Allercy and Asthma Health
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The Official Publication of AAN - MA

“AsthmaKaDaBra”: New Book Educates Kids and Parents About Asthma

AsthmaKaDaBra

Jane Adamsen-Rubinov, RRT, was dreaming of an acting career when she suffered an asthma attack while preparing to attend a summer drama workshop when she was 15. She ended up in the hospital, battling both asthma and bilateral pneumonia, and the experience turned out to be a life-changing event. “I received respiratory therapy at that time, and it totally intrigued me,” says the AARC member. “I was destined to become a respiratory therapist with asthma.”

After a career that’s spanned 35 years and several continents—she’s practiced RC in hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Russia as well as here in the United States—she now serves a Medicaid population in Fort Lauderdale, FL, delivering care to children in their homes and at a Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care center. But a lot of her passion these days is devoted to promoting greater awareness of asthma among kids and families through her new children’s book, “AsthmaKaDaBra.”

Adamsen-Rubinov says the idea for the book came to her one night when she was working in a hospital emergency department. “It was a tough night in the ER,” she recalls. “And there she was. A baby girl two years of age, ashen gray and gasping for breath, was thrust into my arms by her frantic parents as they ran into the hospital emergency registration area.”

The RT recognized the child from previous ED visits. “When our eyes met, there were no words that could be spoken that could express the agony of this gasping child,” she says. “We all ran into the treatment room for urgent resuscitation of this tiny, listless body.” Physicians and staff spared no effort trying to revive the child, but to no avail. The little girl died in the ED.

“Her parents were beyond grief stricken. A part of me died, too,” says Adamsen-Rubinov. But she remained focused enough to assess the situation. “Both parents of this baby girl were heavily sprayed with perfume and men’s cologne. Cigarette smoke reeked from their clothing and breath.” The scents were so strong that her own asthma flared up to the point where she required a breathing treatment.

 “This was my ‘aha moment.’ I knew then that I must do something to educate families about the care and handling of an asthmatic child.” The idea for “AsthmaKaDaBra” was born.

The book features a young boy named Michael who suffers an asthma attack while visiting a friend of his mom’s who smokes. A trip to the hospital ensues, and the asthma attack is brought under control. Michael’s mom takes him home and tucks him into bed, and that’s where the fun starts. In his dreams, the boy is visited by a superhero named Asthmarelda, who takes him on a magical flight across the night sky to learn all about asthma.

 The author says she chose a superhero theme for the book because “superheroes seem to speak to the imaginations of all of us at one time or another.” She says the book educates kids and their parents as they read it to their children. So far it appears to be working. Physicians are using the book in the urgent care setting, and parents are often heard to comment that they “didn’t know that” when reading portions of the text. She hopes to find a partner who will provide funding that will enable her to give the book away for free to more parents at the “magical moment of learning—when their child is having trouble breathing.”

 “AsthmaKaDaBra” is currently available through several online booksellers. For more information, contact Jane Adamsen-Rubinov at asthmarelda@bellsouth.net. •

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