I’ve heard it said, when faced with an overwhelming or challenging situation, to focus on the next right thing.
Even though there may be a series of many things that need to be done.
Even though you may not know how to do all those things that need to be done.
Your only responsibility in that crucial moment of chaos is to do the next right thing.
I hung onto that truth last year when our son was prescribed a rescue inhaler at the doctor’s appointment I had to miss, and I clung onto it as I created a plan for caregivers to follow in case of emergency.
It is amazing how calming accurate information and careful planning can be in moments of stress. I’m not a doctor or a psychologist, but I’m a mom who’s walked down this road. When I googled the next-right-thing for me and my son at that moment – I came up with nothing. If you’re a parent searching for the next-right-thing to do after your son or daughter’s been prescribed a rescue inhaler, I’m hoping this post will be useful to you.
So take a deep breath, remind yourself you’re not alone, and read on.
Familiarize yourself with the issue
Ask your doctor or nurse lots and lots of questions. If you’re like me, and missed the in-person appointment, follow up with a phone call to make sure YOU understand what’s going on straight from the source.
Go through the what ifs. Ask about worst case scenarios. Understand the medications that have been prescribed for your child and what they do. Read the script info.
After you’ve talked to your doctor, do a little online research. Ask other parents who’ve been there. The clearer your understanding of the practical and intangible aspects of your child’s diagnosis the better prepared you (and other caregivers) will be.
Questions you MUST know the answers to:
- How does my child use the rescue inhaler?
- When should my child use the rescue inhaler?
- Should my child keep it with them at all times?
- How do I know if things are working (or not working) after the inhaler is used?
- What should we do to follow up after an attack?
Write out a plan
Once I had a clear understanding of what needed to happen if the rescue inhaler was necessary, I created a written plan. This plan was included in a padded bag that contained prescription information, the chamber and mouthpiece, and the rescue inhaler itself.
In your own plan, include symptoms, medications and instructions for administering those medications, as well as worst case scenarios. Include phone numbers, and any special instructions a caretaker would need to be prepared for. Make it easy to read and easy to understand, if in fact an emergency happens.
This is what we included in our plan:
In an emergency breathing situation please:
- Assemble. (Mouth piece + Chamber + inhaler)
- Shake well. (In an up-and-down motion)
- Place mouthpiece over nose and mouth.
- Ask CHILD to breathe while you press the inhaler (PUMP 1)
- Let chamber clear. (CHILD should continue to breath throughout treatment)
- Ask CHILD to breath in while you press the inhaler (PUMP 2)
- Let the chamber clear.
- Remove mouthpiece. (Do NOT administer a 3rd pump!)
The plan we created was typed out in a large font on half a sheet of paper. On the back we included symptoms caregivers should watch for (pulled from information we received from the doctor and online), when to call 911, our phone numbers, and a listing of all applicable medications.
We felt confident if emergency medical treatment were necessary in our absence, an EMT would have answers to questions we weren’t present to answer, without burdening caretakers to remember every little detail.
Your child’s situation is unique. It’s important to verify any plan with your child’s doctor to make sure you are using medications correctly and at appropriate times. Our plan is not meant to become your plan, but act as an example of what one family has done to prepare for emergency situations necessitating a rescue inhaler.
Help your child understand the plan
If your child is old enough, help them understand the plan.
Talk to them in words they can understand and refer to situations they are already familiar with
Remember when you were running around, and you started coughing really hard, and couldn’t stop?
Explain how they can be aware of their own bodies.
If you can’t catch your breath, or you can’t talk, or your tummy starts pulling in really hard when you are trying to breathe . . .
Teach them how to ask for help.
Talk to your teacher and signal to them that you cannot breathe and need your inhaler.
Make sure they know how to use the inhaler themselves if it is absolutely necessary to do so, then practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Create a list of your child’s caretakers
Mentally walk through your week and make a list of everyone who cares for your child in your absence. Include special events or occasions that happen once a month, twice a year, etc.
Your list should include:
- Church workers
- Preschool/Daycare teachers
- Extra curricular activities
- Family Members
Communicate the plan to your caregivers
Send a personal email to each caregiver on your list, briefly explaining your situation and asking when and how you can follow up with instructions.
Hey ___________,__________ is going to need to keep a rescue inhaler with him at least for about the next month or so. I was wondering what you think the best way to communicate that information to his teachers would be and who we should talk to. This is all new territory for us so any thoughts are totally appreciated.Thanks!Christine
I felt very confident after we created and implemented a plan for our son that he would be safe and cared for, but I never stopped praying. Growing up my mom always told me to do my best, and let God take care of the rest. Perfect advice for those moments that I don’t have control over, but He does :).