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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Looks Healthy, Right?

That's what my doctor basically told me when I took #3 to see her (and then him, and then her again, and then to another her) about the full body rash, the constant runny nose, and the persistent diarrhea we have been experiencing since my little dude was 10 months old.

She (and her co-conspirators) informed me that he maybe could possibly have some sort of a food sensitivity, but it's probably just that he's sensitive.

Sensitive? Sensitive to what? Of course he's sensitive, he's a frickin' one year old, they're all sensitive.

And, besides, sensitivity runs in the family. I've been known to get pretty easily chocked up over seemingly minor occurrences.

But, a sad bit in a movie, or an errant thoughtless comment has never caused me to break out in hives or lose total control of my bowels.

#3, as you may know, is a full fledged crap fest. He always has a dirty diaper, is about to dirty his diaper, or just got out of a dirty diaper.

This is the reason I abandoned my desire to cloth diaper. I couldn't imagine spending day after day (more like hour after hour) changing soaked through cloth crap pants (but I'm open for suggestions on this so that I may get into cloth diapering for the remainder of his unpotty trained life).

He is a walking, mostly-talking-but-usually-only-I-understand-him, dirty diaper.

The kid is a fecal nightmare and he has been since November, 2008 when he endured 17 straight days of runny, stinky, seriously-are-you-kidding-me-with-this-sh*t diarrhea.

His butt was riddled with open sores. They were so intense that we couldn't use wipes (or even a soft cotton cloth) to clean his rump.

He had to be bathed.

Every time he dropped a dewey, I had to run a tub full of warmish water (with mild soap) and let him soak in it.

That meant that he was averaging about 6-8 baths per day.

We got so sick of filling up the bath to soak our otherwise clean baby that we started using the sink in the boys' bathroom (which we marked off with police tape to prevent transmission in the unlikely event that this sh*t was viral).

Our savior finally arrived in a costly ($32 after insurance) jar of custom made (as in had to call three pharmacies and wait two days the first time) prescription diaper cream that we have since had to order 2 additional times.

Sadly, the child's butt still bears the scars; along with the "sensitive" area that will ignite from time to time and reopen in the event of a particularly bad day of dookie.

Obviously, during this time, despite the fact that he was characteristically happy and ravenous (was putting it in as fast as it was coming out), we took him to the pediatrician numerous times, they took countless stool samples (any idea how hard it is to collect a stool sample from a diarrhea diaper?), and even sent us for a visit with a gastroenterologist at Children's Hosptial in D.C. (verdict: unexplained toddler diarrhea).

Add to the irritable bowels the fact that he began to develop a strange rash, concentrated primarily to his hands and feet.

At first we thought, hand, foot, and mouth (aka Coxsackie disease), even though the mouth was not involved.

OK. Maybe the whole thing is a strange reaction to this virus.

But, we've effectively ruled that out since he has had flare ups of the rash 2 or 3 times per week since November, and now it is beginning to involve much more than hands and feet. It has spread across his back, torso, and inner thighs as well.

Again, countless trips to the pediatrician have resulted in a unacceptable diagnosis: viral sensitivity.

Does he have a virus? Has he had one recently?

Possibly (but I doubt it), because since November he has also had 4 ear infections, bronchitis, and a perpetual(as in all day every day for 4 months straight) runny nose that has affectionately earned him the moniker: My booger baby.

I am so exhausted from fighting with our medical professionals (who know everything, right?) over finding a solution for my little dude.

My Internet searches have been largely unhelpful.

So, my highly trained blog reading moms, any insight?

My feelings are that he has some sort of allergy to something in his environment (food, pollen, dust, air, me) that is causing a reaction and I'd like them to test him for it.

Their feelings are that he has a "sensitivity" to something (unclear what, possibly viruses) and I should give him Benadryl three times per day to prevent symptoms.

I am not happy with this for a number of reasons.

1. I'm a treat the problem instead of masking it kinda chick. If I know what I'm dealing with I can work to stop it at the source instead of treating the symptoms as the arise.

2. Benadryl, while handy for those cross-country-need-my-kid-to-sleep-to-prevent-being-stoned-by-fellow-passengers plane rides, is not a way of life. I give it to him, it knocks him out, and he can't think or learn or enjoy his family for the rest of the day.

3. Having diarrhea, itchy hands and feet, and a runny nose (which also causes a sore upper lip, and general ostracizing by local moms of toddlers) SUCKS. If I had to crap myself at work, rip my skin off from itching, or meet people with the face of a Garbage Pail Kid, I would be adamant about finding a solution. Just because he doesn't complain, doesn't mean he's not in pain. Or, at least feeling discomfort.

Really, I just don't know what to do.

