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On the Mend

Filed in:Alexandra

On the Mend

September 18th, 2005  · stk

After 8 days since she first threw up, I know that Alex is on the road to recovery. This morning, she ate some cheerios, an egg and a whole piece of toast. Then she wanted another egg, which I fixed and she ate. I gave her some raisins, which she ate. Then she had a whole kiwi. Then a bowl full of yogurt. Then half a banana. And during this time, she drank two cups of milk. Wow. I never thought watching the Oop "pig out" would be such a relief.

Our house has had a dark cloud over it all week. It started, last Saturday, when the Oop threw up in bed. (Those of you who know us, know that Alex threw up for the first time, a week earlier, after visiting Fort Edmonton Park, on Labor Day). That time, she slept it off and bounced back. That time, we thought it was a one-off (and it did appear that way).

This time, she didn't bounce back. She threw up again, a couple of mornings later, after a mouthful of breakfast. She had watery diarrhea and a fever. Our normally happy child became cranky and lethargic. She had difficulty sleeping and wasn't interested in eating anything. Not one bite of food for several days. She complained about being hungry, so we would try to feed her one of her favorites (yogurt) and anything bland (crackers and toast). She would push it away, saying, "no" or take a couple of bites, then stop, complaining, "Tummy hurt."

It was very distressing and, of course, Alex began to lose weight. She was 27 pounds (unclothed) when we started. When we took her to the University Health Clinic on Monday, she weighed 11.5 Kg (25 pounds) - fully clothed - and by Thursday, she had lost another pound and a half.

Because she's a lean toddler, it really began to show and we became concerned. When I changed a rare poopy diaper on Thursday, I was shocked. Our little girl was wasting away, right in front of our eyes. Her muscle tone was gone, she looked gaunt and her legs and arms were shrunken.

She didn't play. She cried a lot. She laid around a lot and just wanted to be held. She slept in the morning, in the afternoon and fitfully, during the night. She awoke in the night, several times, crying. She would say "poopy", or "hungry", but wouldn't be poopy (she hadn't eaten anything, so nothing came out) and though she was hungry, it was too painful to eat more than a bite or two of food.

Fortunately for us, she continued to drink fluids throughout this gastrointestinal episode. She drank watered-down apple juice, mostly, though we did try some Gatorade, because we were concerned about her electrolyte levels. (She didn't much like the Gatorade). We laid off of milk, for a while, as it's difficult to digest. We kept to simple, bland foods, but she never took more than a bite or two.

It was a stressful to watch, as parents. We could only console and wonder, "When is she going to kick this thing?". The week went by and again, we visited the doctor (on Thursday). The doctor figured that she was pretty well hydrated and that she should recover soon and he was right. The next day, Friday, she began to turn the corner. The diarrhea stopped. The fever abated. She began to show more interest in food, even asking for an egg at breakfast.

But it wasn't till today, that I took a deep sigh of relief, watching her pound down an abnormally large amount of food for breakfast. Now, she's contentedly playing with her toys, by herself, in the living room. These are nice sounds that we haven't heard for a week.

Of course, now there's going to be a mess, as she starts to explore and push boundaries again. It's been easy to watch her all week, because she spent so much of her time resting. Now it will be back to the high-energy toddler and (of course) we will be thankful.

Watching your child refuse food and waste away is very difficult and stressful. You're helpless to do anything and that only adds to the misery.

To think that this was just a bout of stomach flu. God, what would it be like if it were something serious?

With a newly found, though woefully watered-down, sense of understanding, our hearts go out to parents who's babies have serious health problems. We've had a glimpse of the heartache, stress and helplessness that you must feel.

UPDATE (10 AM) - We've just gotten back from a visit with Paul, our neighbor (who had a quadruple bypass operation a couple of weeks ago), where Alex ate a cookie and drank some chocolate milk. When we got home, she said she was "hungee", so she's eaten ANOTHER egg, drank another cup of milk and I'm just fixing her ANOTHER piece of toast. Wow.

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Updated: 26-Feb-2006
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1.flag DontheCat Comment
Been awfully busy trying to set my life in its right path. More on that later..

Hey, give my love to the Oop. I know what you are going through and wish you and R the best of strength. Its tough, mate, to see a kid going through all that.

Ashwanthe was hospitalised jus before his 2nd b'day for dengue infection. It was scary, cos its fatal sometimes. And its tough to keep an active kid hooked to a saline drip.

Take care folks. Ashwanthe, Rohz and I will pray for Alexa to get better asap.
2.flag Comment
Glad to hear Oop's getting better mate, it's never fun to watch a kid hurting and be unable to help :((