destroy not only disease-causing microbes, but also those that are helpful to the developing immune system.

Antibiotic use had a greater impact on children who would otherwise be considered at lower risk — children who lived in rural areas and those whose mothers did not have asthma — than on those who were already at increased risk because of an urban environment or genetic predisposition.

More here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Swimming Bad for Infants' Lungs?

Just saw this article in the ALA Weekly Breather, which I rarely get to read anymore. It's so good, though -- I highly recommend that newsletter to all parents of asthmatic kids.

Anyway, here's the article. Have to say I'm not a big fan of teaching anyone younger than 3 to swim -- no one that unstable walking should be near a pool without a vigilant grownup nearby anyway!!

Infant Swimming: Chlorine Lung Risk?...WebMD Medical News reported on June 4, 2007 that infant swimming lessons may lead to problems with children's lung development and possibly make asthma more likely, a new study suggests. The researchers included Alfred Bernard, PhD, of the public health department at Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium. They studied 341 Belgian schoolchildren who were about 11 years old, on average. The children provided blood samples and had their lung health tested. Bernard's team noted that 43 of the children had taken infant swimming lessons in indoor pools. The researchers also noted other lung health hazards, including maternal smoking during pregnancy and exposure to secondhand smoke. The lungs of children who had had infant swimming lessons appeared to be predisposed to developing asthma and recurrent bronchitis, according to the study, which appears in Pediatrics.

For the full article: click here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Staying on Singulair

I think I've got three kids with sinus infections right now. B has been sniffling and coughing (goopy cough - not dry and/or tight) since he came off his Flovent three weeks ago. We were going to take him off the Singulair this summer, but I would say, with these symptoms...not bloody likely.

Also, I can't even TREAT the infection yet because he's still on Erythromycin (sp?) for the perioral dermatitis (rash) that he developed from the Flovent. We'll need to start Augmentin as soon as he's done with that three week course. Guess I'll be putting him on acidopholus then, too!!

Poor guy. I can barely treat the symptoms. He can't take Dimetapp because it knocks him out too much. And since he's such a heavy sleeper already, if I give it to him at bedtime, he will occasionally wet the bed -- which makes him sooooo sad.

I tried Claritin syrup, but it doesn't really help. Maybe we'll give Sudafed another shot. He's so low-energy anyway, might perk him up a bit. (Ah, I love jokes about drugging the kids.)

Meanwhile, Ig's on albuterol for a croupy-sounding cough, and Oz is just picking his nose a lot. :-)

Never a dull moment.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

That was my 200th post.

Should I pop open the champagne?

Ig is sick AGAIN

Can you even believe this? Every two weeks this kid has something!! There's roseola going around boss must LOVE me. :-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Two Off Flovent (Yea!); One on Orapred (Awwww!)

Good news: We went to the PP last Thursday and B and Ig are both of Flovent for the summer! In fact, B can even go off Singulair for the first time starting next month.

Bad news: B started developing Perioral Dermatitis again within a day of going off the steroids. Poor guy. I'm actually on hold with the dermatologist now. B is sooo bummed that the rash is back. He looks awful, and he knows it. So sad for a 5 year old to go through this!

More bad news: Not only is Oz still on the Flovent, he's on oral steroids right now, too. Saturday night, he had one of the worst attacks ever - it took two back-to-back nebs to quiet him down that afternoon. And three back-to-back to stop the coughing over night.

He's much better today, but still looking unwell and not eating. We're off the the PP in an hour.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Two on Albuterol

Quick update -- Ig has another ear infection, and I suspect he may have brochiolitis too. He's mouth-breathing and it sounds a little labored. He's happy, though. At least, he's happy til 4:00 AM.

Ozzy's just been off. Coughing since last week, lots of green goo, and yesterday, he complained that his chest hurt. That is, he said his tummy hurt, but he pointed to his chest.

Both are on albuterol. I'm tapering Oz down, since we seem to have gotten ahead of his flare. Ig's only 16 months old, though, so I'm taking him to the doctor in the AM. (Regular peds -- we see the pulmonologist on Thursday afternoon.)

Keep ya posted.

