Worrying About Adult Kids With Asthma

I’m writing this from beautiful Hanalei Bay in Kauai and I am a bit sad that I have to fly out tomorrow. The water is a beautiful a turquoise, the sand feels glorious on my feet, and most importantly – I am having a long earned vacation from work.

But I can’t stop worrying about my kids – even though the youngest is a senior in high school and the other two are in college. When I was younger, I can remember my mom saying, “Once you’re a parent, you’re a parent for the rest of your life.”

And for parents of kids with a chronic illness, that means worrying. Because chronic illnesses don’t go away. They may get better and worse, but they don’t go away.

This trip to Hawaii is a “do-over” trip from our last visit 10 years ago.

10 years ago, Middle Son was sick with a cold when we left for Hawaii. Not a big deal, right? Except that Middle Son had been hospitalized 12 times for asthma (thanks to pneumonia.) I was going to cancel our trip when Asthma Doc assured us that Middle Son WOULD BE FINE and to stop worrying! And if anything happened, they would take care of him.

Which they did – when his lung collapsed. It was actually a partial lung collapse (the fancy medical term is Atelectasis.)

Collapsed lungs are very painful and can be pretty serious. The weird thing about lungs is that each lung has a different number of lobes. The right lung has 3 lobes, and the left lung has 2 lobes. Weird, right? The left lung only has 2 lobes because it has to leave room for the heart. 

Luckily, for Middle Son, only one of the lobes that collapsed. The other lobes sort of compensated for the collapsed lobe and made up the difference. He turned out okay that time and wasn’t hospitalized –  but he did need a course of prednisone.

So, fast forward 10 years to our “do over” trip. Middle Son sent a text to tell us that he was sick again, and wasn’t getting better. Normally, he just deals with it and doesn’t tell me about anything. That’s what you do in college, right? This time he did text me, so I could tell he was worried. I told him to go to Asthma Doc and text me when he got out of the office. (Yep, he still has to check in with his mom.) He told me that Asthma Doc said he had bronchitis (at least it wasn’t pneumonia), and that he was on his way to the pharmacy to get his antibiotic and steroid prescriptions filled. I said, “You have GOT to be kidding me! Please tell me that you are not going to have a collapsed lung again.” He said “Mom, I’ll be fine. Seriously. Chill.”

Just because your kids turn a certain age, doesn’t mean you stop worrying about them. Especially when they have a chronic condition like asthma. And sometimes they need a little nudge from their mom to go see a doctor and make sure they are okay.

Any other parents out there experience the same thing? Worry about adult kids?

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