Note: Make sure you see all the riveting articles in the pipeline; at the end of this one!
When Allergies Attack…
Every so often throughout the year Ryan will have bouts of coughing fits. I notice it happens in the spring and early autumn. I’m certain it must be allergies because they sound exactly as when he was affected by Christmas Poinsettia a few years ago. At the time I was devastated that I had no clue that these holiday flowers could cause this type of respiratory reaction (apparently, few people do even though it is well documented), but once I figured it out I had a solid reference for future determination.
Ryan neither complained nor presented symptoms of allergies while he grew up. With all the days he spent outdoor on the ballfields he never brought it up. That’s not to say he didn’t have them, but he would have been better at managing his secretions. Chances are, they went unnoticed. There’s also the slim possibility that these were introduced to him during one of the blood transfusions. No matter, I suppose. Because now he’s coping with it. Beyond this, without the benefit of drinking liquids and the drying of his throat while using oxygen as part of his hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) chamber, I can only think it creates an ideal environment to exacerbate it.
I can tell he has that annoying “tickle” in his throat. You know the one I’m talking about… that sensation that is hard to quiet. Sometimes he coughs to the point of gagging. Like most people, it’s worse when he is in bed for the night, even though we never put his head below thirty-degrees. It’s actually happening as it write this at 2:30 in the morning (although I’ll schedule the post to publish mid-morning), but not badly enough to get him out of bed like two nights ago. My plan is to start his day a bit earlier like yesterday, probably five o’clock.
A Brief Tangent…
It’s lining up as another sleepless night for me, although I did doze for an hour. It’s weird in that it makes me miss the all-nighters on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. The again, I could sleep the next day (long enough so I wouldn’t miss the next night’s fun). That, and the distinct absence of uninhibited women flashing their hooters for those colorful, plastic fifty-cent beads. Eh, mere technicalities… I suppose.
There it is in all it’s glory. My self-inflicted heapin’ helpin’ of sarcasm for the day, that is. “C’mon,” I tell myself, ” just get real!” It strikes me that that’s a different life in a past time. I’m not that person anymore, and that person is not me. We are like good friends who learned from each other’s successes and mistakes, but have since drifted apart. We don’t even think the same way anymore. To look at myself from just four years ago really does feel like flipping through a yearbook; where the color has faded from the photographs.
I doubt I’d even recognize that person any more.
BFF 4Ever, my ass!
Anyhow, back to the coughing and what I do about it…
The solution is usually simple… get him as upright as possible in his chair. Then, immediately suction out the mucus he coughs up. It usually works within ten minutes or so. Still, there are times when it can take hours.
Despite how annoying it must be for him, I love that he tries — and sometimes succeeds at — clearing his throat. Many times I know that this is his body involuntarily reacting (moaning from the diaphragm), but there are other times when I could swear he is fully forcing it on his own. It just sounds differently… it’s higher up in the throat. It’s quicker. It’s not a moan as much as a couple of short, quick burst… ending with a distinctly more powerful one.
Try clearing you throat on yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
See?This latest episode began overnight on Sunday. I know he Ryan will get past this in a week or so, when whatever is floating around outside runs it course. He always has, anyhow. Until then I am keeping him inside and batten down the hatches. Oh, how I hate not taking him out on the wonderful patio and new deck to soak in the sights and sounds of the outdoors!
Meanwhile, we do the following in addition to measures we take as a matter of routine:
- Keep the stand-alone air filter units cranked to maximum.
- Sweep and mop the floors every day (instead of twice a week).
- Sometimes pop an extra Allegra into his feeding (this is tricky since it leads to his throat being even drier).
- Keep the central furnace/AC fan constantly running and filtering the indoor air (with a filter — Filtrete 2400 — so effective that I can only find it online most of the time). I normally replace that filter every month, but during these times I pull it out weekly and vacuum it.
- Wipe down the dogs when I bring them in from going to the bathroom. Sue will wash the dogs weekly (they take it well).
- Increase Ryan’s water intake (via G-Tube) to thin secretions.
- Nebulizer Treatments with Saline twice daily to moisturize the throat and loosen secretion (instead of “as needed”).
- Give chest/back percussion therapy four times daily (instead of twice).
- Swab ointment into Ryan’s nostrils twice daily (instead of once).
- Spray mouth moisturizer each hour (instead of every 2 – 4 hours).
- We even have house plants that people dropped off that “scrub the air” of allergens.
Simply put, we do everything we learned and follow the advice of others. Which reminds me, is there more that I can do that you know might work? Am I missing something?
If none of these does the trick then we’ll put a surgical mask over his nose and mouth. That’s a last resort because Ryan clearly doesn’t like wearing one. He moves his mouth around until he can work it off. It’s great to watch him do this. Again, I can only hope he is consciously doing this.
This is also the month that Ryan (and our entire family) will get the annual flu shot.
Update 3:30 AM: Ryan continues to cough on-and-off. He just had a bout that actually made him sit up halfway with each cough. My plan is to either: 1) let him stay in bed if the coughing subsides in the next thirty minutes, or 2) get him up at four o’clock if he is unable to stop.
Update 4:00 AM: Looks like an early jump on the day. I’m heading in to get Ryan dressed, up, and rolling. I’ll make sure he gets some extra quiet time later in the day.
~ IN THE PIPELINE ~
I have several interesting post topics that are upcoming (in no particular order):
- Convicted, violent felon (Austin Vantrease) has a family member who made a big deal out of a single, off-the-wall deposition. Turns out,
allmost will agree this was not a smart move! Before long “you’ll know the rest of the story”, and so will the family. I remained quiet on this until the time was right. Ah… it’s right.
- The Spa Lift to get Ryan in the hot tub is almost ready to be ordered. The solution (although slightly more expensive) is innovative and much more functional.
- The nationally recognized (in Oprah’s “O Magazine”) Mega-Yardsale for Ryan is in jeopardy for future events; none to be held this year.
- Photographs of Ryan’s new deck, built through the generosity and craftsmanship of Blue Moon Construction (see their ad in the right sidebar), will be made available.
- Support plummets with the incorrect media reports that I accepted a settlement in the civil case against Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May. I adamantly opposed it! I continue to hold the attacker’s fully responsible for the $20-plus million in harm, although the Court resolved the case — absent my consent! — for pennies on the dollar; then the lawyers took their cut. Yes, pennies! Not quarters. Not dimes. Not even a nickel! You think that can’t happen? I’ll tell you how it did and nothing — nary a red cent — came from the criminal’s pockets.
- With the Civil Lawsuit (essentially) over-and-done, I can now share so much more. It’s time to paint in the details with surgical precision.