Visits to Children’s of Alabama are a family affair for 4-year-old Jacquelyn Watson and her brother, 8-year-old Herman Sims. Both children are patients at the hospital’s Pulmonary Medicine Clinic.
Diagnosed when he was just 1 year old, Herman has chronic asthma that has required numerous hospitalizations. “Because we were in Children’s so much, his pediatrician referred him to the Pulmonary Clinic,” said his mother, Hermenia Sims.
When she was 3, Jacquelyn began having repeated cases of pneumonia. “We had just come from seeing the doctor with her and they had diagnosed her with pneumonia,” Sims said. “We went from there to Herman’s appointment in the clinic and while we were in the waiting room, Jacquelyn had a full-blown asthma attack.” Testing revealed that Jacquelyn not only had asthma like her brother, she also had an underdeveloped lobe in her right lung.
In learning to care for two children with asthma, Sims says that she has developed a close relationship with the doctors and staff at the Pulmonary Clinic. “They have known both of them, even through my whole pregnancy with Jacquelyn, so it’s like they are family,” she said.
“Every time one of them gets sick, we go to a class and they show us the proper way of doing the medicine and when we go every three months, they make sure we are on top of it,” Sims said. “If I have any concerns, they listen to me and we go over any concerns they may have. The specialists come in and also the case worker to make sure the school knows what they are doing. It’s like a partnership; we work together.”
Taking daily medication has created a bond between Herman and Jacquelyn. “They take their medicine together and she’ll tell her brother, ‘Come on, let’s do our medicine,’” Sims said. “It’s almost like a competition between them to see who remembers first. One thing that I like is that Children’s has given them a good understanding of what to do with their medicine. They’ve even shown their Grandmother how to do it.”
Sims says that taking medication to control their asthma is likely to be a life-long requirement for both children. “I tell them, God made each of you special in your own way and we will just deal with it,” she added.