Friday, May 30, 2008

On the Health of a Small Boy

Jamie's severe stomach pains have continued unabated, so he has had several trips to the ER with pains so bad he curls up in a ball on the floor screaming. The last time I took him in, I took him to an ER with a separate pediatric ward attended by pediactric ER doctors. After poking around on his stomach, she ordered a whole bunch of tests including lots of blood work. The blood work would take several days to complete, so my regular pediatrician would have to call with the results.

The ER doc also said that Jamie MUST be taken off his ADHD medicine for the entire summer, as sometimes it can cause stomach problems. This is true for two reasons; one, the medicine itself can sometimes irritate the stomach, and two, the medicine kills the appetite, which means the stomach has much less food in it to digest, thereby creating an issue with the stomach lining. Also, she told me to put Jamie on a completely dairy-free diet. Apparently, milk proteins have been shown to amplify one's sensitivity to allergens. It is now recommended for kids who have as many allergies and as severe as Jamie has to remove dairy completely. Also, the tendency dairy has to constipate is not good for someone like Jamie who has had stomach issues of one sort or another since birth. Do you realize how hard it is to find food without any dairy in it at all? Bread has milk (whey) in it; breaded chicken has milk in it. I thought it was hard to find food with no nuts or peanuts in it, but I'm realizing now it's 10 times harder to find food with no milk whatsoever. Lactose-free isn't good enough because it still has the milk proteins in it.

And as for Jamie's blood work, it came back positive for H. pylori, a nasty little bacteria that causes peptic ulcers and can lead to other grim diagnoses. It's corkscrew shaped, and burrows down through the mucus layer of the stomach to the lining itself. It then can burrow (eventually) all the way through the stomach wall, causing a rupture if left untreated. But the treatment is as bad as the problem. It's a two week (or longer) course of two or three types of antibiotics, plus several different types of medicine to coat the stomach. One site said this involves up to 20 different pills a day! YIKES! And apparently it has some nasty side effects - diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, fever, sweats. The site also said that, depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the infestation, treatment may have to be conducted as an in-patient in the hospital.

Just what his treatment will entail we'll have to find out from his pediatric gastroenterologist. We'll be going down there next month. We can't go any sooner, because apparently he's out of the country. So please, pray, send good vibes/karma, thoughts, whatever positivity you can, to Jamie!

* * *

One other thing. Jamie had to miss tryouts for the super competitive soccer team because he was in the ER. Once I told the coach, he said Jamie could come to the team's practices and he would evaluate him then. I got word this past Monday that Jamie made the team! Go, Jamie!


Animal said...

HOO-boy. Be well, BOTH of you. Good vibes comin' your way...

Suze said...

Good grief. I hope that at least you figure out the problem and can get it fixed. Sending vibes your way.
BTW, Steph (of sweet water journal) is very lactose-intolerant, so she might be able to give you some suggestions on the dairy-free thing.

ann said...

Suze took the words right out of my fingertips: "Good grief."

I'm so sorry to hear about this and hope he is healed soon.

I remember that forgetting to eat thing from ADD medicine. (I sure don't have that problem now!) Maybe a strict schedule would help??

GOod thing you don't have a picky eater on your hands. He's such a good boy--I think he'll adapt well to a new diet.

Steph said...

Wow, what a rough time for both of you. Many good vibes headed your way from here, too.

As one who has some milk issues too, as Suze said, I can totally sympathize with that aspect. Don't give up on bread--there's plenty out there that doesn't have milk in it, just probably not in the regular bread aisle. Artisan/Euro/snooty breads are a little more expensive but tend to be just flour, water and salt. It's not too hard to make bread, either, but of course if you're busy taking care of a sick kid on top of everything else baking may not be at the top of your list of things to do...

Hoping things get better for you guys. :)

Becca said...

What about French or Italian bread? I don't think that has milk, and you can usually get a loaf in the bakery for a little over a buck.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

The problem with most french and italian breads made in bakeries is that they are made side-by-side with cakes and cookies that have nuts in them, so there is a possibility of cross-contamination. Same with french and italian breads sold in the bread aisle. You'd be amazed how many types of bread are made in the same facility and on the same equipment as things with nuts in them are.