Tuesdays are Your Turn – Vacation Flares

When you have an asthma kid and you tell people you’re heading out on a short summer trip and then at the last minute, halfway to your destination, you have to turn around, head back down the mountain and cancel your reservations, you’ll probably get questions like this:

“Is it because of AG? Is she okay?”

To which, after our recent smoking car debacle, I wanted to answer, “Yes, she’s fine, but my sanity is being sorely tested right now.”

When I think back, though, I can’t remember my daughter ever having an asthma attack bad enough to cut a trip short, change its itinerary, or cancel it all together. Holidays, sure, but never travel plans, partly because we were young and poor and fresh out of college when I had AG, so what little spare money we had went to student loan payments and other university debt. We only traveled in order to visit our families. In other words, we never took real vacations because we couldn’t afford them, not until very recently.

But we’ve also gotten pretty lucky. Our only non-local ER trip involved the Sidekick and strep throat one Thanksgiving night while visiting Mr. and Mrs. Asthma Mom-in-Law when they lived in New Jersey.

How about you?

Have your/your kid’s breathing problems ever changed your travel plans or the vacation itself? What did you do about it?

Thanks for your consolation on the vacation fail, by the way. It’s been a rough week, but hey: life goes on for all of us and – related – so does AG’s breathing.


(Do you not love this picture of her laughing?)

Those are the important things.

26 responses to “Tuesdays are Your Turn – Vacation Flares”

  1. kerri says:

    You have the bestttttt pictures. I am a fan.

    But, I guess to make this relevant . . . ;D I have very little asthma flare/vacation experience, especially since my lungs didn’t flip out in Orlando like I thought they would have, which I’m obviously uber happy about. AND, I’m glad, it seems, that you have had very little as well.

    ALSO unrelated, your ad banner at the top ALWAYS shows a local ad featuring a pink cupcake. It makes me happy.

  2. Samantha says:

    we rarely “vacation” per se and our only recent one has been a trip to Orlando in 08 before she was “officially” dx’ed tho we now know the bronchitis she was recovering from when we left was likely a flare. The biggest thing for us has been that since her control is tenuous at best right now, I’ve had to deny her the chance to go on trips with her cousins that I wasnt going on. Basically right now, her lungs are still so bad that if Im not going, she isnt either. We maintain hope. On an unrelated note, Im working on a blog post of my own about our upcoming trip and adding a 4th doctor to the stable of doctors she sees

  3. MC says:

    Has asthma ever changed my family’s travel plans? Oh, yes, big yes. In short, because I’ve flared so much in the last several months, and really, no one in my family is used to it and totally how to deal with it, and that everything’s new to us, and I’ve had quite a few ER trips in the last few months, my dad decided we were NOT going on vacation, anywhere (original plans were to go see my grandmother and other family there). My dad’s scared to let me go anywhere away from home where I’m not near a hospital, because I can’t tell him that I won’t end up in a nasty flare if I go somewhere.

    Nevertheless, my mom and I have felt like we’re stuck in prison or something like that, and every opportunity we have to go somewhere, even if it includes a doctor appointment, we jump at it and go a few other places near by while we’re in that area. My mom wants to go to the beach, both because it’d be away from home, and she knows several people who say that their asthma is better when they’re at the beech. But so far, my dad’s not convinced.

    And, kind of unrelated, I love your pictures too. :)

  4. Amy says:

    Kerri & MC – Thanks for the photo love! I think a photo post is in the works for this week…. MC, I know just how you guys feel, and I hope your health stabilizes soon so you all feel safer!

    Samantha – AG gets to go to Outdoor Lab with the other 6th graders in her school this fall/winter. This is a week in the mountains without me. She’s going, and I am trying very hard not to have anxiety about it right now!

  5. Samantha says:

    see. I’d panic! lol. I cancelled a trip for her for a weekend at an aunts house cause she was flaring and I didnt feel like I could take the risk. Especially since noone in the family knows what to look/listen for, what constitutes flare symptoms, (ie I get told, “Oh shes a nurse she’ll know what to do . if she starts wheezing…” Um no, see with my girl, if we wait till she has an audible wheeze, its too late) or what meds she takes and when….

