Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Luft Balloon

With one kid, the doctor's office is all fun and games.  Let's read a book, sit on my lap, the doctor's going to listen to your heart now, I'll hold down your arms straight-jacket-style while the nurse impales you with a couple of needles and we'll go home with a sticker and a lollipop.  With twins, you see, it's not so easy.

2.5 year check-ups for Bean and Roo yesterday.  Allow me to set the scene...two hyper, diapered 2-year-olds, roused prematurely from their naps, chase each other around the examining room vying for my iPhone, which as it turns out, is the only mode of suitable (though somewhat questionably so) entertainment I've remembered to bring along.  Bean, being the bigger and stronger of the two, rips the phone from Roo's hands with ease and positions herself facing a corner.  Roo, smaller, but much scrappier and utterly fearless, climbs onto the plastic chair that is positioned too close to the examining table, scampers onto the table, and with a running leap jumps directly onto his sister's head from a height that is greater than either of them.  The phone crashes to the ground, two toddlers wail, the doctor knocks, and we're just getting started. 

Fast forward to vaccines.  Flu shot for Bean, Pneumococcal conjugate for both (Roo gets his special egg-free flu shot at the allergist).  Imagine you are 2 years old and your greatest fear in life is that you might one day need a shot.  Now, imagine that not only is your mother requiring you to submit to this horrendous and seemingly inexplicable form of torture, but first, you must watch your sister suffer.  When she stops writhing and sobbing long enough for me to get a hand on you, guess what? Your turn!  And oh yeah, I forgot the lollipops, so Bean gets the soggy half-chewed ring-pop she started 3 weeks ago.  Roo, one linty organic pop from the bowels of my purse coming right up. 

Feeling guilty about my lack of pre-planning for the appointment, I attempted to regain the love of my children by stopping at the grocery store for balloons on the way home.  Having been brainwashed by their father, they both bypassed the princesses and superheroes in favor of football balloons.  With mylar footballs in hand, shots were forgotten, Mom was forgiven, and all was well with the world.  Until of course, in all her enthusiasm to show Daddy her Chicago Bears balloon, Bean managed to shake hers right off the string and away it went.  One luft balloon filled with unspeakable sadness.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Off the Sauce

The verdict is in and while it wasn't what we wanted to hear, at least we can begin healing up Roo's welted, pus-ridden esophagus now.  I still have no idea how or why we didn't notice any change in eating habits, behavior, etc. with the reintroduction of milk last spring, but I do know that all those cheddar goldfish crackers and ice cream cones this summer were not as innocuous and they seemed.  Aside from the white plaques and pus, his eosinophil count was back up to 20-30 hpf (per high power field in the microscope).  Normal is zero.  Chronic GERD sufferers can have up to about 5.  Our hospital makes the EE diagnosis with 20 hpf, some places diagnose anyone above 15 hpf.  So, it could be worse since his initial count was 70-80 hpf a year ago, but needless to say we've eliminated dairy once again.

Believe it or not I'm still waiting to hear what our official course of action is from the doctor's office.  We've been instructed to take away all the milk, whey, casein, etc. and we've made the switch back to soy infant formula with much less kicking and screaming than I anticipated.  I'm guessing we'll need to rescope in 8-10 weeks to see if he's clean but don't know for sure.

We're heading back to speech therapy for a new evaluation on Friday.  I can hardly wait.  I am so looking forward to a day when every meal takes less than an hour to consume.  He tries but he's just so painfully slow, and then of course, there's the constant threat of the gag.  He threw up Saturday night moments before the babysitter arrived, and gagged on a chick pea at breakfast this morning.  I don't know what I was thinking with the chick pea.  Just got a little ahead of myself, I guess.  Depending on how the new evaluation goes, we might need to start looking into some early intervention programs for the oral delay.  Hmmm...why do I feel like I've been here before?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Still Waiting

They wouldn't make us wait and wonder over the weekend, would they?  Still waiting for the call...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

White Plaques and Furrowing

Roo had his third upper endoscopy yesterday.  As usual, he was a total trooper.  I ripped him out of bed at 5:15 am, slapped a clean diaper on him, and pushed him out the door in his PJ's before he'd have the chance to ask for a drink, which of course, he couldn't have.  The procedure went well overall.  He was a little hesitant to go along with the nurses at first but the "little something to relax him" that the anesthesiologist gave him did the trick almost immediately.  He was all grins and giggles, watching the trails from his fingers, and driving his hospital bed back to surgery complete with "beep- beeps". 

Now, I don't condone substance abuse at any age but man how I wish I had a little bit of that happy juice in the fridge to administer to the kids from time to time.  Looly's hysterical because she scraped her elbow?  Happy juice.  Bean's on another biting spree?  Happy juice.  Roo's chucking Legos at the cat and crying when the poor thing seeks shelter in the basement?  Happy juice.  Accidental shopping spree?  A little happy juice for Mufasa's water bottle while handing over the receipts.  Okay, I guess I'm starting to see why they don't dole out gallon jugs to the parents...

