Sunday, February 10, 2013

Standard Equipment

Here are some things that for micropreemies or other kids with compromised lungs, are 'standard equipment'. Miss Adeleine is no exception. Thankfully, they have just become a part of life and are generally no big deal. But, I'll bet the average household doesn't know what a PiggOStat is.  I didn't, until I had to shove my little kid in one.

1. We use this daily during the winter colds. It becomes a friend and it has its own name. This is PuffPuff.
PuffPuff AeroChamber
PuffPuff is the way we get the asthma medication (ventolin, steroids, etc) in children who have no idea what 'inhale quickly and hold' means. You discharge the medication into the chamber and hold the mask over their face while they breathe normally. Or scream because they don't want to. That actually works better (deeper longer breaths in between screams) but is not very fun for anyone so we try to avoid the screaming fits by making it a happy thing and then counting breaths or singing a song. Most importantly we have lots of positive feedback for a good session on PuffPuff. PuffPuff makes everyone feel better. Adeleine is now two and sometimes asks for it when she knows she needs it: "I wa mo PuffPuff".

2. We have a hospital grade Stethoscope in our house: for listening for the gurgle, rattle, wheeze and squeak of bad lungs during cold season. Alternatively, the primitive but very effective "ear to the chest" or the "ear to the back" works just as well, especially if your kid is afraid of stethoscopes, like mine. 

3. We hate this thing, but are grateful for it afterwards.
Image credit:
This is a PiggOStat machine. It is for taking an xray image of your kids lungs. You put their feet in the two holes in the plywood table, and raise their arms above their head and then clamp the sides of the clear plastic tube together with that brown leather strap. I was told by a fellow preemie mom that it was like 'stuffing your kid in a pickle jar'. Yup. Nobody likes this thing. Ever. But it only takes 5 minutes and it is very necessary. Luckily Adeleine's only been in it once (cross fingers, tap wood, etc).

We have been very fortunate, since Adeleine was discharged from the NICU that she's never again been admitted to hospital (keep knocking..). With the exception of an afternoon in the ER for wheezing when she was 18 months, we have been able to manage her breathing issues at home, with the help of PuffPuff and an ear to her back.  But year round, you'll always see PuffPuff at the ready, in our diaper bag, just in case.

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