Barriers and Hurdles
Parents and caregivers of asthmatic children should enroll in classes to learn about asthma and how to administer medications properly. Pediatricians or hospitals can advise where asthma education is offered. "The best things are for parents to know as much as they can, avoid triggers, and use medications correctly," says Dr. Neaville, whose practice offers asthma education classes.
Some parents are not with their children twenty-four hours a day. Debi Kendrick remembered Zak's daycare center. "Nebulizers lined the kitchen counter. The daycare workers were wonderful about giving Zak his required two times per day treatments." At Zak's elementary school, the PTA purchased three nebulizers for the school nurse. While children cannot carry MDIs in public school, they can go to the nurse for medication as needed if parents provide appropriate documentation and supplies.
Debi first started administering nebulizer treatments to Zak when he was a toddler. She would hold him down, feeling anxious and nervous. Her husband, Aaron, who was diagnosed with asthma at age sixteen, explains that holding Zak down and being anxious would only cause more stress for Zak and intensify his asthma attacks. Gradually, Debi learned to administer treatments calmly and methodically. This helps both of them deal with treatments and attacks much better.
"I will never feel what Zak and Aaron feel because I don't have asthma," Debi says. "But something about watching my child unable to breathe makes it hard for me to breathe too."
Educational, physical, and psychological issues are not the only challenge for a family with an asthmatic child. Because of Zak's asthma diagnosis, the Kendricks have been turned down by insurance agencies and upgraded, which means they are assigned a higher deductible than normal. Currently, they can only attain catastrophic coverage for Zak. This means a high deductible for emergency treatment, a deductible for prescriptions, and a ceiling that is usually exceeded by June of every year. "If Zak has to be hospitalized for asthma, it's not covered by insurance," Debi explains. "His medications cost about $150 per month."