My daughter is sick.
For more than two months, now, she’s vomited nearly every time she’s put something in her mouth. She’s a veritable barfing machine, so smooth and adept at her newfound “skill” that she can vomit in a bag in the car and I won’t even notice. She’s that good.
I write this in the waiting room at Children’s Mercy Hospital, awaiting yet another test. A scope to see if they can finally catch sight of the gremlins that may be causing this horrific condition. She’s had many tests, all have come back normal, leaving the doctors to rely on her original diagnosis — an unwelcome invasion of eosinophils in her stomach. They’re a white blood cell that can cause inflammation and pain.
We’ve seen quite a few doctors, now. Specialists, generalists, alternative medicine practitioners, and more. I have a cabinet plus two overflow baskets of medications — most of which she spits up.
In addition, we’ve talked to many, many concerned non-medical professionals, some of whom tell me things I already know, others who offer a variety of cures.
Eliminate gluten. Eliminate dairy. Go all organic. Take this supplement. See that doctor. Take probiotics or enzymes. Anoint her with precious oils. Hang her upside down out the window by her right ankle on Tuesdays.
Much of the advice has been tried. The majority of it is contradictory — to other advice and very often to the input of the many doctors we’ve seen.
It’s sometimes quite exhausting. So many times I’ve explained the allergist’s take on why it’s not a food allergy. How I can pin the start of it on a stomach bug.
Yet I listen, and I appreciate, and I hope that somewhere in the deluge of information we’ll find the nugget that helps. I’m grateful for the concern and the collective effort to find solutions.
Do I get defensive? Maybe, a little. Sometimes. When I start getting so buried by advice that I feel like I’m being accused of not being a good mom.
Is anyone accusing me of being inadequate in my efforts? Probably not. They don’t see the hours of research, they haven’t heard the conversations with the doctors, they haven’t thought they’d identified a pattern, only to see the theory crumble when she got better — or worse — despite the changes that I was sure were the cure.
Truthfully, I appreciate the advice. I’ve learned many things that will likely positively impact my family, even if they don’t seem to have solved this particular problem. I’ve felt the warmth and caring of friends, and even strangers, who just want her to be better. Who offer up straws when they know we’re grasping where we can. Who know their little nugget may not be the nugget that works for her, but want to at least give us the chance to try it.
I’m sure there’s an “other side’ of this particular challenge we’re experiencing. One day, she’ll puke her last puke, and she’ll start making up for lost time.
Until then, we’re looking inside, outside and under the box for answers. One day, we’ll find it.