Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coughing choruses fade for food allergy walk

Coughing, sniffing, sneezing, nose blowing and the hum of the nebulizer have been working together to create the soundtrack in my germ-filled house since the end of August. Bronchitis, sinus infections and walking pneumonia have been the source of those cough-filled choruses. With at least one person sick in my house for the past month and a half, I was happy for a change in tune today when we participated in the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) Walk for Food Allergy.

We are proud to walk each year in this fun event that gives my son Joseph a chance to see lots of other kids like him who navigate food allergies each day, and know what it's like to sometimes feel scared, sad and excluded because of a medical condition that he can't control. The walk also raises money for research that could someday find a cure. Joseph also has asthma, which studies have shown increase his risk for a severe allergic reaction.

It is that asthma that has made me listening for one sound during the past several weeks that is music to my ears — steady breathing. Anytime Joseph gets a respiratory illness, whether it's just a cold with congestion or a deep cough, I am on high alert to make sure his asthma is not flaring beyond control.

I've spent more nights than I can count during his 10 years staying awake to check on his breathing. Many times he's needed a breathing treatment and there have been several trips to the emergency room or urgent care when the home nebulizer treatment wasn't enough. Thankfully, during his latest sinus infection and cough, followed by another cold, his asthma has been manageable. I still kept my vigil and he's needed some breathing treatments via the nebulizer, but so far his lungs are cooperating. That doesn't change the height of awareness, but it helps me breathe easier.

Unfortunately for him, all of this sickness started just when Joseph was getting back into the swing of things on the tennis court after being sidelined for more than a month with three broken fingers. Two months ago, my son was diving for a ball during a friendly tennis match and he landed on his hand with his fingers still wrapped around the racquet. His injured hand and then sickness took him away from his favorite place. The tennis court is where he feels happy and confident, unencumbered by any of the things that worry him.

Joseph has gained an extra appreciation for his time on the tennis court. He is glad that his asthma does not hamper his ability to play his favorite sport. Sure, he might miss a practice when the air quality is especially bad or if his asthma is already flaring. But exercising does not trigger his asthma, and for that I am grateful.

I was so glad to see him smiling on the tennis court again last weekend before his new cold arrived. In fact, I had almost thought we had conquered the germs except for a slight cough in my daughter, Pamela. We took advantage of a few somewhat healthy days to go to the pumpkin patch, play tennis and see a movie. However, after Pamela's cough worsened and a fever blossomed, we were back at the doctor. This time with a diagnosis of walking pneumonia, or as Pamela calls it, walking "puponia".

Today, with Pamela on the mend with her illness no longer contagious and Joseph healed from his cold, we were happy to exercise during a walk around a beautiful lake in our area.

I'm happy that the sound of feet walking with a purpose replaced the germy soundtrack of my house for a couple of hours as we walked to say "FAREwell to food allergies."

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