Marcus's Story: Parent's Letter Project Asthma- Marcus' mom

Normally my 11-year-old son's asthma is triggered when he catches a cold and it's never a major attack. However, in April 2009, my son witnessed the death of his grandfather in our home. Surprisingly, this triggered chest pains and he began complaining about his throat and head hurting - there were no actual signs of an asthma attack so I attributed these symptoms to stress.

Over the course of the next two days, he became extremely ill. I took him to see his pediatric doctor who gave him a nebulizer treatment. I administered nebulizer treatments throughout the day as well, but he was not getting any better. Later that evening, I took him to the neighborhood hospital. Needless to say, by the time I got him to the hospital, he collapsed in the emergency department due to the lack of oxygen to his brain. Having said that, do not delay in getting your child to a hospital when experiencing stress/asthma attacks.

After my son was stabilized, Children's National was called. A Children's National ambulance picked up my son and transported him to Children's National. Of course he thoroughly enjoyed the ambulance ride because he got to watch a movie along the way - not to mention the ambulance personnel were sensitive and nice, and kept him informed of their every move.

Upon arrival at Children's National, he was immediately placed in a room and spent two days at the hospital. I was able to spend the night with him, although I had to leave him for a few hours so that I could plan my father's funeral. I have a great church family too. They sat at the hospital with my son while I was away. My son was still a little stressed out from his grandfather's death and my absence, but the staff and my church family made him feel comfortable and cared for. By the time I got back to the hospital, he was feeling better and didn't want to leave! I think the video games (in his room) had a lot to do with his desire to stay.

My adult son has asthma as well, but he never experienced an overnight stay at Children's National. Because Children's National caters to children, this makes children's asthma experiences easier for the parent(s) to handle. My experience with Children's National convinced me that I needed to seek pediatric specialists for all of my children's needs (i.e., ENT and dermatologist - they already had a pediatric doctor and dentist) mainly because they are more sensitive to children. Prayerfully, my son will never have another asthma attack such as this one, but if he does I will do my best to ensure he gets to Children's National!

On a separate note, my son attended Dr. Bear's Cub science camp at Children's National a few weeks ago. This was the icing on the cake for him because he got an opportunity to be on the news at his favorite hospital! He loves Children's National! I might have a pediatric doctor on my hands!!!

Sincerely,

Marcus' mom, Mesha

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