Monday, April 30, 2007

All Quiet on the Pulmonary Front

Just checking in -- it's been quiet around here, thankfully. Apart from Iggy occasionally retracting and Oz's occasional AM grunts, there's really nothing to report. Isn't that nice?

Hope all is peaceful in your worlds, too.

I have to schedule a checkup for the monkeys with the PP before summer. Here's my prediction:

B: Off everything but Singulair - and maybe even that - for the summer
Oz: Down to Flovent 44 for the summer
Ig: Stays on Flovent 44 for the summer

I'll keep you posted.

Of course, I'm not completely off the hook. We just found out that Oz has astigmatism in both eyes, Ig is spiking fevers today, and B's just been a little off lately - possibly related to the Asperger's. But at least they're all breathing well!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Poor Ig! Another ear infection, pinkeye AND wheezing!

Post title says it all, right? The kids 15 months old and he's on his NINTH ear infection. The tubes seem to be working -- I can see all kinds of yellow goo in his ear. Blecch.

I have a feeling there's more to this. (Genius that I am.) I mean, let's see - it's his ninth ear infection and he's already GOT tubes, he's running a low-grade fever more often than not, he's got a goopy nose and he's retracting fairly regularly.

Who wants to bet a case he needs his adenoids out before...let's say...Halloween?

Really, I just want to figure out what's wrong with this kid. Between the pain he's clearly in and the amount of days I have to work from home and take care of him, we really need to get some answers.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ear Tubes, All of a Sudden

Quickly, because there's a baby screaming down the hall --

Finally took Ig to the ENT on Wednesday. We had to wait over a month for the appointment. He's had 8 infections since October, including one that resulted in a perforated eardrum. Never mind that he's rarely slept an entire night since birth, instead waking up halfway through and screaming for up to two hours. (Sure, let him "cry it out." HAH!)

So, the ENT said that Ig's ears are so badly infected, he'd like to do the tube surgery the following morning. (This during one of the busiest, hairiest week's I've had at work in a good, long time, I might add. But, priorities...)

The surgery is done on Thursday morning. We're at the surgical center at 6:45, we're home by 9:30. The baby is seranading me over waffles by 10.

And yet, he's still not sleeping. Even as I type this, he's screaming his head off. Are his ears still hurting, or have I just spoiled him, letting him sleep with me every time I knew he was in pain? (He'd literally KEEP crying for HOURS, and the big boys and I have to sleep, too.)

Anyone with advice on this, please post a comment! I need help!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Iggy's Mystery Illness

So, by now you may have noticed (if I've kept up-to-date with my posting, that is) that Iggy gets sick every two weeks. Every other Friday, I work from home because he's running a fever, coughing, has an ear infection, a stomach virus...something exciting like that.

This week's illness is just WEIRD. He has "the cough", but I only hear it a few times a day. Per the doctor, who - by the way - now thinks I'm completely neurotic, his ears are clear, his throat's only a little red, and his chest is clear. And he's negative for Strep. He's had little or no fever in the morning for the past few days, but he's gone up to 102+ at night. His diapers have been nothing short of repulsive -- but normal in number.

During the day, he's irritable and lethargic. My normally sweet, cuddly boy is grumpy and tantrum-prone. He's not eating well, he's not playing...he'd rather snuggle than toddle aorund, but after a while, he'll start crying and writhing -- then he won't let you put him down, or continue to hold him, or put him in his crib. Not without screaming.

So...knowing that there've been cases of mono and flu in the area, I'm wondering if either of these could be a possibility.

Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, experiences to share? I could definitely use some advice, and I don't feel like I have my pediatrician's attention right now.

BTW, we're in the NY Metro area, if that helps.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How much time do you spend at the Peds Pulomonologist?

D asked this question in a comment, and I realize that there's enough of an answer here to be a post -- AND a full conversation.

First off, I have to admit (in response to the first part of D's question) I love Denial. I spend a great deal of time there myself! I'm there right now, in fact. Went to the pediatrician instead of the PP today. (I suspect the pediatrician is slightly deaf because she said both little ones were moving air well. That despite tight coughs and Oz complaining that his chest hurt.)