It pains me to think that there is something that could be done to help my little guy, and I can't get anyone to realize that he has a problem. They all seem to dismiss us with a causal, "Ahh, it's nothing serious (Oh? How do you know, because he's not dead?)." I can discern that it's probably nothing serious (he's happy, growing, and otherwise healthy) even without 11 years of schooling. But that is hardly the issue. If he were an adult he wouldn't be expected to just deal with it, grow out of it, or ignore it.

I doubt any of my readers are doctors, but if you happen to know one, aspire to be one, or used to be one in a former life, please feel free to weigh in on this situation. I guess there is a remote possibility I'm overreacting.

I could certainly use some objective opinions:)


ParentingPink said...

LOL! I can totally relate to the ongoing "dirty diaper" saga. We have that 'round here too! I have three girls, so I'm right there with ya when it comes to all things dirty and stocking up on PLENTY of laundry detergent! Happy WW!

Sweet Annabelle said...

You are NOT overreacting! Poor little guy - and poor mom! Thank goodness you found a diaper cream to protect his bottom - ugh!

My only suggestion would be possible food allergy...
Food allergies are more serious than I used to believe - might be worth checking out!

Shannon said...

DOCTORS!! My goodness... I cannot believe that MORE than one pediatrician has told you the exact same thing. When my little girl was having fainting spells, I was ADAMANT about finding the cause! In fact, I took her to the emergency room of the CHILDREN'S hospital and insisted that they look at every POSSIBLE cause and did not leave until they did. She also had follow-up appointments with neurologists and cardiologists, just to be sure! I suggest you do something similar... take him to the hospital? Do you have a children's hospital? When he is having a particularly hard day - with diarrhea, rast, etc. and ask them to get a doctor involved who specializes in allergies! I agree with Sweet Annabelle, food allergies can be quite serious! Good luck... let us know what happens from here! Frankly, 7 months is way to long to have diarrhea! My lil' boy goes to the bathroom THAT often, but it isn't runny at all!

Becca said...

Oh no! The poor guy. He must feel awful.
You are definitely overreacting. There is definitely cause for concern.
I've never experienced this. It sounds like it must be an allergic reaction to something, maybe something he's eating. I hope someone out there reads this and can help.

angie said...

I came over to tell you that thanks to you I just found out I'm about two shakes from incontitence. I read your comment this morning before using the bathroom, and I almost wet myself. Your humor ALWAYS slays me.

I'm so sorry to hear about this.

Definitely NOT over reacting. SENSITIVITY? I can't believe they even used that word.

I immediately thought food allergy. NOT sensitivity. My first thought would be milk. I would absolutely INSIST on more tests. NO child should have to endure Diahrea like that.....nor should mom.

I get hives. The first time was an allergic reaction to penicillin. Now, every time I get sick (with a fever) I get them. It's like my body is telling me to get whatever is in it out.

Your son's MUST be trying to tell him the same thing.

Benedryl isn't even a good option for children under 6. My husband is a pharmacist and I know he never recommends it for babies.

Find a new dr. and quickly.

I'll ask around, too.

Carole said...

You are soooo NOT overreacting! I would be flipping out if my kids' doctor acted that way!

My thoughts are food allergy...check into these ones: milk, eggs, wheat, gluten. Those are the major few that I can think of. I would also start keeping a food diary noting everything he eats and the days when things get better/worse. Write EVERYTHING down, as that will help you to pinpoint what's going on.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

parentingBYdummies said...

Thanks so much for all the tips, guys. I have never really had any experience w/allergies before (asthma, I could write a book about, though). He has a fairly selective palette currently so maybe it will be easier to narrow it down than it was when he was the garbage-disposal-eating-machine he used to be. Just had an epiphany... could it be strawberries? Never known anyone allergic to that, but we have been eating them a lot this year (they LOVE smoothies). Thanks so much for everyone who is willing to help with this, I should pay all of you instead of the quack we go to for medical care:(

Shari@aPsychMommy said...

Oh dear, I'm sorry you are going through all this! Have you tried keeping a food diary and elminiating highly allergenic foods and slowly adding them back into his diet? Maybe one new food a week?

Alicia said...

Oh no! Poor little man! That would be so hard! I can't believe they couldn't find anything! The only thing that comes to mind is some kind of lactose intolerance. Have they done an allergy test on him?

Mira is triplet crown said...

you are right on the money fighting so hard to get an answer. Don't doubt your mommy skills ever again. Keep going to doctors until one listens. BTW smoothies give my kids diarrhea if I do them too often unless I make sure a large part of the smoothie is banana or apple (binders) so perhaps too many smoothies for him? Not likely but just a thought that might slow the diarrhea down if it's contributing.

Doodles said...

We used claritin for both of our girls when they had an allergy to the Christmas Tree. I was allergic an use claritin regularly for the runny nose and hives. I am wondering if the runny nose could be causing the diarreah. I mean I know when I am really sick with a cold that the snot that runs down the back of my throat while I sleep tends to have that effect TMI I know but if it is his runny nose then the claritin should help other than that I would talk to another Doctor.

