Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poo, my old friend...

I'm going to ramble a bit (really? me?) but I want to start by saying this post should provide some hope for the parents of picky eating ASD kids... maybe picky eating any-type-of-kids.

A week ago, we went to see a paediatric gastroenterologist.

For those of you who have, until now, avoided my wailings about Billy's bowels, here's a brief recap. 

Billy was born with no sucking reflex at all. He was fed using a supply line for the first few days of his life, and by the time we left hospital, he had a rudimentary suck. He was never hungry in the morning, but was ravenous when night fell. He made an odd noise occasionally, when you held him, as a baby. It was like a popping sound coming from the space between his lungs and his stomach.

Since he was 12 months or so, Billy has had all kinds of bowel trouble. The Poo Doctor has taught me not to use the word 'constipation' (wise move, it's a yucky word anyway). Suffice to say, Billy has often cried, often gone many days between poos, often done poos that would make a sailor blush. 

His diet was limited to a few items (chicken nuggets, diced carrots, rockmelon, croissants, bacon, bananas, fries/chips). He drank a minimum of two litres of water every day, often double that amount. We had supplemented his diet with vitamins, bowel health formulas, probitics, fish oil, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

He has never had diarrhoea. He didn't vomit as a baby - ever. He would spontaneously vomit (always after drinking milk) from about 18 months. These events were very hard to anticipate, and were never related to an ongoing illness. He also had three different breaths - poo breath, fermented breath and an inoffensive 'normal' breath (very occasionally).

Amazingly, with all this going on... he was a genial, generally calm, sweet natured fella.

It took his first trip to the dentist earlier this year (yeah, yeah... he should have gone before... autism, blah, blah... you know the song I'm singing) to realise he had reflux. She saw acid wear on his teeth, and so, we could convince the paed to refer us to the Poo Doctor.

I did say this would be a short re-cap. I apologise for the essay. My previous post (the Hopeful Parents one) will fill in the details of the appointment with Dr Poo. He has a name, and he deserves promotion, but it takes almost a year to get an appointment and he's in Sydney (and I realise that many of you aren't) so I like to call him Dr Poo. Because I can.

So, fast forward to a week after the appointment, and a week after the drugs started and here's the interesting thing.

Billy is eating many, many new foods.

Why? Buggered if I know. 

Maybe his gut is healing. Maybe he's not so uncomfortable. Maybe tiny pixies have invaded his brain and made vegetables look like chocolates. 

I will say this. Dr Poo is one of those doctors who speaks to kids, not at them, and not just to their parents. After a lot of talking to me and observing Billy playing (yep, doing what kids do), there was a respectfully poky examination and then a long serious chat with Billy. He told him (with pictures) how he needed to eat more fruit and vegetables, how he needed to change his toilet habits (very specific changes - sitting down to wee and poo, heels flat on a step or the floor, going at predetermined times no matter what the result) and how for a while he needed to take some medicine.

Billy took it all very seriously, and he's not a boy with a strong grasp on focus, unless it's on YouTube.

He is doing all the things the doctor told him to, and that includes adding insane amounts of new foods to his diet. In a week, we've added raw carrots, raw snow peas, raw beans, broccoli, radishes, cooked corn, cooked green beans, cooked peas, pears/apples/strawberries (chopped or pureed), nuts, mandarins, oranges and kiwi. He's also swallowing medicine with no protest. OK, little protest.

I'll take it. It's expensive, but I'll take it.

We're deeper in poo hell than ever before, thanks to the drugs. But we're hopeful we're on our way to poo purgatory. We've got six weeks to watch and work for change. Six weeks of watching very carefully, because Billy's on some serious laxatives... 

We're dreaming of getting close to the poo version of bright lights and singing ladies... but for now, we're potentially surrounded by pixies who can make vegies into chocolates, so we can't complain.


Dearna said...

Send some of those 'vegies look like chocolate' pixies my way Val, could help me too.Seriously though thats awesome.

Zoe said...

Hooray for Dr Poo!

Mom to JBG said...

Wow! That is a wonderful change. Your post makes me wonder about my twins. They often have horrible breath. I don't think my sons would be affected by a talk from a doctor (even with pictures), but maybe someday!

Congratulations on finding a good doctor, and having a boy who will take advice.