Thursday, June 23, 2016

He ate what?

Last week, B wanted to go to our neighborhood pool. He loves the pool but only wants to go if there are other people there.  He's a social butterfly.  On this day, a young lady was there with a school aged girl and a baby boy. He started playing with the girl and talking to the baby (he loves babies) and I started talking to the young lady, who turned out to the be their aunt.

We were talking about the excellence of our local elementary school and I put in my two cents about the excellence of the school and the special education department.  I explained that B was autistic and who wonderful everyone has been for him.  The aunt asked me how B was diagnosed, if the school had identified him or if we had done outside testing.  As I answered, I was reminded of the interesting journey we had towards B's diagnosis.

B's been receiving therapy for speech and behavior since he was 2 from ECI (early childhood intervention).  When he turned 3 he graduated from ECI and was handed off the local school district. We lived in Forney at the time but I worked in Sunnyvale.  B was eligible to attend Sunnyvale because I worked there. Once school started he continued to receive speech therapy and social skills help during class.  All this to say, we knew something was amiss but we weren't completely sure he was autistic.

B has always put things in his mouth.  I have a pair of his pants, size 6 months, with a big hole.  His baby sitter had put him in his rear facing car seat and gone to the bank. When they returned home, he had a hole in his pants.  We assume he ate the fabric.  He loved those cheap flannel receiving blankets, he would put them in his mouth then pull them out, like a dog wrestling you for a blanket.  Speaking of dogs, his baby bed looks like I boarded a dog in there.  The spindles are gnawed on! During naptime at school, he would chew on his socks.  His teacher finally had to start carrying his socks in her pocket to keep them out of his mouth.

One Thursday morning, he began throwing up.  I stayed home with him, figuring he had a virus.  We had an appointment the next day to talk to our family doctor about him eating stuff and putting things in his mouth.  Thursday he acted like he didn't feel good.  On Friday he was back to his cheerful self but we went on to the doctor.  Our is awesome, very thorough.  She wondered if he had eaten something and had something stuck in his esophagus or stomach that was causing him to vomit.  She took an x-ray and sent us to the Children's ER.

At Children's the doctor barely looked at the x-ray but declared confidently that 'something was going around'.  She gave B anti-nausea medicine and gatorade and said he could keep it down, he could go home.  He did so we left.  We even stopped for burgers on the way home.

The next few days were a blur.  B would play and eat all day but then wake up in the middle of the night vomiting. Except it was not normal vomit.  His food appeared to be undigested. It looked almost the same as when he had eaten it.  For three days this continued and he under went a new test every day.  Most of the tests were at different places.  But one thing remained the same.  The people running the test would always say "Are you sure he doesn't have any other diagnosis'?"  I quickly figured out that they were asking if he was autistic.  I would answer no, he's not autistic but he does have some developmental delays.

On Thursday we landed in the office of Dr. An a pediatric GI doctor.  He had no idea what was going on with B but he did know it wasn't normal.  He told us that kids if kids are going to throw up at night, they are going to do it within the first 15 minutes after they laid down.   He suggested we do a stomach scope to see what was going on. We agreed.  He had an opening the next morning in Frisco.

Ryan and I were waiting when Dr. An came out to see us.  B was still in the OR but he wanted to asks us a question.  Could he have eaten a candle?  There was a long green string and white waxy material in his stomach.  Nope, no candles at home, only Scentsys and none of those were white. The green string had to be from his blanket.

So Dr. An pushed some of the waxy stuff through so B would pass it, brought some up for testing and biopsied spots in his stomach and esophagus to see if his body was making it.  After the surgery B felt better almost immediately.  We waited on pins and needles the next few days waiting for the test results.  The results finally came back that the white waxy substance was inorganic.  His body wasn't making it, it was something he ate.

The next week, I went to the elementary school and walked his classroom with his teacher and principal.  We were trying to see what he might have eaten.  We opened his supply box and found our answer - an empty glue stick.

We figure he must have eaten it a little bit at a time.  Then that first Thursday, he did actually have a virus and the vomiting made the pile of glue move to cover the exit of his stomach.  From then on he ate until his body physically couldn't hold anymore and since it could digest the food, he threw it up.

The result of all this is that we were referred to occupational therapy which started us on the path to his eventual diagnosis.  Those were stressful days wondering what was wrong with my B boy. But I'm so thankful for the path they put us on.  We were able to get him some very helpful therapy. And although it is frustrating at times, I'm thankful for Brennan's autism.  His mind is so unique.  We tell him all the time, Autism makes  you AU-some!

1 comment :

Paul R. Wood said...

I have so enjoyed your writing and the daily thoughts you have. BMan is something else. I believe you are both blessed to have each other. You have a great family and I look forward to reading the next installment.