My Asthma Overdiagnosis Story

With great interest I read this CBC article about the fact many Canadians diagnosed with asthma don't in fact have it. This was my experience with my firstborn.

Weeks before his second birthday, my oldest ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. I spent five nights sleeping on that cot while we watched old VHS tapes of Sponge Bob Squarepants. During this stay, an asthma specialist at St. Joseph's Health Center diagnosed my son with asthma and prescribed two inhalers. One of these inhalers was to be taken by my son every morning, so we started him getting used to this new ritual.

Coincidentally, and sadly, his pediatrician at this time died suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer. We switched him to a new pediatrician and I'll never forget the convo I had with him, only a few months after James's asthma diagnosis.

Doc: He only had pneumonia the once?
Me: Yes
Doc: And there's no other difficulty breathing?
Me: Correct
Doc: And the doctor diagnosed him with asthma and prescribed this puffer to be taken daily?
me: Yes
Doc: He doesn't have asthma (proceeds to throw inhaler in garbage). He doesn't need this treatment.

This was about 12 years ago, and there hasn't been a symptom of asthma since. The doc who made the original diagnosis was well regarded in his field but time has proven him wrong. I'm not at all surprised to read about studies like this Dutch one. More than 600 children diagnosed as having asthma were examined and it was found nearly 54 per cent likely did not have it.

I am not a doctor, but if your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you may want to get a second opinion. And then, if it's all tied up, a third opinion. Inhalers have negative side-effects. You don't want your kid taking one every day if they don't have to.

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The Oldest and the Youngest

On Tuesday night, my oldest won his house league's hockey championship. I enjoyed every second of it from the lonely end of the rink.


This morning, a package arrive for my youngest and it included this little doll. I thought I'd snap a pic.


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The Crippling Cost of Daycare in Ontario

My oldest son went into daycare when he turned one. His mother's parental leave ended, and she went back to work. James started daycare, and I still remember the day I was told how much it costs to put a 12 month old in daycare in this city.

It cost so much, when my oldest daughter was born, it didn't make financial sense to put her in daycare at one. That would mean two kids in daycare, and we'd be poorer than if their mother quit her job and stayed home. That's exactly what we did.

I'm experiencing the exact same scenario a decade later. My youngest son has been in daycare since he turned one and his mother went back to work. My wife is now on parental leave with our newborn, but in exactly eleven months, that will end.

The Star has an article today on the proposed provincial changes to age groupings, staff-child ratios and group sizes. The end result will be fewer spaces and higher fees.

If you put your kid in daycare at 12 months, it's about $1800 a month until they turn 18 months. Then, the price plummets to a mere $1200. So with the current fee structure, it will cost us $3000 a month when my wife's parental leave expires.

The costs are already crippling, yet we're looking at increases of 20-40%. There has to be a better system.

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Jarvis!

My sweet boy celebrates his second birthday today. He's at an age where he knows there will be cake today, but isn't certain what all the fuss is about.

Happy birthday, son! You've come a long way.


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I Choose Hockey

Fewer and fewer kids are playing hockey these days. It's a fairly expensive game and there are plenty of other, often safer, options. Neither of my nephews play hockey. It's no longer a surety that a Canadian kid will strap on the skates each week and chase a puck.

I just watched my oldest play. He's 14 now, and I've been watching him play since he was a Timbit. That's about a decade of house league hockey action, and I've loved every minute.


And I mean it. I absolutely love watching him play, and always have. He loves it, too. I tear up at the thought that one day I'll watch him play for the last time.

For the record, I put my oldest daughter in Timbits, and would have loved to follow her career, but she chose dance over hockey. I still remember my very convincing argument as to why she should should keep playing, and I still remember her gently letting me know hockey wasn't for her.

But two more are coming. My youngest boy is almost two and will be a Timbit in no time. Then, as my oldest winds down, he'll take the reigns. And then his little sister can follow suit.

If I play my cards right, I'll have hockey games to enjoy for another twenty years, and by then I could have grandchildren playing. I hope it never ends.

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My Morgan

This morning, at 6:34am, Morgan Sophia arrived. She was 7lb 11oz and perfectly healthy. Mom was awesome and is doing great. James and Michelle met their little sister today and Jarvis gets the honour tomorrow.



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This is the Month

It's March. This is the month. This is the month in which my baby girl will be born.

My wife is almost 37 weeks pregnant. I know because I've literally been counting them down. Her OB/GYN is happy with everything, from the baby's heartbeat to the fundal height, and now the excitement is setting in.

This will be my fourth child, and my second daughter. It will also be my last. The next time I'm this psyched about a birth it will be because I'm becoming a grandfather.

When my third child was born, I moved my podcast studio from the second floor to the basement and gave him that room. This time, I'm completely out of rooms. My oldest son has the basement room around the corner from my studio, and my daughter's not interested in sharing her room with a toddler or baby, so there are some decisions to make. The newborn will likely sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first while before she moves to a crib in her littlest brother's room. It's literally a full house.

Then there's the car situation. I've driven the same car for 17 years and I still love it, but it only has five seatbelts. If the entire family is driving somewhere, there's a problem. We either take two cars or I bike to the destination. At some point, I need a car with at least six seats.

Other than those two minor details, we're ready. There's something about being 100% sure this is your last child. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

This is the month.... I can't wait to meet her.

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Watching the Leafs from the 600 Level

On Thursday night, I had three tickets to watch the Leafs and Hurricanes at the ACC. They were in the Fan Deck and courtesy of @TheFordFanatic. Me and my two oldest donned our Leafs jerseys and got set for Maple Leafs action.


The Fan Deck, if you've never been, is on the 600 level of the Air Canada Centre. To get to the 600 level you have to take an elevator to the 400 level and walk up a couple of flights of stairs. When you've hit the ceiling, you know you've arrived.


Last year, I took my daughter to a game in The Fan Deck and we enjoyed free all-you-can-eat popcorn. This year, for unknown reasons, we got the popcorn and all-you-can eat pizza and wings. It was amazing.

I'm still full, actually. The game was surprisingly good, too, as the Leafs won 3-1.

Just follow @TheFordFanatic on Twitter and you could score yourself one of those 200 tickets to every home game. Just don't ask me when they bring out the pizza and wings to accompany the free popcorn.

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Forgiving Vince Carter

Tonight, I surprised myself. I was at the Raptors game with the family and when Vince Carter entered the game, I found myself cheering. It was completely spontaneous. I was sincerely happy to see him again.

Less than two years ago I wrote this about Vince Carter. He quit on us, forcing Rob Babcock to make a terrible trade, and I was still pissed. There was no way I was going to forgive Vince for how he left this team.


But there I was, with my 22-month old on my lap, flanked by my 14-year old and 11-year old, applauding Vince, and all that bitterness dissipated. I remembered the good times, and there were many. I remembered how he put this franchise on the map, the consistent flashes of brilliance and the complete and total Vinsanity that engulfed this city.


It helps that I recently blew my kids' minds with YouTube videos of his best plays, and that he'll likely retire without a championship. It also helps that this team he abandoned is so damn good now, and to be honest, it helps that I'm older now, with new perspective on sport and life.


I've forgiven Vince, and it feels good.

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Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age and CIRCUS! The Exhibition

We spent a good chunk of yesterday at the Ontario Science Centre to check out a couple of travelling exhibitions: Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age and CIRCUS! The Exhibition.



As usual, everyone had a great time. These exhibitions run through April 24, 2016.


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