My four-year-old's asthma is out of control and I don't know what to do.
Last winter he had a lingering cough for two months - nothing serious, just noticeable. By the time I finally decided to take him to the doctor and made an appointment, it pretty much went away (it takes six weeks to get in to see our doc usually).
This year, after three weeks of coughing, I took him in. The doctor said he had reactive airways, and gave him an albuterol inhaler to use as needed, and wanted him on Singulair, which I wasn't comfortable with (he has no signs of allergies and I don't like all the side effects associated with it - who wants a four-year-old to have suicidal thoughts and nightmares?)
In January, my son had a horrible, horrible coughing fit that landed him in the ER, and then in the hospital overnight. Since then, he's been on Pulmicort twice daily (through a nebulizer), and albuterol "as needed" - which has been waaay more frequently that I think it should. Two days ago it was six times in one day. He's been on oral steroids three times since the hospitalization. The oral steroids seem to calm everything down, but once he's off of them, he'll only be okay for a week before things start getting bad again.
I have taken him to the doctor (different doctors at the clinic, since our doc is so hard to get into, especially same-day appointments) a total of six times this year - he's only been to the doctor six other times in his life, not counting well-child check-ups. I'm not one to medicate unless needed. But my son is full of asthma drugs and he's still having a hard time breathing and is coughing hard enough at times that he can't finish a sentence. The docs aren't listening to me - I tell them what he's taking and how often, and when albuterol stops working that's when he needs oral steroids, and they're not getting it. One doctor said that if he isn't audibly wheezing, then he's fine no matter how much he's coughing. One doctor (the one who was on call in the ER when we took him in) said that OTC cough medicines should help. I had to fight to get him the oral steroids this past time, even though his oxygen levels were borderline for hospital admittance and he was coughing all over the doctor. These doctors see him for five minutes. I am with him all day, every day. Why are they not listening? Can't they even see him struggling to breathe? I've been charting how much my son's been coughing, and the severity (tolerating physical activity, has to stop playing because of coughing, refuses to play, how often it wakes him at night, etc), plus all the meds he's been taking. But they seems to make no difference.
Finally, I was able to get a referral to a pediatric pulmonologist, and we have an appointment next week. What kinds of things should I expect? Will they want to do allergy testing? What kinds of questions should I be asking? I hope this is a step in the right direction - my son is really scared right now, and so am I.