SmartPumpkin'sMom said...

Poor #3! That IS a problem! The older he gets the more his skin will get irritated from his pooped diapers. You need to find a new doctor!

TKW said...

What misery for you and #3. I would see an allergist, for sure.

A good friend of mine had almost the same troubles with her daughter and was always diagnosed: eczema. She finally went to an allergist at Children's Hospital and found out her daughter was allergic to the following: dairy, wheat, egg. Which were in damn near everything.

But it was such a relief to finally know and be able to do something.

ck said...

Just don't take him to my dermatologist, Dr. Buce.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this. Both of you. I'm afraid that I don't have any suggestions, but I have plenty of sympathy I'm willing to share. (And you know I'm feeling pretty stingy with sympathy due to my camp week...)

thatgirlblogs said...

I say second/third/fourth opinion until someone pays attention to you. He's gonna have to do school eventually, like my 12 year old diarrhea machine. I've always wondered if mine was lactose intolerant.

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

That poor little thing! I hope you can figure something out!

B said...

Poor boy, and poor Mummy. It def sounds like an allergy to me and I just read your follow-up about the smoothies. My son has a boy in his soccer team who is allergic to strawberries; I would certainly check it out.

Hope you get a resolution soon.

Anonymous said...

*hugs* Good luck. I have nothing to add because everyone has come up with great suggetions.

Mama Kat said...

It's GLUTEN!!!! I'm telling you, as much as no mother wants to hear that. I swear it's gluten. After going gluten free with my kids and reading about all the symptoms other kids with that intolerance have, excessive diahrea is among them!

I don't have time to send you to any websites...but you should definitely consider going gluten free for awhile OR have your son tested for allergies or possibly Celiac. Mention it to your doctor and see what he thinks!

Chris in NY said...

Poor little guy! I feel terrible for him! I've not been in your position or his, but the first thing that pops into my mind is seeing a pediatric allergist. Maybe you could call your insurance company and get the names of a few specialists. At any rate, much luck to you in your search!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

oh that poor kid....and you. OMG... No idea. My son had a sort of similar reaction to milk and soy formula despite not being allergic to it or lactose intolerant. For some other unknown reason dairy gave him the worst diarrhea ever. He ended up on a formula called nutramigen... but yours is probably too old for formula, I bet

He wasnt able to eat dairy till he was at least 10 but for no reason anyone could ever find


Mary K Brennan said...

Go with your gutt Mom. I would begin with an alergist and go from there. It could be simple, but it's definitely not normal. Try Triple Paste for diaper rash or
(Typically for women, but works for irritation. Sold at Walmart).
If you feel you have left an office without an answer, don't go back, go forward. Best of luck to both of you.

Gibby said...

If I go to the ped and after paying the co-pay hear the words, "it's just a virus" one more time, I will scream. So sorry for your little man, and for you and that diaper disaster.

I agree with some of your other commenters, keeping a journal noting food, time spent outside, and symptoms. Maybe you will spot a trend?

Zeemaid said...

that is outrageous. They are obviously not realizing the seriousness or the reality of your situation.

I say food sensitivity. Your best bet is to find a naturopath that does food sensitivity tests. It's non invasive, no needles etc. and it's amazing at what it can pick up. If regular medicine fails you, it's worth looking into alternative. You don't have to buy into the whole thing.. just find out what foods he is sensitive too then eliminate it.

good luck!

KnitterMama said...

Wow, all I can say here is I am so sorry. This sounds like a nightmare. I gave up cloth diapering with a two year old who a normal amount of nasty poops. Doesnt sound like #3 is a good candidate for this AT ALL. Please keep us informed.

Jennifer said...

That is crazy. I wish I had some help to give you! I hope someone pulls through and can offer you some advice about it!

June Freaking Cleaver said...

That's why they call it PRACTICING medicine...and they're practicing on him.

It does sound like an allergic reaction. I'd ask for a referral to a pediatric allergist.

And if you're going to do the food elimination thing, only eliminate ONE food at a time, or your results will not be valid.

This info from WebMd: You may get a skin rash, hives, eczema. Perhaps you feel nauseous, get cramps, vomit or have diarrhea. Food allergies can even trigger common hay fever symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes.

Most common food allergies:
# Milk (mostly in children)
# Eggs
# Peanuts
# Tree nuts (like walnuts and pecans)
# Soy
# Wheat

Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom said...

Oh man, I hope they figure out what to do for him. I know how frustrating it is to look for answers and no one can tell you anything, but somehow they keep taking your money...grrrr

He is soooooooooo cute :)

The Royal Family said...

WOW, he is adorable! So sorry to hear about your frusterations... I myself am not a huge fan of dr. they can't seem to get anything right.


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