Anyway, we won't have the official results for another day or two but I am ceding victory to the know-it-all GI doctor.  I honestly still can't believe it but the results of the scope were not good.  For the first time ever there was visible evidence of allergy cells (eosinophils) in Roo's esophagus.  Essentially, the doctor could see, and provided me with photos, of the inside of his esophagus complete with nasty little white plaques (pussy groups of allergy cells) and mild furrowing (kind of like little ridges) - two of the tell-tale signs of EoE.  The worst part is that in his previous scopes he never had any visible evidence of EoE.  The biopsies revealed EoE, but his esophagus looked healthy.  Seems like it's gotten significantly worse this year. 

I am beyond bummed.  I so thought he was tolerating the milk.  I'm so sorry that he has to be experiencing pain whenever he eats or swallows for that matter.  And selfishly I'm dreading the return to a dairy-free existence.  I'll save the true lament for once the biopsy results are in but it's not looking good folks.  In fact it looks worse than before.  Maybe I could sneak just a tiny bit of that happy juice for me?  Feel like I could use it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

EE strikes again?

Roo had his annual GI check-up today and in all my naivete I was considering it a non-event.  I was planning to blog about how his EoE is under control, he's eating a wider variety of foods, starting to gain weight here and there, doing great.  Right? 

His original GI doctor moved away this spring.  Then, I found out his allergist is no longer at the hospital we use.  So today we met with a wonderful nurse practitioner we saw once last year, a new doctor, a nutritionist, who, no offense intended, but I could give suggestions for increasing caloric intake at this point, and no allergist.  I would love to be witty about the appointment but I just don't have it in me.

Roo needs another scope to check up on his EoE.  That wasn't a surprise.  The part I did find surprising, was the new doctor berating me for reintroducing dairy.  The new doctor is convinced that Roo's allergy cells are back and that the premature reintroduction of dairy is to blame.  Did I mention that it was a flipping GI specialist in the very same hospital who told me to give him dairy back in April!  This is not a huge department.  Given the fact that the new doctor is the department head I'm guessing doctor number two, who told me to put dairy back into the diet, is about to get a workplace whooping.  Unfortunately it still doesn't make me feel any better. 

New doctor argues that the evidence is clear - Roo isn't growing or gaining weight according to the chart, his appetite is meager at best, he vomits, wakes at night, and still seems uncomfortable at times.  Well, I'm not convinced.  He was absolutely, exactly the same when he was NOT eating dairy.  And thank goodness for the blog for giving me a documented history of what he was doing while he was off dairy, namely, vomiting, not eating much, not gaining weight, and waking up at night.  Just like now.  The kid has an oral delay.  He gags.  He has reflux too but let's save that story for another day. 

Ugh, I am so frustrated.  The thought of taking him off dairy again, and this time for longer, makes me want to puke myself.  Maybe the kid just won't eat because his diet gets completely revamped every few months.  I just got him to tolerate some nice buttery, creamy, lusciously high-calorie foods.  Either way, the scope won't lie.  Here's hoping I'm right.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Still alive and kicking...for the most part

In case there was any doubt, it turns out life without childcare is somewhat more hectic than life with it.  July was a blur and I'm still not quite sure what happened to August, but here we are solidly into September.  School is in session and I have found myself with a moment to spare for what feels like the first time since our Au Pair packed her bags back in the middle of July.

Forget family dinners and monitoring weight gain, I'm just thankful to be here to tell the tale.  Granted not every summertime situation was handled with Claire Huxtable's knowing poise and endless good humor but alas, the kids and more importantly, Mufasa, are still talking to me.  The gym, the blog, and inspired meal planning took a back seat to using every ounce of my will power not to smack anyone - Looly for telling me she didn't like me and wanted a new Mom on my birthday, the lady who used her extra inches to nab the last container of Similac Go n' Grow at Target even though I was clearly reaching for it first, the librarians who continually accuse me of not returning books I never checked out, Roo every time he spits out food he's eaten a hundred times before claiming he doesn't like it now, and so on.  I required a couple of mandatory mommy timeouts and didn't make it to 5 pm every day before popping the Viognier but nobody got hurt.  It's all about managing expectations. 

We're not quite back up to speed yet but the three glorious hours per day I've reclaimed while the little ones are at school are helping me feel human again.  Showering has resumed as a near daily event.  My gym card is back in rotation, and at long last I'm blogging.  We've hired not one but two competent babysitters who, for a fee, tolerate Bean's ceaseless screeching while we are away for a bi-monthly date night out.  The little kids are transitioning to new teachers, new friends, new rules, and most importantly being dropped off at school.  By transitioning, of course, I mean full-out wailing, writhing, spitting, hissing, and attaching themselves to my leg until their teacher pries them off with a crowbar.  So the gist is, we're getting there.