Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Plague Upon Your Home

Wow, nothing puts the idea of a third child on hold like the entire family falling ill. We've had runny noses, sore throats, diarrhea, diarrhea with blood, more blood than diarrhea and teething. All of which has meant that neither Anna nor Lucy has been capable of sleeping by themselves for more than an hour at a time in the last few days. I just looked at myself in the mirror and got a mug shot in return. A meth addict mug shot. I look done in.

I'm finally hopeful we're on the mend. Lucy took the brunt, poor thing. She started off with teething - her first top tooth, which meant two days of non stop unexplained mithering. I love her dearly, but the sound of an unhappy baby for days on end can bring you to your knees. It's a cruel fact that when they need you the most, when they're in pain and uncomfortable they are completely useless at communicating their needs. You feel like yelling what? WHAT?, when the Tylenol, the soothing, the back rubs, the bath, everything fails. 48 hours later you feel completely rotten as that tooth appears and their teary face screams "see, see what I was dealing with". Then as if to really rub it in she began sneezing, and shooting out foamy green poop. I really hope you're not eating dinner whilst reading this. Our 'experience' as parents allowed us to take the poop shoot in our stride. That sentence doesn't read right does it? Anyway, we were calm, we increased her fluids, checked her temperature, slapped the butt lotion on and took her to the beach; all the usual things.

All of sudden, what seemed like a run of the mill case of diarrhea (I'll have you know that I've written that word so often lately that for the first time in my life I can write it without having to spell check it first,...) transformed into blood-streaked poop foam and then mostly blood, every ten minutes. Things happen fast with small children, and you don't want to overreact but also you don't want to sleep on the job. We didn't know what to do. We were making dinner, it was cocktail hour.

I decided that unexplained rectal bleeding - try googling that and concluding your child will live - merited an after-hours doctor phone call. He basically said 'there's a lot of it about, slap some cream on her butt and keep her hydrated'. I felt such a fool. To make matters worse, Lucy was fine in between bouts of agonizing foam pooping and I was still reeling from getting 6 out of 10 on this 'when should you take your baby to the doctor quiz'. We concluded she was either:

a) suffering from an irritated bowel/rectum due to fighting a virus
b) had a urinary tract infection
c) had a bowel obstruction and was going to explode in a matter of minutes
d) all of the above

I think it was a). She seems brighter this afternoon. Poop-watch '09 shows a dwindling of foam and less BRIGHT! RED! BLOOD! Plus she's happily chewing on a barbie. This parenting lark is hard work.

I only want to hear comments from people who scored worse than me on the baby to the doctor quiz. Unless you're my childminder of course.


Almost American said...

Holy cow - foamy green poop followed by red poop? I'd have headed right to the ER, and sod the copay (says the woman who has repeatedly ignored her daughter's strep throat!) Hope she's all better soon!

Muddling Along Mummy said...

Blimey you have been through the wars!

Not seen the test but with all of that I'd have been calling the doctor

Domestic Goddesque said...

I'm reading this having changed Pocket Dictator's outfit three times today due to poo explosions....I feel your pain. And am on tenterhooks waiting for the blood-red bit. The joys of parenting.

Karen @ If I Could Escape . . . said...

Awwww, hope she is all better soon.

And, Neil Diamond's song "I Am I Said" has been weighing a lot on my mind recently -- love to see it written out there on your info section. Just change out the words Tampa and Whitby for me!

Colleen said...

I guess I would've failed that test, too. I *totally* would have been calling the doctor. Better safe than sorry...especially when profuse rectal bleeding is involved.

So, my story. My first child was 13 days old. It was after dinner and we were watching a movie. My husband, who was holding our son, said. "He feels a little hot to me." Now, having read over and over again that babies can run a fever if they are overdressed, I said, rather nonchalantly, "Oh, I think we just need to take off his blanket." We didn't even own a thermometer. But some part of my brain kicked in, despite the sleep deprivation, and we tracked down a thermometer. His fever was 103. I still thought, "Oh, he's probably just overheated from too much clothing," but decided to call the doctor anyway. She had us in her office in 10 minutes, and was doing a spinal tap (for meningitis) 5 minutes later. That test was negative, but we scored a free trip to the children's hospital and a 3-night stay. (It ended up being a urinary tract infection.) When they sent us from the doctor's office to the hospital, we were told not to even stop to go to the bathroom along the way--they wanted him on IV antibiotics STAT. I still shudder when I think how close I was to saying to my husband after the temperature check, "Oh, I'm sure he'll be fine in the morning. Let's just make sure he has enough fluids."

Hyphen Mama said...

Dude, I've trekked my kid off to the Children's Hospital ER for much less. Now I feel the fool! Pooping blood? GAH.

Mack spiked a fever Sunday night and I played over and over in my head (because my husband was in California and nowhere near Colorado) how I was going to get 2 kids to the ER in the middle of the night all by myself. Luckily it's gone. Sleep? What sleep?

I hope you ALL are on the mend. I know it's so hard to be Mommy AND pediatrician.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh Alison - you poor thing! That happened to Alyssa, except insead of bloody poop, it looked like foamy, curddled milk, poop. GROSS! We soon found out that she was lactose intolerant, however, we came to that conclusion ourselves, after taking her to the doctor i'd say a dozen times and hearing that she was "fine" and that we were "overreacting"! So, sometime you do just have to be your own doctor and figure things out, but always go with your gut instinct. You are way more calm than i am though. Bloody poop would have put me over the edge. I hope everything works out okay. :)

Norm said...

OMG. I would have been down hanging out with the bar fight survivors and drunks at the Cottage ER within minutes of seeing bright red poo. Never saw that kind of thing with three kids and 20 years of rearing'em. Saw forest green though. We figured that was the missing crayons. Your fortitude is impressive.

Jane said...

Scary. You poor things! Hope she's on the mend.

Ruth said...

Bright red FOAMING poo? I would have called the doctor, too (said the woman who, when her daughter put her foot through a window and came screaming and shaking into the kitchen, paused to think about whether or not we REALLY needed to go to the ER -- answer? Yes. We did. Winner Mother of the Year, here).