Friday, August 10, 2012

Detective Mama

One of the "hats" that moms wear, I'm learning, is that of a detective, especially when it comes to our children's health.  I'm not a medical doctor (or a scientist!), but last month I knew something was really really wrong with one of N's bowel movements.  It doesn't take an engineer to figure out what happened - the blue moon ice cream simply melted and went right through him.

I know that all I talk about is poo - I'll save you the detailed size-shape-consistency log that I've been keeping for a month.  What I really want to talk about is - how do you advocate for your children without becoming a hypochondriac?  I don't want to be the person who thinks that every sniffle is cause for alarm, especially since I've more than once taken my kid to the doctor only to discover that he's got a virus and there's nothing to do but wait it out.  And pay the bill.

On the other hand, if my child really does have something medically wrong with him, how do I go about being a kind and gracious person as well as persistent, even though I don't know exactly what it is?  What about tests - if they confirm my suspicion, they will make N uncomfortable, if not, they still make him uncomfortable and waste money? Will my pediatrician even order them?

With the help of my brother in law to be's medical knowledge, it appears that N may have a cow's milk protein intolerance.  I've given up on potty training him and have taken up documenting his every bowel movement in detail as well as reading everything I can find about the condition, which isn't as much as one would think.  However, from what I am learning, this disorder/disease/allergy/what have you would explain a lot, such as:
  • diarhea
  • congestion
  • irritability
  • inattentiveness
  • bloating
  • potty training failure
  • ear infections (so many the winter he was one year old and on cow milk)
  • runny nose
Inadvertently, I gave him lactose free milk rather than soymilk in the beginning of this experiment.  It didn't help N much, but it did rule out lactose intolerance, which is a similar but completely different problem.  So now we are one week into a dairy free diet for him and are waiting for improvement...which could take 4-6 weeks.  Basically, his intestines have to heal and regrow cilia (I think that's the word) from being attacked by cow's milk protein every day for over 2 years. 

BUT I'm learning that cow's milk protein can be in everything and I may have to start reading package labels for casein, one of the names of the protein - there are several.  If he's highly sensitive, these could be bothering him too.  And if that's the case, that puts me into a category I hitherto disliked: The Mom Who Won't Let Her Kid Eat Anything Because of His Crazy Diet.  Soy milk instead of cow milk?  Fine, I can handle that.  Restricting him from not only ice cream and yogurt, but also all kinds of goodies and kid foods that could have "hidden casein"?'ve got to be kidding.

Please don't take offense if you are one of those moms.  I could soon be in your company.  I'm just trying to reconcile who I think I am (my kids are perfect!) with who I really am (my kids have health issues that I have to manage and teach them about)   I've been doing a lot of that lately.

That's what I've been up to, what's really on my mind.  Now I'm going to read a dairy free cookbook, choose a few recipes I think our family can manage, and make a grocery list.  N has an appointment with his pediatrician Monday where I'll tell him the whole long story.  Hopefully we are on the right track.  



1 comment:

Meika said...

Ugh! Yes, we were there when Chloe was diagnosed with multiple food allergies (thankfully, most of these have cleared up!). I really, truly thought that food allergies only happened to neurotic parents, embarrassing as that is. So, a lesson in humility for me there. You'll figure out the advocacy stuff!

I have a friend who's done the dairy thing, along with gluten and stuff. I'll try to remember to pass her info to you - message me if I forget!