So here's the thing with PPs...the amount of time you spend there is directly proportionate to the amount of time your child is sick. BUT - if you come up with the right combo of meds right away, you may only go a few times a year.

It also depends on how quickly you can be trained as an Asthma Mom. We have a unique skill set and toolbelt. You'll see.

My oldest monkey has not a file, a BINDER at our PPs office. When he first got sick, we were there constantly, and when we weren't there I was on the phone with either the PP or her nurse practioner.

But once we got the right balance of meds (Flovent 220, Singulair, Nasonex) and the right Asthma Action Plan, we were able to manage most illnesses with a phone consultation and called-in prescriptions.

At this point, I have the office on speed dial and a closet full of supplies (nebulizer, cups, tubes and masks for said nebulizer, albuterol, Xopenex, saline, giant bottles of Dimetapp...) Oz and Ig have regular files, and the nurses like me a lot better these days.

Hope this helps. You may want to join the Asthma-Parents email list and see if someone else lives near you and can recommend a good Pediatric Pulmonologist.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Fun: Your Monster Name (not asthma-related)

Yes, all my kids are coughing right now, but I thought I'd shelve that post for a bit, and bring some fun instead.

Check out my Monster Name!

Anthropologist-Injuring Monster from the Enchanted Earth

Get Your Monster Name

How much fun is that?

When to switch to a Peds Pulmonologist and other questions answered!

Got a great comment today with a lot of good questions...some of which I can actually answer!

I'd love to ask you some questions since I feel like I'm kind of a
beginner in this whole at what point do I take him to a
pulmonologist vs. the regular ped? When and how does he get officially diagnosed
with asthma? What about allergy testing--when is it recommended? I never feel
confident in deciding whether or not to do you decide? Stuff like

So here's answer #1 -- Take your child to the pulmonologist as soon as you suspect your child is asthmatic. Assuming you have insurance coverage and a pediatic pulmo nearby, GO. Many pediatricians -- even the fantastic ones -- miss the subtleties of peds. asthma. Go to a PP or an Asthma/Allergy specialist as soon as you every think you should.

Answer #2 -- Children often keep the "Reactive Airways" diagnosis until age 5. Asthma is a type of RAD, but doctors seem to be skittish about making the hard diagnosis. I'm not sure why. My PP diagnosed B with asthma at age 2, but other specialists still insist on referring to his condition as "Reactive Airways," even when I correct them. I mean, JEEZ, I think my pediatric pulmonologist may have been qualified to make the diagnosis.

Answer #3 -- With the allergy testing...our PP sent all three of my kids out for blood panels at their first appointments with her. Now that B is 5, he's going to an allergist for more in-depth testing. So it may be another "age 5" thing.

Answer #4 -- As far as nebbing, always call your doctor first...but we prefer to err on the side of caution. When in doubt, neb. At first sign of a cold, neb. Think you hear a wheeze? NEB.

See a pattern?

Bottom line...get a pediatric pulmonologist on your team. It all falls into place from there.

Hope this helps, Miss D!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Site for Asthma Parents

I referenced this before, but I think I wasn't so clear --

I started a MySpace for asthma parents... check it out and let me know what you think!

Click here to join Asthma Parents!About Asthma ParentsIf "nebulizer" is part of your every day vocabulary, you know the difference between an MDI and an HFA, and you have a pediatric pulmonologist on speed dial, we're with you.
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Article on Flu Shots for Asthma Kids

This article just caught my eye on Yahoo! Health. It's about how children with asthma should get flu shots, but very few do.

I have a number of thoughts on this, especially since I have an egg-allergic child on the autistic spectrum (the vaccines are grown in fertilized chicken eggs).

  • Thought #1: Perhaps if all flu shots were thimerosal-free, I wouldn't think twice about it. But thimerosal-free vaccines are only an option -- and not all insurance companies cover them.
  • Thought #2: Flu strains mutate over the course of a single season. The vaccines are selected on the assumption that the strains covered will be effective for that season. It's not always accurate. Even if you decide to vaccinate, you're not guaranteed a flu-free season.

