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Monday, May 9, 2011

Are you a good asthma parent?

Are you a good asthma parent? Find out by reading my latest asthma post at

Josie Goofus: The Asthma Parent You Don't Want To Be

Josie Goofus is the asthma mom who does everything wrong. She's the antithesis of Jane Gallant, our asthma mom who does everything right. So while Jane was sitting in the principal's office discussing her asthma daughters asthma action plan, Josie was snoozing on her couch dreaming of her upcoming vacation to the Bahamas.

Josie is a wonderful person. She's assistant vice president at the local bank, and was recently elected to serve as a member of the county commission. And on the side, she organizes fund raisers to make money for cancer victims. She's cordial, gregarious, and just a fun person to be around.

Yet, still, when it comes to managing her daughter's asthma she's so far out in left field she might as well be in the stands. Don't get me wrong here, for she's a good mother to Jill, her asthmatic daughter.

Yet while she knows Jill has asthma, has sat with Jill many nights in the emergency room, she has yet to realize the importance of being proactive when it comes to preventing asthma. To Josie, if Jill is not right now having an asthma attack, then she doesn't need to be thinking asthma.

So instead of thinking about her daughter's asthma on this nice, warm day, Josie has the air conditioner cranked, and is in a deep sleep as the cuckoo bird sings its mid day song. Startled, she hops off the couch and waddles through the kitchen where preventative asthma medicine (in this case Azmanex) has been collecting dust for over two months.

She grabs her cell phone and quickly clicks in a number. "Hello, Sarah, how're the kids?"

BANG! The sound of the front door slamming startles her. Little Jill trudges through the living room, shoulders high.

"Your inhaler is on the counter, honey," Josie says to her five-year-old daughter when she realizes her plight. "Here. Take two puffs of this, honey," she says as she scoops up the inhaler and proffers it to her precious little baby.

The spacer, by the way, was thrown in the trash probably about a year earlier. Josie thinks about this a second, then shrugs off the thought. "Yeah," she says into the speaker, "I am soooo burned out. The Bahamas can't come soon enough."

She watches as her daughter takes two quick puffs of her inhaler, and rush back to the front door. SLAM! "She must be feeling better," Josie thinks, then says into the receiver, "Yeah, it can't come soon enough."

Josie presses end and sits back down on the couch. She smiles as she thinks how independent Jill has become. It was a year ago she had her last really bad asthma attack, and now it appears her asthma is gone. Thank God we don't have to take her to the doctor for her asthma anymore," she thinks. "When was that last visit? Gosh, it must have been the day of the asthma attack."

And now school's coming up soon. She read about asthma action plans, and that she should talk to the teacher and principal about making sure they knew what to do in case Jill has an asthma attack at school, yet Jill's fine now. She doesn't have asthma anymore, so it seems.

Her mind drifted to hot beaches and sunny days.

Fast forward one month. The school principal called and said she was taking Jill to the hospital, and that Josie should meet them there. "She's having a bad asthma attack," the principal said.

So what all did Josie do wrong in this story?

1. Josie did not have Jill take her preventative medicines every day

2. She did not supervise Jill while taking her inhaler

3. She did not have Jill use a spacer, which makes the inhaler work 75 percent better and last longer

4. She did not take Jill for regular doctor's office visits

5. She did not work with her doctor on creating an asthma action plan

6. She did not work with Jill's teachers on creating a school asthma action plan

Jill wanted what was best for Jill, yet she failed to read up on the latest asthma wisdom. While she was a good mom overall, she didn't fully understand the scope of her daughter's disease, and what she could do to prevent asthma exacerbations.

While we don't want to admit it, many of us asthma moms and dads are just like Josie Goofus. We have the best interest of our asthmatic children in mind, or do we really?

Are you a Josie Goofus? Or are you more like Jane Gallant, or somewhere in between?


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