Every now and then I take a walk down memory lane and count my blessings. This time I came upon an experience that I will never forget and will forever be grateful for. Different things remind me about it as I carry on with every day life – a cough, a whistling sound while someone is breathing, and so on. Yes, those are symptoms of asthma.

A few years into being Mr. & Mrs. we decided to move out of what had been our first home. It was a 2-bedroom flat located in a transition zone between a village somewhere in Lagos and the Lekki-Epe  express. Our first child was born while we lived in that house and everything was fine. He ate, slept, played and did everything babies do. He was a perfectly healthy child.

We found a newly completed house closer to work. It was nicely finished and having three rooms, it was just right because number two was on the way. We moved in and all was well until we started noticing those symptoms a few months after our second was born. After repeatedly visiting the hospital with the same symptoms, the doctor said ‘We have to call this what it is. Your children have asthma’. Until then, it had been termed bronchiolitis.

We really wondered. None of us had asthma or serious allergies so why did our kids have it? The following months saw us going to the hospital over and over again. I remember one occasion when we rushed our daughter to the hospital at night. The doctors took her from us very swiftly and the staff all gathered doing one thing here, one thing there. A while later, we went in to see her and she seemed calm. I asked the doctor if we could go home and he laughed. He said ‘Madam, it seems you don’t understand what happened here. This girl was literally drowning in her own fluid’. We were advised to stock up on critical supplies and get a nebulizer so we could manage the situation better at home.

Anytime these kids exerted themselves, they would cough and cough and cough. I can’t count the number of nights we spent watching them while they slept, anxious about the next breath. We were told there was a trigger and we had to find it but we had no clue what to search for. The frequency of our cleaning regimen had already been raised to an all time high, yet this continued. I wondered if they would ever have a normal life, you know, go out without an inhaler, drink cold water without repercussions, be able to participate in sporting activities, and so on.

We kept praying for a miracle and continued with the treatments. You would think we went shopping each time we returned from the clinic because of the volume of medication we took home. One day, I returned from a program in Church only to hear that my daughter had an episode while I was away but everything was under control. At this point, I sat on the arm of the chair closest to the door and said ‘God, we can’t continue like this. You said in your word that if we serve you, you’ll bless our bread and water and take sickness away from us. I can’t finish working for you and come home to a sick child. Please show me what the problem is’.

While I was praying, a thought settled in my mind – moulds. We all began to search the whole house and eventually found a colony of these fungi behind a box in the kids’ wardrobe. It was only then we realized there was a plumbing fault that allowed water from the adjoining bathroom to wet the wardrobe wall, and the box stored there provided a light shield – perfect environment for moulds to thrive – moisture, warmth & darkness. The kids were obviously allergic to the spores these moulds produced.

We proceeded to remediate the whole place and have the plumbing issue addressed. From then on, the kids progressively recovered and now they are perfectly healthy. No more hospital admissions, no more wheezing, no more inhalers or nebulizers. All praise and thanks to God who preserved them throughout that trying period and gave us insight into the root cause so we could address it. There are some problems money cannot solve.

Picture credit: citrix.com