Given the risks the flu poses to asthmatic kids, I'm pretty well pro-vaccine if you can go Mercury-free. Just know that it's not a perfect solution.

Now here's article:


ildren with asthma should get flu shots to protect them, but only 3 in 10 do, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

We were surprised at how low the number was," said Susan Brim of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead author of a study that looked at flu shot data from 2005.

The study represents the first national estimates on flu vaccination rates for asthmatic children.

Children with asthma, a chronic lung problem marked by wheezing, coughing and labored breathing, can die from flu complications, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. And they are at higher risk for those problems. Inactivated flu vaccine is recommended for asthmatic children older than six months.

The study's findings came from an analysis of a 2005 national survey of the parents of children ages 2 to 17. About 5,100 kids were represented in the data, and 557 of them had asthma.

Only 29 percent of the asthmatic children had gotten flu shots during the 2004-05 flu season. The lowest vaccination rates were among children ages 5 to 12 who had not had an asthma attack or episode in the previous year.

The survey came after a flu vaccine shortage that caused long waiting lines for shots. Brim said it's not clear what impact that had on the study results: Asthmatic children were prioritized for the scarce shots, so the shortage may not have hurt — and possibly might even have boosted — vaccination rates that year, she said.

The low rates may have to do with family's misperceptions about flu shots, said Dr. Gerald Teague, a pediatric pulmonary specialist at Emory University.

Many patients seem to mistakenly believe flu shots can trigger asthma attacks or flu symptoms, and it's important that doctors talk to families and address such concerns, Teague said.

"Influenza in a child or adult with asthma can be fatal," he said.

...Nothing like ending things on a positive note!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Asthma Parents on Ning

I started an Asthma Parents Group on Ning.

What's Ning? It's new social networking site where, essentially, you can start your own, focused version of "MySpace."

Here's the invite:

Come join me on Asthma Parents!

Click here to join Asthma Parents!

About Asthma Parents
If "nebulizer" is part of your every day vocabulary, you know the difference between an MDI and an HFA, and you have a pediatric pulmonologist on speed dial, we're with you.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ig at the Cardiologist

I've mentioned a few times that Ig has gone cyanotic on me -- from turning fully blue to just going blue around the lips. The pulmonologist thinks is probably just reflux triggering a bronchospasm, but she wanted us to see a cardiologist -- just in case.

So we went to the pediatric cardiologist this morning, nearlhy 2 months after getting the appointment. (Guess we're lucky to even have one nearby and under our insurance, right?)

Of course, Ig is sick again, and of COURSE he pooped right through his diaper the minute we were leaving...but beside the point...

The appointment was very long and very thorough, and at times, very unnerving. During the ultrasound, for example, the tech kept zooming in and taking more and more pictures of one area, and all I could think was, "Oh, no. She's found something."

Even worse, at one point, they took his sats and he was only 83. Normally, I would question that, but the cardiologist is actually in the same clinic as our PP and shares the same nurses, so I was fairly certain the nurse how to get a correct pulse-ox on my baby.

But actually, everything was FINE. Not only were his sats perfect, there wasn't really anything wrong with his heart at all. One wall *may* be a little thick, but apparently, that's nothing to worry about, and it may be "a normal variant" for Ig. But we'll check it again next year, just in case.

What a RELIEF.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Levalbuterol (Xopenex) No Better Than Albuterol, Says Public Citizen/

Hah! Guess they've never had to deal with kids on albuterol. (For the uninitiated, you may as well give them a twelve pack of Red Bull and a couple of Hersey bars....)

Levalbuterol Is No More Effective Than Older, Cheaper Asthma Drugs and Should Not Be Used, Public Citizen Advises on
“Worst Pills, Best Pills” Subscribers Receive Life-Saving Warnings About Dangerous Drugs Before They Are Removed From the Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Levalbuterol HFA (Xopenex HFA) inhalers are no more effective than older, less expensive drugs used to treat asthma and other diseases and should not be used by consumers, Public Citizen writes in a new February posting on its Web site. The consumer advocacy organization cited information published in the March 2006 issue of Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics.

