So That Was Cool
Saturday 9: Thanksgiving 2010

Paging Dr. House

Going on 

For over two months now, Rob and I have been increasingly perplexed about this breathing problem Sophia has been experiencing. Basically, she sighs deeply, over and over again, and complains about not being able to get enough air. Lately, on occasion, there has been slight wheezing associated with this, but mostly it's just the deep breathing.

Clearly, there is a problem. Not so clear is what the problem actually IS.

She has seen a doctor four separate times:

1: I took her to the pediatric clinic at the Naval Hospital. That doc basically told me that either (a) she's doing it for attention, or (b) she's learned to pleasure  herself. That nothing was wrong with her.

I knew she was wrong. I knew something was definitely wrong with my daughter.

2: A week or two later, I had Rob take her to the local (civilian) ER down the road. They took the issue more seriously, but they still couldn't find anything wrong. They gave her an Rx for an albuterol inhaler.

3: One week later, she's used the inhaler and still can't seem to catch her breath. Rob takes her back to the same civilian doctor. A different doctor sees her, one who was present for the previous week's visit. He has her run up and down the hallways, and her O2 sats drop. I don't know what else is done; Daddy isn't great about taking notes or giving me the pass-down from medical visits. This doc refers her to the local (civilian) children's hospital (where Jack had his "nut surgery" on 1 September of this year) for a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test).

4: To get insurance to pay for this PFT referral at Children's, I take her back to the military ped clinic. Again, they check her resting O2 sats (which are perfect), listen to her lungs (and hear nothing), and conclude that absolutely nothing is wrong with my kid. They can't refer her to Children's, because there is a pediatric pulmonologist on staff at Naval. They are reluctant to make the referral, though, because she isn't presenting as having asthma, allergies, or anything else. All they have is my say-so.  However, they agree to put in the referral, and I feel like they are doing it to pacify me. I don't care. I have zero doubt that something is definitely wrong with my kid. I just don't know what it is.

Friday afternoon: On the way down to Charleston, SC, which is where the kids and I currently are, Sophia once again experiences trouble getting enough air.  I am in tune with this child; I can tell by the sound now, before she voices a complaint. I know when she's having a hard time before she does, I think.  She confirms that she's having a hard time breathing. I pass her the inhaler and call Daddy to ask him to make the Ped Pulm appointment we have yet to successfully schedule, because we can never get through to the clinic.

He calls back. Their next availability isn't until January, so they'll probably refer her to Children's.

Are you banging your head against the wall right along with me, now?

Yes, Children's, where she was supposed to have been seen on 10 November for this issue. I had to cancel that appointment, because they wouldn't refer her out of network. Now, they will, because they can't fit her in. We'll probably have to wait just as long to be seen there as we would to be seen at Naval, but I'd rather go there because, well, the Naval hospital isn't high on my list of places I trust with my children's medical care. Or their lives (because, ah, I think they killed my son).

So I think what I'll do is, after seeing how far out the children's hospital will be able to schedule, call the original two ER docs and see if they can't use their positional (physicianal) influence to secure an earlier appointment for us. I mean, if we wait 'til January, we're looking at four months since the problem began. For a five-year-old who can't breathe.


And then, two hours after she puffed on the albuterol, she was asking for more. I tell her she has to wait two more hours.  She commences asking every five minutes if it has been four hours yet.

A light goes on in my head.

The first time she complained about this problem, we were in the van.

The times the problem has seemingly been the worst, we were in the van.

Right then, we were in the van.

My new van, which we bought about, oh... two weeks before the problem manifested itself.

Could there be a link???? Could she actually be allergic to something in the van? What about a chemical or coating that is present in new vehicles? New Honda vehicles? New Odysseys?

I don't know. I put in a call to our dealership and posed the question to a guy in the service department, but my phone conks out immediately afterward, and I miss his reply. (I've been having trouble with the beloved iPhone lately. I've had two appointments at two different Apple stores, but, um, I've missed them both. I'll try again on Tuesday...)

I did a search online, but the engine seems to think I've made a typo and keeps returning links about CAT allergies, not CAR allergies.

I think it's a significant coincidence, though. I honestly think I may be on to something.

My BFF, "Dr. Lisa," agrees, although she has no further suggestions as to what it could be. I suggest silicone, knowing that a great many products are coated with it during the manufacturing process, but she tells me that such an issue is generally more grave, more obvious, and... something else I forget. Not likely. So maybe it's something else.

Or, she suggests (and I'm aware I'm switching tenses like a crazy lady in this post, but since it's 4 in the morning and I'm thinking 'aloud' as I type, I figure you'll forgive me), it could be a positional problem. I also realize that the carseats she and Jack are riding in were purchased immediately after the new van. So maybe that's a factor? Could her O2 be dropping because of the position she's in? Not likely, since she's usually awake when it happens and, well, isn't a {premature} newborn... but who knows?

If we ever manage to see an actual pulmonary specialist, you can be sure I'll mention it.

Stay tuned.