Josh started out feeling good yesterday; “good” means that he only threw up a few times in the morning and was 7/10 on the queasy scale. He had a terrible afternoon though.
I made caramel popcorn to give as a treat to friends and he wanted some. I told him that he could eat anything he wanted at this point, just hoping that something would stay down.
He happily and very slowly nibbled on his popcorn. He was grinning. He said that if he got sick, it would be worth it because the treat was so yummy. He also said that if he’s going to get sick, he might as well get sick from eating something good.
I figured he would throw up. He hasn’t really kept anything down this week. But I was totally unprepared for his reaction.
After just a few pieces of popcorn he started to throw up. He was sicker than I’ve ever seen him. He threw up 10 times in the first 45 minutes (45 minutes from when he first started eating) and several more times in the next 30 minutes. He was so weak that I had to hold him upright while he threw up, he wouldn’t open his eyes, and he could barely talk. His queasy scale was 15/10.
Finally, after nearly an hour and a half of constant vomiting, he was able to sleep. I tucked him in my bed and he slept hard. He was so pale, with grey lips. His skin was cold, but he was drenched in sweat.
After several hours he woke up, still sweating and very disoriented. I put him in a warm bubble bath and then fresh pajamas. I gave him Gatorade to sip. He finally started to look and act better again. His color came back and he was smiling and talking.
This episode just makes me more sure that he has a gallbladder problem. I know the doctors don’t agree with me. But this seems so classic for a gallbladder attack and popcorn can be a major trigger food for gallbladder.
His pediatrician is great right now. She’s making phone calls left and right. She spoke with a pediatric GI who thinks that Josh has Gastroparesis. Google was not very comforting on that one.
A friend of ours, who is a pediatric GI pathologist, thinks that he could have another autoimmune disorder like Celiac Disease. I personally still think it’s his gallbladder…
We are starting Joshua on a medication for Gastroparesis and an anti-nausea med. If he does have GP, this will help him feel better. If he doesn’t have it, then the extra meds won’t hurt anything. The GI’s involved don’t think he has gallbladder problems, but our pediatrician ordered a HIDA scan anyway and we’ll do that in a week.
Until then, we are just trying to keep Josh hydrated and comfortable. His labs look good, so his body is still handling all this very well. He’s not dehydrated and his sodium, sugar, etc all look okay. He has lost several pounds, but his weight is now holding steady at 59 pounds. This really surprises me considering how sick he is, but I’m thankful for it! At least he is stable.
Josh is done with wrestling for now. This makes him very sad, but we don’t want him using up calories and energy that he simply doesn’t have. He is missing a national tournament this week and the team duals next week.
He is still doing some school work (even though I told him he doesn’t have to) and is actually closer to being done with this semester than his sisters are. He loves math so I think that helps. He has a choir concert and piano recital coming up and it’s his choice if he participates or not.
I’m stressed, mostly just because it’s hard to have a sick kid and feel so powerless. I keep promising him that I’ll help him feel better, but I haven’t been able to keep that promise so far. I hate seeing him sick all the time. Even his best days are still very bad, like being sick with a terrible flu bug. And his bad days, like yesterday, really scare me.
My house is kind of falling apart. I wish I could be one of those people that cleans when they are stressed out. Nope. When I’m stressed, I neglect chores instead.
The little boys are currently out of underwear (good thing they love going commando) and we have no clean dishes and I can’t remember the last time I mopped the kitchen floor and I don’t think there’s visible carpet in any of the kids’ rooms at this point. I live in fear that someone will stop by because I’d be absolutely mortified if anyone else saw this mess!
We always seem to “win” the medical lottery. I don’t understand that. We have had so many crazy emergencies over the years… Joshua’s abscess, Maddie’s hemorrhage, Asher’s seizures and DVM, Jake’s bead… And lots of other smaller things as well. It makes me so sad, probably because I’m already sad about Josh and because none of this seems very fair. It’s so easy to fall into that sad place of self-doubt, questioning, wondering about that fairness of it all.
But as soon as I start thinking about “fairness” I realize that there are so many parents and families with much bigger worries than ours. We’ve dealt with lots of things over the years, but we’ve never experienced anything tragic or life-altering. And each time, things have worked out well in the end.
“Fair” comes up frequently when raising my kids. Certain kids like to play that card whenever it suits them. Even little Jacob says “no fair” when he doesn’t get his way.
But “fair” doesn’t mean that I give my kids everything they desire and it doesn’t mean that I make things perfectly equal for all of them. They each have specific needs that are so unique. “Fair” means that I give each child what he/she needs (even if it’s not the same as another sibling, even if it’s not something they would choose- like a nap or a carseat!) “Fair” isn’t about keeping things equal between kids. It’s about keeping things balanced for each of them between what they want and what they actually need.
Heavenly Father must feel the same way. Fair here on earth doesn’t mean perfection, easy roads, or getting everything we want. Fair doesn’t mean that trials are distributed equally. Fair means we are all blessed in unique ways… Blessed with paths that can take us where we need to go, blessed with experiences that can make us better.
We can’t always see the goodness or the fairness in the things that happen on earth, just like my little guys can’t understand why they must go to bed at night or eat their vegetables. We just have to trust that a loving parent always tries to help His children.
We have to choose to change, to be thankful and happy, and to remember that we will always be blessed with exactly what we need to grow.
I’ve shared some of my own experiences with Josh too, times when I struggled with a trial that eventually made me a better person or altered my course in life for the better. Actually, my gallbladder problems put me on the road to meeting Rick. I wouldn’t have met him if I had not gotten so sick. Through trials and challenges I have learned to trust Heavenly Father, my testimony has been strengthened, and I have come to understand the Plan of Salvation more fully.
I hope that sharing these things with Joshua will help him learn and grow through this experience. I hope that we can eventually look back on all this as a hard experience that was actually a great blessing. I’ve always said that a blessing is anything (even something painful) that brings us closer to Heavenly Father. Joshua is old enough to learn that and remember it.
I love my boy. I know Heavenly Father loves him too.