In 2005, Americans filled more than 2.2 million prescriptions for levalbuterol at a cost of more than $293 million. Marketed by Sepracor Inc., levalbuterol has the same atomic components as the asthma drug albuterol, which has been on the market longer and costs less. The difference is that, while albuterol has both of the two mirror images of the molecule, levalbuterol has only one. Levalbuterol is available in two forms, Xenopex [SIC]HFA, a pocket-sized inhaler approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2005, and Xenopex, a liquid drug approved in 1999 that is converted to a fine mist when passed through a device called a nebulizer. Levalbuterol is short-acting and is used to relieve symptoms experienced during an asthma attack. In 1999, Public Citizen placed levalbuterol on its “Do Not Use” list of drugs because there was – and still is not – any compelling evidence that levalbuterol is safer or more effective than albuterol.

“Creating a drug that is nearly identical in nature to a drug that is already in existence and then marketing it as a ‘new’ or ‘breakthrough’ drug is a strategy that neither helps consumers nor produces better drugs,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “In marketing levalbuterol as such, the manufacturer is manipulating patients into unnecessarily paying hefty prices.”...

Again, I say the value of Xopenex is not the effectiveness of the drug -- we know it's equal to the cheaper, generic albuterol in that way. But the side effects...where albuterol has the kids bouncing off the walls (especially lovely if they're already on oral steroids) levalbuterol yields negligible negative effects.

To be able to give your asthmatic child a neb at 2:00 AM and know that they'll actually be able to sleep after that is worth the higher copay.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Asthma - Not a disease, a collection of symptoms

Just found this article on NewsTarget, which seems to be an aggregator of highly biased, self-serving news with a decidedly non-medical bent. But this one may have some merit. Here's a pretty comprehensive excerpt:

(NewsTarget) The medical journal The Lancet is appealing to the medical
community to stop using the term "asthma" as it misleads people to believe it is
a disease rather than a group of symptoms with various origins and

Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulties,
and it is generally accepted that attacks are brought on by inflamed airways,
but the actual spark for the inflammation is not known, nor is the reason why
some people contract asthma while others do not.

"Perhaps asthma as
a symptom is really only the clinical manifestation of several distinct
diseases," said The
article. "Rather than confusing scientists, doctors and patients even
further, is it not time to step out of the straight jacket of a seemingly
unifying name that has outlived its usefulness?"

The article went on to explain that asthma can have a multitude of
triggers, symptoms and treatments, providing more evidence that it is
inappropriate to label it as a single disease.
"The Lancet article raises
some interesting points; asthma is indeed a complex ailment," said Dr. Andrew
Miller, a spokesman for the British Lung Foundation. "But whether this is a good
enough reason to abandon a useful name which encompasses a range of symptoms
treated in a similar way is not yet clear."

...Currently, experts claim that approximately 300 million people have
asthma worldwide -- a number expected to reach 400 million by 2025. One in 250
deaths is caused by it, and children with allergies are more likely to
develop the condition. The Lancet noted that there has been an increase in
childhood allergies across the globe.

"Until the 19th century fever was regarded as a disease and maybe in
20, 30 or 50 years' time we will look back at asthma in the same way," said the

Ig has Croup - allegedly

Saw the peds today -- Ig was up last night coughing so badly, B and I were both freaking out a little. We finally woke him up at around midnight to give him a neb of Xopenex.

This morning I brought him in. It's Saturday, and we were probably among the last patients on what seemed like a very busy day, so she did seem like she was rushing a bit. And I'll confess upfront (and I've said this MANY times before on this blog) while I love my peds, I don't trust them when it comes to determining the clarity of my kids' lungs during the infant/toddler years.

Anyway, she listened to my concerns (low-grade fever, cough, ear pain, etc.), and checked the baby out. She said his ear looked better, so she thought the Omnicef was working -- but based on what I told her, she suspected croup. Now, she didn't hear him cough. And - shocker - she said his chest sounded good.

She wants me to keep up the nebs, and she gave me a box of Pulmicort. I reminded her that he was on Flovent already (fair enough, the pulmo prescribed that), and she said we might want to replace the Flovent with the Pulmicort for now.

