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Shooting for the stars

Zahaan scored his winning goal in the fight against asthma.

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Zahaan could never sit still. Because of that, major and minor injuries were a weekly story in the house. Not that they ever stopped him from doing whatever he wanted. I’ll admit, I was a little scared, but in the way that every parent is about their child. Little did I know that my paranoia would turn to outright fear on a seemingly regular day. 

It was when Zahaan was 4 that he came back home completely breathless. Assuming that he just ran up the stairs, we didn’t think too much about it. We only realised something was wrong when his breathing didn’t normalise. In a complete state of panic, we did the only thing we could; we rushed him to the hospital. Before we could give an explanation to the doctor, Zahaan was taken into the ICU with an oxygen mask covering his nose and mouth. There are no words to describe the terror we felt. I was sure that we would lose him. 

After a few hours, the doctor gave us the news that brought both relief and renewed fear to our minds – Zahaan was not in any danger. But, he has asthma. In our panic and limited knowledge of asthma, we bombarded the doctor with questions – ‘Will he be normal again?’ ‘Why him?’ ‘Is there any way to cure his asthma?’ ‘Can he continue to play football?’ ‘Isn’t he too young to get asthma?’

It was then that the doctor explained everything about asthma and how inhalers were the best way to go for Zahaan. We didn’t understand how inhalers could be beneficial. We started to ask questions again – ‘Why would he need inhalers?’ ‘Aren’t they supposed to only be for adults?’ ‘Isn’t that the last resort for treatment?’ ‘Don’t inhalers have steroids?’ ‘Wouldn’t they stunt Zahaan’s growth?’

The doctor then went on to explain about the myths surrounding inhalers, and how they helped open up the airways so as to let people breathe better. We were still a little unsure about inhalers, but were convinced that this was the best way to help Zahaan. And so, we learnt and taught Zahaan how to use the inhalers correctly.

But even with the inhalation therapy, we were very careful with him. We kept a close watch on every little thing that he ate and drank. Zahaan leaving the house for anything would make us panic, and his playing any sport was completely out of the question. We wanted to keep him as close to us as possible, so that nothing bad would happen to him. 

Slowly, we began observing the effects of inhalation therapy. We saw his breathing become better, and his confidence coming back. Avoiding his triggers regular doctor visits along with the proper use of the inhalers helped Zahaan keep his asthma under control. 

Today at 12 years, Zahaan is back to being a very active and healthy boy. He is an excellent swimmer and football player. He eats whatever he likes, and is turning out to be a pretty fantastic cook for his age. No one who looks at Zahaan can’t believe that he has asthma, and quite frankly, sometimes, neither can we!

* The identity of the patient has been changed for maintaining the patient’s confidentiality.