Saturday, September 18, 2010

The 'P' Word

Many years ago, when my husband and I were DINKS (double income, no kids) we did some unusual things. One particular event involved housing a raccoon in our home. My husband worked for a wildlife rehab and sanctuary at the time, and when they were overrun with raccoons at one point we decided to take one home and care for it. It was a baby raccoon, but she was She was given the name of Beatrice, because we thought she needed a moniker that provided some lady-like character to her. It would prove to be the only thing about her that was lady-like.

She was greedy, selfish, gluttonous and could be very nasty during her play. Oh, but she was adorable! The two dogs we had at the time did not agree with this assessment. My doberman/shepherd was a senior in age and did her best to simply ignore the intruder. This proved difficult when Beatrice would 'hunt' her in the living room. The raccoon would sneak up behind the dog, grab her backside and run away. The old dog would move to a new spot and sigh as she laid down again. This was before we owned a video camera otherwise we could have easily won the America's funniest video with this daily occurrence.

The other dog was only about 5 years old and did not have any patience for the wild rodent that had invaded her home. She was a black lab cross so these creatures were for hunting and killing as far as she was concerned. After some training, she came to realize that she was not allowed to harm this raccoon and it was a very confusing set up for her. So she came up with a solution. She moved into the closet. As soon as the racoon's cage door was opened, the Lab went to the bedroom and settled into the closet. A place of refuge and safety from the creature that she wanted to kill.

We often remember this situation when we talk about trying to avoid unpleasant things now. Laughing about how much better it would be if we could just move into the closet and ignore the unpleasantness, whatever it may be.

Well, the unpleasantness at the moment is the 'P' word. Our beautiful, almost 11 year old girl has been transformed by the 'P' word. Puberty. Lord help us!

All of a sudden there is drama everywhere. Anxiety is oozing out of her daily routine.

"What if I'm not really sorry for my sins?"; "How do I really know that God loves me?"; "How do I really know that I love Him or you?"; "Do you think boys notice me?"; "If I don't clean my room perfectly every time, is that disobedience?"

Every topic from God to boys to personal hygiene to daily chores is being questioned to death. If her father and I try to talk about anything in depth the tears start to fall. At one point, I sent her to her room for a full afternoon because I needed to breath for awhile.

I know, I know, this too shall pass. In the mean time pray for me! My patience is hanging on by a thread. My husband has moved into the closet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Decisive Man

As I mentioned in the previous posts about Hoss, he came home from hospital with a feeding tube in his nose(NG tube). I have hated that tube from the first week it was inserted. It was necessary in the beginning simply because Hoss did not have the 'natural' skill to suck, swallow, breath - in that order. For the first 2 1/2 weeks since he was born, Hoss received all his nutrition from an IV line. Once he started to wake up more, we needed to get his gastric system moving - so, tube in and he started taking 2ml of breast milk. Seriously, just 2ml (30ml = 1 ounce) to test out his digestion and elimination. It did increase quickly, and before too long he was receiving 80ml of breast milk through the tube every three hours.

Here is where the problem arose. The tube enters through Hoss' nose and goes down his esophagus and into his stomach. The tube is there constantly, so his stomach entry cannot close completely. This causes regurgitation and acid reflux. The tube can irritate the esophagus and cause increased mucous build up - this happens in the nose, too. Therefore, whether he took 2ml or 80ml of milk something always came back up. The smell of acid was prevalent in his burps and the coughing and sneezing could make him mad.

How is this tube a good thing?

Adding to the trouble with the presence of the tube, the hospital staff insisted on following a chart about the amount of intake rather than looking at Hoss as an individual. Remember, policy and procedure comes before common sense. Eventually, the hospital was increasing his intake to 115ml every four hours (I had to request that it be 4 hours apart vs. 3h) and immediately after the machine stopped pumping the milk into him, he would throw up at least 1/3 of it. The gurgle from his stomach was audible from a good distance and was quickly followed by a huge amount of spit up (change that, it wasn't a 'spit up' it was a throw up!)

All this I put up with in order to just get him home! I knew once I had him in my own house I could start adjusting his care to suit his needs. And that is exactly what I did. From the moment we walked in the door, Hoss' eating schedule was changed to every two hours at a total of 2 oz - I would work with him to take a whole ounce from a bottle and the remainder came through the tube. It was hard work and could be very frustrating. Really, a baby is supposed to know how to eat, right!?

The spit up still happened, but it was only small amounts - like any baby can have. However, Hoss was not progressing on the bottle very quickly. Part of his therapy was to encourage him to take a pacifier (to improve his suck), he did not like the 'doe-doe' as we call it. So the question remained, 'how are we ever going to get rid of the tube if Hoss won't take a bottle?'

I have found a few ladies on-line who had been through the experience. This brought mixed encouragement as some of their children have taken to the bottle after a few weeks of working on it, but some children are still on the tube after their 1st birthday! "Please God I don't want this tube here that long!"

One week to the day that we arrived home from hospital, Hoss was literally spitting out the nipple from his bottle each time it was offered to him. He was getting mad at me for sticking back in his mouth and I was getting frustrated with him for constantly turning his face into my chest.

Wait a minute...duh! Hoss was looking for the breast. So, I offered it to him half-heartily - not really expecting much. Then he nursed for 25 minutes in total. Go figure. All this time the experts were insisting the therapy with the bottle was the only way - and I was listening. Even an anti-socialist like me can get caught in the trap of ignorance. It took an infant to point it out to me!

From that point on, Hoss has chosen the breast over bottle. He is taking a doe-doe now, which is something I am most grateful for at 4 a.m. To top it all off, three days after he decided he would be a breast fed boy, he also pulled out the NG tube by himself. Which is good, because I might have received some prying questions from doctors if I had removed it. Did I mention how much I hated it?

Meet the tubeless wonder boy: First day at the beach!So there you have it...a little child shall lead them.