Ummm...will one Respule be the same as his regular dose of Flovent 110? She didn't say... I'll cut her some slack. Just this once. I'm a frequent flyer, and she was in a hurry.

She did point out that he'd been in for an ear infection once monthly for the last five months, and that we should follow up with the ENT.

Great. So in the next month, Ig will be visiting the Pediatric Pulmonologist, a Pediatric Cardiologist, and a Pediatric Otolaryngologist. Thank God for health insurance.

Friday, February 16, 2007

No Flu (I don't think) and Iggy's Ear

So, I'm feeling a lot better today, and while I haven't taken my temperature since I woke up, I don't think I have a fever. So...phew.

Ig, on the other hand...not so good. I took him to the peds for his millionth ear infection on Tuesday and we started him on Omnicef. The deal was, if the Omnicef didn't work, we'd have to talk to an ENT about treatment. (read: TUBES)

So we're on the fourth day of treatment, and I've finally brought him back to daycare, and they call me less than two hours after dropoff to tell me that he's running 100.5. Yes, that's a low-grade fever, but four days into an broad-spectrum antibiotic, should there be ANY fever? I think not.

He's also had two rough nights in a row. Wednesday he was up screaming bloody murder every two hours. Last night, he was up at about 1:00 screaming. I gave him some Dimetapp (mostly because he was coughing -- and I couldn't remember when I'd given him Motrin) and a cup of water -- which he sucked back like he hadn't seen fluids in a year.

Both nights were better than Tuesday when he spiked up to 104.9.

Spoke to the peds today, and they said that the antibiotic could take another day or two to kick in (yeah, right...) but that if he had another rough night, they'd see him tomorrow morning.

Ah, nothing like the pediatrician's office on a Saturday!

(Did I mention the hideous cough, by the way? We'll be talking about that with the doc, too. I've been giving him albuterol twice a day.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Do I have the flu?

Ugh -- Ig's just getting over his 3 millionth ear infection, Ozzy's coughing his head off in bed, and I think I've got the flu.

I've just got that achey feeling in my back and the chills right now -- along with a goopy throat and slight cough. My temp is a little over 99.

Here's how I know I'm the mother of asthmatic children: I'm relatively unphased by the fact that I'll be sick through the holiday weekend. I'm FAR more concerned that I may have already exposed my three asthmatic kids to the flu.

(Oh, for a plastic bubble!)

I'm a super-affectionate parent, so I've been all over the kids all week, just like always.

Please, please...just let this be a little cold. Or some freaky thing that only grown-ups can get!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Long overdue update - asthma attacks, RSV, cyanosis and more fun!

Wow -- I can't believe how long it's been since my last post! Rather than blather on, I'm going to cut to the chase and just bullet out what's been going on:

  • B - #1 son has been doing great! He's still on Singulair and Flovent 44, but he's had a GREAT winter so far. He had one asthma attack, just last Sunday - stupidly, we let him sleep in his room the night after we'd painted. But honestly, I'd have to check the blog to see when his last flare up was prior to that.
  • Oz - it hasn't been as rosy for this guy. Ozzy developed a nasty case of RSV on 12/15. When I took him to the doctor on 12/18, I asked if he was wheezing, and she said no -- because he couldn't even get a deep enough breath to wheeze. We went for a chest Xray and an RSV test, and we ended up doing nebs every three hours for TEN DAYS. It was rough -- and honestly, he didn't have his color back until about two weeks ago. And now he's coughing again. He's currently on Flovent 110.
  • Ig - Also coughing again. He had mild RSV at the same time Oz had it. At around that time, he started going cyanotic. His lips go blue nearly every morning, and we're not sure why. We're going to the cardiologist next month. He's also on Flovent 110.
  • Me -- Finally taking off the baby weight! Or inches, anyway. Somehow, I've found the time to join Curves (30 minutes x 3 times per week is about all I can manage with a family and full-time job!) I've lost 2 inches off my waist since December -- If I can lose 10 lb. and another 3-5 inches of Iggy weight, I'll be happy!

More soon ... I wont' have this long a lapse again!