Point 1: Oliver's learning to communicate with short sentences - "I do it," "I get," "I drink." Or possession: "my ball," "my milk," "my blankie." (Of course, his pronunciation is still a work in progress, so most of these words sound remarkably similar to anyone but us.) And he mimics me and R all the time. I sat down cross-legged last night (what we used to call Indian style) and he tried to fold up his legs so he could sit like daddy. He drinks water during meals when we drink water. He takes every opportunity to do what mommy and daddy are doing, and takes no small amount of pride in it.
Point 2: He also is fighting a nasty cold that's crept into his lungs. The doctor listened to him breathing on Monday and heard some wheezing. He suggested that it might be an early indicator of asthma. As you can imagine, I freaked out.
Point 3: I have asthma. I've had it most of my life. My father tells me that they found me gasping for air at least once, face blue from the effort, when I was young. When I was older, in grammar school,I remember catching colds and laying in bed, listening to myself wheeze. Wheezing myself to sleep.
I wasn't diagnosed until my mid-20s. I had resigned myself long ago to just having bad lungs, and it was a relief to find out there was medication that could help me through the worse patches. But it's controlled, not gone. I still wheeze when I get sick, as I did last week. On Saturday and Sunday, I was wheezing loud enough to keep myself awake, and I was gasping for air all day. I was taking shots from my albuterol inhaler, along with draining the steroid inhaler that the doctor had given me for emergencies.
So Monday I went to see my doctor. He decided to treat me for bronchitis, even though it's difficult to diagnose in someone with my conditions. He prescribed Advair, which is another steroid inhaler, and azithromycin to kill the infection that was creeping into my lungs.
Meanwhile, Oliver was gasping for air himself and waking himself up with coughing spasms in the middle of the night. He was worrying us enough to take him to the doctor on Tuesday morning, where the doctor heard the wheezing in his tiny lungs. He also discovered an ear infection. He diagnosed liquid albuterol and azithromycin for the infection. So we have father-and-son courses of antibiotics.
We've kept him home from daycare for the past couple of days, and R and I have been switching off to watch him. One of us goes to work in the morning while the other stays home, and then we switch off in the afternoon. I was home with him on Tuesday afternoon, and I had a small coughing fit. As with everything, I talked about it with Oliver. I told him I was sick and that I had a cough that made my lungs hurt.
A light of recognition went off in his eyes. He pointed to himself. "I cough!"
Yes, I explained, he did cough. But it wasn't good that he was coughing - he was sick like daddy. And we both needed to get better so he didn't cough anymore. I didn't tell him that he wheezed like daddy, too. I haven't heard it for myself, and I don't want him to share this particular trait with daddy.
Later that night we were reading one of his (million-and-fifty) board books. A little gosling gets upset in the book and sheds a tear, and I pointed it out to Oliver. "Look, Ollie, he's crying because he's so sad."
Oliver pointed to himself again, that same light in his eyes. "I cry!"
Yes, kid, you do cry. You cry when you cough. You've been crying a lot in the last few days because you've been so sick. No more crying, okay? No more coughing. No more sick. There's some things that your daddy doesn't want to share with you, and asthma is high on that list.