Monthly Archives: October 2018

Traveling the World of Diseases – Part III

It’s been about five weeks and my four year old is still bleeding every time she has a bowel movement. Where before she had a BM once or twice a day, now it’s 4-5 times a day. She has no pain though most of the time she has diarrhea. There is still no fever or vomiting. This is obviously a good thing but the lack of symptoms means no one knows for sure what she possibly has.

I reached out to her pediatrician and told her the probiotics she prescribed hadn’t solved the problem.  With no other symptoms and nothing new to go on, she suggested I take her to a gastro specialist at a children’s hospital.

We made the appointment and got advice from people about what it could possibly be. We heard about polyps and how they can be easily removed. We heard about Crohn’s disease and how it’s genetic and is associated with chronic pain. My husband’s biggest fear was that it was some kind of cancer. I feared that she would be admitted to the hospital, neither of my babies had ever had an extended stay there. All I knew was that I wanted my baby girl to be okay and I wanted us to get past this.

Because we had to wait a couple weeks for the appointment, I was able to squeeze out one day to take off because I was determined that I would not miss another one. My mother came with me and we arrived for our appointment on time and ready to get some answers.

I was never nervous and didn’t even feel anxious, I don’t think. I walked in there feeling confident. My little girl was content watching Paw Patrol in the waiting room and life was normal.

Before the doctor came in the room, a nurse took her vitals and asked us some standard questions. She said her heart rate was a little high and she checked it a second time. The doctor came in and asked us questions about our recent travel and any changes in her diet. Then we had a spirited conversation where I had to describe her poop by comparing what I see in the toilet every day to a chart depicting what healthy and unhealthy poop look like. (I pray you never have to do this as it was strange and weird for me to even type that such a conversation took place.)

I answered all of her questions and when my ladybug had to go to the bathroom, I was able to bring the tissue to the doctor so she could see how bright and red the blood was. She instructed me to get a stool sample at home and to retreat to another floor of the hospital to get a blood sample, something that wasn’t done at the emergency room.

We left the hospital, grabbed some lunch, and headed back home. My ladybug ate her applesauce, while my mother and I filled in my babysitter on what happened at the hospital. My phone started blowing up and I discovered it was broken.

I could see calls coming in and I could hear it but I could not answer and if by chance I was able to answer, the person on the other end couldn’t hear me. I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t worry about it.

My mother’s phone rang and it was my husband. The hospital had been trying to reach me.

LIFE LESSON: There is no way to prepare for the unexpected.

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Traveling the World of Diseases – Part II

After a disappointing trip to the emergency room, I finally got an appointment for my little girl to see her pediatrician. The down side was that I was unable to accompany her because I had to work.

I started a new job in April and had already used my vacation time over the summer. With no available time, I had no choice but to leave her doctor’s visit in the hands of a family member.

I was called during the appointment and put on speakerphone so I could communicate with the doctor directly and hear any instructions she may have had. She diagnosed my baby with a viral pathogen and told me to give her probiotics over a period of seven days.

The doctor proceeded to give her a general check up and asked her to lie down on the exam table, which makes my baby feel vulnerable and it’s always a struggle convincing her to cooperate once we get to that point of the appointment.

I heard my family member trying to calm her down and I just started to cry.

I was supposed to be there with my little girl helping her to relax. I should not have been miles away typing on a computer when my little girl needed me.

It’s that age old dilemma that most moms face: to stay home full time or go back to work. I work because financially my family needs me to. I enjoyed being at home with my babies and getting the chance to 1. establish a solid bond with them and 2. be available to volunteer at schools, go on field trips, and take them to appointments.

At a time like this when my daughter is physically experiencing something that no one can explain, I yearned to be at the forefront of any information regarding her health. Not being at that doctor’s office KILLED me inside.

But I was grateful to at least be there through speakerphone.

LESSON LEARNED: I have to be okay with the fact that I cannot always be there.

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Traveling the World of Diseases – Part I

It all started three weeks after we came home from our first family cruise.

My little lady went to the bathroom and when she got up, I saw a little bit of blood in her watery stool. I was more confused than immediately alarmed and I assumed that it was a fluke thing that would go away.

When the blood persisted and the diarrhea went on for days at a time, several times a day, I called her pediatrician whose office was busy for the next couple of weeks due to the first day of school being just around the corner.

I told my husband to take her to Urgent Care while I accompanied my son to orientation at his new school. When we met up, the doctor said she has no other symptoms and attributed her condition to her recent trip out of the country. We were told to collect a stool sample at home and to keep her hydrated due to the diarrhea.

Getting a sample proved to be tougher than we thought and when a week went by and she was still bleeding, I took her to the emergency room determined to get some answers.

Again, they were baffled about her lack of symptoms but agreed that the constant blood in her stools had to mean something. They were successful in getting a sample and told me the results would be ready in a week.

This is the point where I started to get frustrated.

They never called me with the results so when a little more than a week went by, and I hadn’t heard anything, I made the call. The woman who answered told me, “If they didn’t call you, no news is normally good news.” I’m sure that was intended to make me feel better but it definitely had the opposite effect.

When I asked her for the results of my daughter’s stool sample, she responded, “Oh, it’s negative.”

What does that even mean? Negative for what? This is the exact conversation I had with that woman:

ME: What does negative mean?

HER: Negative for bacteria like salmonella, e-coli (and some other terms I can’t remember)

ME: So they found nothing?

HER: No.

ME: So I’m right back where I started?

HER: I guess so.

I’m too polite to hang up on people, and the invention of the cell phone has taken away the sheer joy of slamming a phone down in someone’s ear.

Hearing that her tests were negative did little to ease my now mounting worry. I didn’t care what those tests said, my ladybug was still losing blood every day and though she didn’t “look sick,” we all knew that something was wrong.

And I was more determined than ever to figure out what was wrong with my baby girl.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t stop asking questions until you get a definitive answer.

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