Monday, June 20, 2011

For The Sake of My Child; Kayla's Story

Let me just start by saying that this post isn't a about judging others or trying to tell someone else how to live their life.  Everyone is entitled to their rights and allowed to make their own decisions.  This isn't about what someone should be allowed to do, it's about what I am hoping that someone would choose to do.  Please take the time to read this it could save the life of a child.

Three of my children have Asthma, which makes it impossible for us to go anywhere without our little black bag.  This respiratory condition is rapidly becoming more common in children and unfortunately our situation is not rare or uncommon, we are just 3 of 300 million and 
this is  Our Story....

I have come to realize that every family has their very own "normal".... our "normal" is a little black bag.  Nothing really special in fact it was given to me by the hospital as a free gift when I had one of my children.  This black bag is a life source to my children because it is full of the medication that is necessary to save their lives.

The week before a recent beach trip my children began having Asthma attacks associated with allergies.  I made sure to have extra medication on hand... I have learned from experience that things can turn bad very quickly with Asthma.  

My 6 year old daughter has the most severe case of all my children and it wasn't long into the trip when I realized this was going to be a difficult week for her.  With Asthma treatment there is a step process that you follow, continually building on medications.  If one step isn't controlling the episodes then you move on to the next one, when you are out of steps you head to the hospital.  With only a couple of days left in our vacation I had gone through all of the steps and was fearing the dreaded trip to the ER.  The night before we headed home my sweet little girl went into an attack that I didn't think I would be able to bring her out of... it was violent and scary and hard to watch.

In the midst of her discomfort she looked at me with eyes full of broken blood vessels and said in a strained little voice, "Mama let's ask God to help me."  At this point I had already accepted our fate and had my sister looking for the closest hospital, however I was more than willing to oblige her request.  Things dramatically changed fifteen minutes later, the violent coughs that shook her little body had stopped and she began to breath in normal breaths, she even fell into a peaceful sleep.  We give God all of the glory for her quick and very uncharacteristic recovery.

The unfortunate part about all of this is that it never had to be this bad.  My daughter's severe attacks were the direct result of exposer to cigarette smoke.  This exposure didn't come from anyone in my family or even anyone that I knew, it was from complete unaware strangers.  The entire day prior to this attack my daughter was continuously exposed to harmful smoke despite all efforts made to keep her far from cigarettes.

While on the beach people would come near her smoking, every attempt to move her only ended with a new exposer. We tried to dine out that evening but SC does not have a ban on smoking in restaurants, so once again we were surrounded by smoke.  Later that evening we went to the family amusement park on the beach, the kids had looked forward to this trip all week.  It didn't take long until we realized that we were going to have to change our plans, everywhere we turned there was someone holding a flaming cigarette.  We desperately tried to protect her from the dangerous fumes but we were forced to leave.

The places that I took my children were not adult atmospheres, these were places designed for children and families, places that I thought would be safe for my little ones.  But for a child with severe Asthma these places quickly became life threating.  The travesty is that children with Asthma aren't able to be free to play and be involved in the things that other children least not when cigarettes are present.

I am simply pleading with you on behalf of ALL children. The truth is that anyone with a compromised respiratory systems can easily slip into respiratory distress when exposed to smoke. 

My point is not to condemn, but to create awareness.  Please, treat smoking like any other chemical and use it responsibly, please choose to protect those innocent lives around you

 If you are going to smoke then please make sure that you are not in an environment intended for children.  When you choose to smoke around children especially those with 
respiratory conditions you are risking their lives.

Here is what Asthma looks like from a medication stand point!  This is what my children had to endure in order to breath.

Our Beach Week Medication List:
39 breathing treatment (steroid and rescue meds.)
3 rescue inhalers
1 steroid
2 antibiotics
4 antihistamines

Places we were forced to take detours from:
The Grocery store entrance
The Beach
The Children's rides at the Pavilion
Put-Put Golf

Please choose to make these types of places safe for all children!

To learn more information and statistics about Asthma go to:
"Tobacco smoke. Today most people are aware that smoking can lead to cancer and heart disease. What you may not be aware of, though, is that smoking is also a risk factor for asthma in children and a common trigger of asthma for all ages.
It may seem obvious that people with asthma should not smoke, but they should also avoid the smoke from others' cigarettes. This "secondhand" smoke, or "passive smoking," can trigger asthma symptoms in people with the disease. Studies have shown a clear link between secondhand smoke and asthma in young people. Passive smoking worsens asthma in children and teens and may cause up to 26,000 new cases of asthma each year."

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