  6. Katherine says:

    My asthma is keeping me at home this summer as my family goes to Ireland. I’ve just been so up and down I feel like international travel is not a good idea at this point. Not to mention I have no clue how the medical system works there and I don’t really feel like I’m in control of the lungs at all. So they are going without me.

  7. Danielle says:

    An ER trip in Lille, France accompanied by my school principal. Oh yeah, that was FUN!

    Or the 3 AM stop at a British Columbia ER while flaring on a road trip? Also a grand time.

    And then of course being sent home from camp.

    I am unlucky that way, it seems the more places I go, the more triggers I discover. It’s been so tricky that my doctor just said to bump up my meds if I’m away NO MATTER where I go (a bit of a blind shot in the dark but it has been easier since I started doing that)

  8. Sara C. says:

    does it CHANGE our plans…Not really…it just changes how I prepare for trips now. We’ve already discussed packing for trips with asthma, and I always check with the pulmo for hospital recs, if he has one…If not, I always know where the closest ER is to where we are staying.

    This week, while we were away, M was flaring…so it required bringing the neb with us to the children’s museum…but only because I knew we were going to be there at lunch time, when she would need a treatment…and we planned on being in a place where she could HAVE a treatment…though there aren’t many places now that she can’t.

    We have cut ACTIVITIES short, or at least changed plans while away…2 years ago at Disney, Rob brought Abby back to the parks in the afternoon, while M and I stayed in the hotel with the AC…because she just couldn’t leave and go into the humidity again that day…So, yeah…I guess asthma HAS changed how we vacation, and changed our vacation plans.

  9. Sarah says:

    I remember more than one visit at Grandma’s being interrupted by a trip to the ER for me. Also, my parents were so touchy about me and my health that they wouldn’t allow me to go on trips alone until I was in University (and even now, they’d prohibit it if they thought they could). I think it was partly that they were scared.

    Hamilton is a guarantee for a nasty flare for me. I’m not sure what it is about that city, since I’ve been to many cities that get worse air quality (New York, Toronto, Montreal, etc), but Hamilton does me in way worse than any of the them. So, of course, every time I visit my family over there, I flare. It’s not a question of if, but rather, how bad.

    I can’t remember my worst vacation flares clearly, since they were all before I turned eight, but this May, I had a really bad but thankfully short-lived flare on a plane which really sucked. For a while, I thought I might have to ask the flight attendant if there was a doctor on board, as my PEFs were tanking to down around 300 (45%) which is NOT somewhere you want to be when you’re 35,000 feet in the air! Fortunately, a dozen puffs of albuterol kept me out of the ER, and stepping up to “low yellow” treatment got the flare under control in two days. For me, that was a bad flare in its severity (I hadn’t seen 300 in close to a year!), but really not that bad in terms of length. For me, it seems, the bad flares are (thankfully) short-lived, while the mild-to-moderate flares can last much longer.

  10. Elisheva says:

    Great picture of AG!

    Nope, no major vacation changes, but I did miss a hike or two on school trips and had to stay behind in the hotel watching TV. I’m working on getting over my negative associations with that particular city, since the only time I was there, I was flaring – 7 years ago. Keep meaning to get a bunch of friends together and go back there. And be well prepared.

  11. Elisheva says:

    Oh yeah, and of course I couldn’t stay alone. I hated being 18 years old and having a friend stay with me making sure my breathing didn’t get worse. I mean having a friend with me was great – I just didn’t like that I couldn’t trust my own body.

  12. Amy says:

    Samantha–Don’t worry, I’ll be a bundle of nerves in the weeks leading up to the trip & I’m quite sure I’ll be obsessing about here. (When family doesn’t understand, that’s the worst – I’m sorry yours is like this.)

    Katherine–That sucks, and they better bring you back a really wonderful souvenir…..

    Danielle–Bumping up meds before trips is a great tip. I’m going to talk that over with AG’s dr. this summer, before her weeklong trip w/out me this year.

    Sara–I’m glad the portable neb has made at least that part of traveling easier.

    Sarah–I can’t lie. I’m terrified – TERRIFIED – of AG’s week of Outdoor Lab this year, even though her asthma is well-controlled. I’m just not expecting to sleep, like, ever.

    Elisheva–Keeping a friend with you is a good tip, too. Thanks!

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