By now, shouldn't I be over this whole "making it up as I go along" approach?

Who do YOU think I'm trying to convince here?

Ok, so last week when I picked the boys up from Monday school I noticed that Max’s breathing was a tad tight. (Self-justification effort, the first: I NOTICED! It was SUBTLE, but I NOTICED!) Max has asthma, but not so’s you could tell, most of the time. We keep a “rescue” inhaler around, but he only needs it once every few months or so, which means he doesn’t really require more intensive meds. Occasionally he’ll wander in from playing, wheezing a tad. It’s so subtle that I have to shush everyone and put my ear right next to his chest to hear it. When I do, I send him off to use the inhaler, tra-la-la, and all is well. For some kids asthma can be life-threatening. For Max, it’s always been a slight nuisance, nothing more.

The tightness in his chest that I heard last week was sub-wheezing, but STILL, I NOTICED.

“Max,” I said, “have you been wheezing today?”

“Yup. At P.E. It always happens.”

“Well, we’ll have to bring your inhaler next week, in case you need it during P.E.”

Wasn’t that A Good Idea?

Wouldn’t that have been A Grand Thing To Do?

I thought so too. I even thought so this morning, right up until I sailed out of the house with:

- One (1) dozen (12) cupcakes for a Valentine’s party.

- Eighteen (18) Star Wars Valentine’s cards, labeled and divided between Tre and Max, in bags with their names written upon them in holiday-themed red ink.

- Fourteen (14) Superman Valentine’s cards, filled out by me and Clay, after the cupcakes were done, in the wee hours, on behalf of Raphael, in a bag with his name written upon it in aforementioned red ink.

- One (1) more bag, containing a well-balanced lunch for Max, who is a freak of a child and does not like pizza.

- Yet one (1) more bag, containing a Neopet, that Raphael was taking for Tell and Show, to represent the letter N.

- And yet zero (0) inhalers.

(Long, boringly detailed list of the things I had to remember this morning – effort, the second.)

I flung the children at their state-approved educators for the day and sailed out into my Monday, trilling happy songs.

I came back in the afternoon, an hour before school ended, for Raphael’s class V-day party. I walked through the halls, humming to myself, happy with the day, not a care in the world. As I made my way to the kindergarten room, whom should I see, sitting on the floor under the water fountain?


My Max!

Gasping for air!

“Um…honey?” I peered down at him. He wheezed and gave me a half-hearted smile. I crouched down next to him and observed. Each breath came so hard that the hollow at the base of his throat sucked in. He raised his shoulders, fighting to free up room for air. “Max, are you ok?”

“Oh, sure,” he gasped.

“You sure are wheezing a lot,” I said stupidly.

“Oh, it always happens in P.E.,” he said…well, not airily, to be sure. But without concern.

“Good lord, honey. Did you tell Ms. Bess?”

“Well, I told her I needed to go get some water.”

“GO tell Ms. Bess.”

I was stumped. I didn’t have his inhaler, it was a half hour drive away, and I didn’t know what to do. I thought if he went back into class…I don’t know…SHE would know what to do.

I suck.

(Undoing of all the previous efforts to redeem myself, noted.)

I went on to Raphael’s party, and sat with a furrowed brow.

However, not furrowed enough, because later, as I made my way through the hall to do a small errand for Ms. Sue, I peeked into Max’s P.E. class to see him.

To see him racing around.

Racing around and still fighting for air.

I did what any loving parent would do – I throttled him.

See? Asthma can be life-threatening.

(And NO, I did not actually throttle him. What I did was hurry home, skipping several errands, to get him to his inhaler. By the time we GOT there, he was breathing just fine, thankyouverymuch, running around and laughing his trademark thunder-roll of laughter. I, on the other hand, sat around, invisioning lung scarring. Lovely way to spend an afternoon. And you'd damn well better believe the child will have his inhaler next Monday.)



I've had asthma all my life, but spent the majority of my childhood not connecting symptoms with a need to actually take my medication. If you can get the concept across to him (or maybe a teacher?) have him take the inhaler 15-30 minutes before PE - it should prevent the wheezing.

Dick Butkis

I'm ignoring the asthma part of this story and laughing at the list of things you brought. I only had 3 things to bring on Monday and I thought I was going to lose it. How do the school people function with having to remember to bring all their stuff to school everyday? And then, throw in a holiday or a contest or something and it seems like insanity. No wonder people aren't in their right minds these days.


I agree with DB. But then, sometimes I think if you had to do gather up a trunkload of stuff every single day, maybe you'd get better at it. Or not...thinking back on when my daughter went to everyday school. I forgot her school supplies the very first day of kindergarten. You just can't blame a 5 year old for that. It didn't get much better the rest of the year. They moan and groan about having to carry so much stuff in the morning, but sure enough, if they don't have it, they're going to need it and you're going to be making another trip.

And it goes to show too, that the teacher can't always be up on everything if the student doesn't actually tell her he can't breathe.


I don't know a ton about asthma, but only that my hubs has it and it's "exercise induced" so he uses his inhaler BEFORE he plays basketball and sometimes he stops once during to puff it again. He says he struggles to breathe the first 20 minutes and then he's fine. Your boy seems so nonchalant about it! I hate that feeling of being air-deprived...

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