We’ve taken kids to the ER twice now. The first was for an ear infection for Scott. We were in a different state and it was the only way to access our health insurance. We felt silly, but he needed medicine. It wasn’t too worrisome because we knew it wasn’t anything major.
But a week and a half ago I took Elli to the ER because she was complaining of stomach pains. Her appetite had been steadily decreasing over the last few weeks and we didn’t know if they were connected or what. Again, I felt a little silly taking her to the ER but we just moved to a new city, we didn’t have a pediatrician yet and they have a children’s ER.
Elli was unusually quiet. Every once in a while she’s complain of the pain. Just often enough that I felt like we were doing the right thing by going to the ER, but it was a 30 minute drive and that gave me plenty of time to doubt. When we were close she started acting much more like herself and I thought maybe we shouldn’t go. But we were practically there and I stuck with the plan to go.
The nurse who checked us in didn’t see anything worrisome. She walked okay, she wasn’t that tender to the touch. Though she had been earlier in the afternoon, crying as Brent prodded on her stomach. I really thought we were just wasting everyone’s time. Then we saw the doctor.
She felt Elli’s stomach and asked a few questions. She thought [WARNING: slightly graphic poop talk] that she was constipated with a big blockage of poop. But she was pooping regularly, I said. But then she explained that she could have very runny poop that could make it’s way around the blockage but the blockage could still be causing her pain. She wanted to do an x-ray of Elli’s tummy to see what what going on.
The x-ray showed she was literally full of poop! There was only a tiny part in her upper right section that was poop-free. My heart sank for our poor little girl who was so full of poop she had no room to be hungry. How long had this been building up? They couldn’t really give me an answer but I’m sure my misery over her pooping accidents when she was potty training did not help Elli feel free to poop. I so regret every time I got frustrated over a pooping accident. Each time probably added a little to her need to hold it in.
Elli had an enema at the hospital which helped relieve the majority of the blockage. She’s on miralax, a stool softener, for at least 6 months to allow her bowels to return to the proper size. The pediatrician recommended foods that are good poopers and told us to stay away from foods that are not good poopers.
So from hating poop to embracing it, we are now freely talking about poop at the dinner table and any other time.We encourage her to eat by saying it’s a good pooper. She’ll usually eat one bite of something she doesn’t like if she knows it will help her poop. She likes taking her medicine.
I felt so silly taking her to the ER, but I’m so glad I did. They took really good care of Elli and helped me feel at ease with understanding what she was experiencing and how to get her back to healthy.