Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Barf-o-rama: How I Learned to Snorkel

Or, Bonnie and others who can't handle puke stories, you'd best not read this post.

Warned? Okay.

The Kid pukes a lot. I really mean it. He pukes so often that it's actually made it into this blog only once as far as I can remember. We do a great many every-day things that I don't happen to blog about, because, for instance, I don't think you care whether I flossed and brushed today. It's a a daily thing. So is the puking.

He pukes when he's got the flu, just like you and me, but he also:

  • Randomly pukes after dinner, just like, sometimes, he pukes after dinner. Involuntarily.
  • Pukes after coughing. This is really the big one. He'll get a cough going until he pukes. Once he pukes, he stops coughing. For a little while. And the cycle continues. Endlessly.
  • Pukes when he smells something stinky. Examples of this include when he got a good whiff of my friend's cat and that one time I let an especially ripe fart in his vicinity. He puked from my fart smell. I cried.
  • Pukes when he gets the faintest concept of truly smelly things stuck in his head, like the time he puked at Washington Park when he waited on the curb outside for me while I made an emergency trip to the port-o-let. Like, he didn't go in, he wasn't particularly near. It was a sympathy barf, really. And what is The Kid but sympathetic?
  • Pukes when trying new foods. This one gets my goat because I AM NOT MAKING MAC AND CHEESE FOR EVERY MEAL!
  • He has puked when his bitch of his daycare teacher got in his face and was yelling at him to settle down that very instant or he would be in timeout for the rest of the day or some such completely unrealistic expectation. I hope he got some on her clothes. Or shoes. Or mouth. But the shoes would have been really great.
  • And finally, to get to the sub-title of this post, last Sunday he puked an entire 6 inch meatball sub into my friend's pool. He was doing great, swimming, having a blast. Until one jump into the pool resulted in water down the gullet and the rest, well, you know. Speaking of which, really, I should have known this was coming and why did I feed him that meatball sandwich? I couldn't say really. I'm an optimist. At any rate, we had to clean out the pool of his chunks which had been effectively blown. We tried the net. We tried to do it by simple diving, like we used to dive for pennies, but I found it most effective to clean the pool through a little snorkel-dive combo that had the pool cleaned up in no time. I've never snorkeled before. At least I'm learning new skills with this puking thing.

So, this has a point. I totally promise.

Remember when The Kid had that evil two-day fever a couple of weeks back? I had taken him to the doctor for a strep culture and for good measure a whooping cough test as well. That day we got a new PA. It's been hobby of mine to bring up the puking with every new doctor or PA we meet with, just to see what they might say. See, this has been an issue for over 5 years. It started with the cough. When I would go see the doctors about the cough, he wouldn't be coughing, so they never believed me. The cough usually came at bedtime, and when he'd actually take one, at naptime. One doc had a chest xray done. He had vibrant, beautiful lungs. No issue. As he grew and the puking became more, well, anecdotal (as in, "he puked when he smelled me cooking curry"), the docs blew it off as, "Your child vomits more often than other children."

So, with this doc I approached it differently. I said, "he vomits approximately 3 to 5 times per week. This can't be good on his esophagus."

She gave us some samples for an antacid and referred us to a gastroenterologist. That appointment took place on Monday. I'd given the reflux thing some thought over the years, and have even brought it up to doctors who have disregarded my non-physician diagnosis because his vomiting is so 'random.'

The gastroenterologist had us complete an upper GI today. The Kid was very brave. I can think of few things harder than to ask a child with a penchant for puking at the smallest bite of cooked broccoli than to drink two cups full of chalky, white barium. But he did it. He ended up wasting half of it by puking all over the radiology techs and having to drink twice as much as he would have needed to, but he did it.

I have to admit something sick and wrong and completely sacreligious: watching this procedure was way cool (admittedly much cooler than doing it, I realize). Perhaps even cooler than when I first saw The Kid via ultrasound in utero, because I could tell what was going on. He'd swallow the nasty white stuff and this black lump of liquid would move effortlessly down his now-visible esophagus into his ever-expanding stomach. By the end we could see his intestines.

The most revealing thing about it, however, was how we also watched the black liquid inch itself back out of the stomach and into his esophagus again. This, my friends, is reflux. AKA GERD. The MD (radiologist?) who came to talk to me scared the living crap out of me because he mentioned surgery and such things. We'll have an appointment in the next few weeks to discuss next steps with the gastroenterologist. Hopefully we're on to something here, and something that doesn't involve me cleaning the floor of the bathroom three times per week. Oh, and of course for the benefit of The Kid, who knows way too intimately the insides of our toilet bowls.

For tonight, I'm going to sleep to dream about a world where daily puking is a distant memory. A world where I can feed The Kid a meatball sandwich two hours before we go swimming with absolutely no concern for whether we should bring the little net and snorkeling equipment. Maybe you'll even invite me over to your house and I won't spend any part of the evening cleaning your carpets of puke stains. It sounds just like heaven.


Diane said...

My son has the opposite problem. Bowel irregularity. It took his doctor being out once and we were magically offered a referral to see another doctor.

He used to poop these massive boulders from baby through I don't know how many years old before we finally got some action and answers.

We kept taking him in to see his doctor thinking he was going to hurt himself and/or were concerned about how often it took him to clean out & blockages.

Turns out that his system is slow and because of him being developmentally behind, this was too. He has a prescription and now, goes regularly.

I hope all of this goes well and answers are forthcoming with a solution.

jacik said...

poor kid! i had one of those tests done and yeah, it is way cool to see the stuff go through your body. i wanted to puke that white chalky crap up at first and then almost as quickly, crap it out (as you remember was my problem!). our bodies are so amazing.
love you!

Alison said...

My "baby" sister has had problems like this for years. (She's 14 now, but she's been seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist for several years.) Not the vomiting, but her stomach hurting all the time. I wouldn't worry too much about surgery right now - there are things that can be done with diet and drugs that really help a lot.

Sarah Dawson said...

Dude, I've been having serious stomach problems too. If The Kid does need surgery, I'll fly home to CO and be his surgery buddy. Tell him that, okay?

Aunt Bonnie said...

Queasy Bon thinks maybe a little of his pukiness (the sensitivity to smell & the mere suggestion of hurling...) is hereditary (from his really cool, but gag-prone Auntie) but glad to hear you have probably figured out the cough! Here's hoping the solution isn't too painful and here's to NO MORE COUGH!