Managing Asthma: A Mother’s Tale

By Heena Shah

COVID-19 wreaked havoc worldwide, and it also took a toll on my mental state when I discovered that my daughter suffers from asthma. As a mother, I couldn’t help but worry constantly, especially since COVID posed even more risks to asthma patients. Each day was filled with anxiety, and I prayed for her safety every moment.

Living with someone who has asthma is challenging even on normal days, and during COVID, it was even more demanding. We had to be cautious about numerous things – avoiding dust and pollen, regularly washing and vacuuming drapes and bedding, and ensuring we had inhalers, medications, and a reliable nebulizer on hand. Doctor’s appointments were never missed, and emergency numbers were always kept close to my daughter wherever she went.

Managing all this amidst our already busy daily schedule was burdensome, but there was no other choice. Nights were spent awake, dealing with her breathing difficulties and wheezing, particularly during the humid season with moldy surroundings and during Diwali when pollution from firecrackers filled the air. Those were the most trying and frightening moments, and I constantly feared the worst.

During the second COVID lockdown, everything was closed, including medical stores, doctors’ offices, and dispensaries. Hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID patients, and they were only attending to emergency cases. It was during this time that my daughter experienced a severe asthma attack. Despite taking her medications regularly and following the doctor’s instructions to nebulize three times a day, she struggled to breathe. I tried reaching her doctor for help, but he wasn’t responding, leaving us feeling anxious and unsure of what to do. Thankfully, after some time, the doctor called back and guided us through the emergency. It was one of the most terrifying asthma attacks she had ever experienced.

Post-COVID, there were instances when my daughter had to miss important school events and outings due to her condition, which were heartbreaking. She had to be extra cautious and avoid anything that could trigger her symptoms. Sometimes, she forgot to take her medication or ventured out to play in dusty areas, only to regret it later when an attack occurred. It’s a lot for a child to handle.

It has been nearly 5 years since she was diagnosed with asthma, and although we have improved our management, there are still times when we forget appointments, doses, or emergency numbers. I often wish for an app that could remind me of everything, making our lives much easier.

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