Fifteen-year-old Calvin Phillips was diagnosed with asthma almost five years ago. “He was having trouble breathing and he couldn’t stay awake at home,” said his mother, Renee Jackson. When his pediatrician couldn’t find anything wrong, Jackson became frustrated. Within a few weeks, Calvin had a serious asthma attack. “He had to go to Children’s by ambulance and he was hospitalized and in intensive care for more than a week,” she said.
Following his stay in the hospital and his asthma diagnosis, Calvin became a patient at Children’s Pulmonary Medicine Clinic. He makes monthly visits to the clinic and takes daily medications to help with his symptoms.
Jackson says she is very grateful for the support she and Calvin have received at Children’s of Alabama. “The doctors, nurses and social worker are just a big help with everything,” she said. “They’ve talked to me and given me a lot of information that helps me understand his asthma and his medicine. He also goes to the weight management clinic at Children’s and he has diabetes, thyroid problems and hypertension so they help me coordinate all of that.”
Like many parents who have a child with a chronic illness, Jackson says she struggles to balance her work schedule with her son’s medical needs. “With all the doctor’s visits, I had to miss a lot of time at work and I almost lost my job,” she added. “They wrote a letter and helped me get more flexible hours.”
Because his asthma and other medical conditions make it difficult for him to attend a public school, Calvin is home-schooled. “He can’t really do anything physical, but he loves to read and do things on the computer,” Jackson said.