It is 8.30p.m, Ziim is soundly asleep! Yesterday, at this time we were trying to eat dinner. Today is more like our routine.
I went to bed last night thinking that we shall start today with a visit to the hospital. It was not a pleasant thought. It is not the fact that
she was I thought she was unwell enough to visit the hospital that is the issue, it is the the uncertainty of which of the hospitals to go. I have the choice (do I really?) of the general hospital at Randle or the teaching hospital (LUTH). No, the private hospital does not come into play, we simply can not afford the registration fee, much less the cosultation fee, so to government hospitals we go.
As you know, one of the issues that comes with the type of Cp Ziim has (spastic quad) is problem with bowel movement, BM. She could go for four to five days without BM, and when she does, it comes out in pebbles like that of a sheep. Then we put together this collection of ammunition to see to that. Put Ziim is on high fiber diet, most times, being six days in a week breakfast is wetabix with honey and little milk, the rest day(s) breakfast is golden morn or cornflakes. Of course she often starts with oranges…not just the juice but the roughages, sometimes she take a bowl full of paw-paw before breakfast or as snack. For breakfast sometimes she does take moi-moi too. Dinner in that ration is oat meal with honey or ewedu with plenty of cray fish/eba (you do know that garri is high fiber eh?) In between meals she takes any fruit in season, when and if mummy can afford, she takes water melon, often very helpful. It is only lunch she has variety (that’s if what we have around here can pass as that, plantain/sweet potatoes/irish potatoes/ all with different types of vegetable cooked in variety of ways with fish (titus…eyes on fish oil) chicken and barely minced meat, then beans, religiously twice weekly. To further help she is on 20mls of lactulose syrup daily. If you ask me, the bowel moves up to the rectum whose job it is to receive the stool from the colon. Now due the the muscle issue, (we do know that Cp is principally a muscle issue due to the injury to the imature brain, specifically the cortex) the sphincters muscles which are supposed to relax for the rectum to contract and dispose its contents when it receives messages sent by sensors to the brain to do, will not do so. Thus the contents remain there, and the longer it stays there the harder it gets. So the lactulose (a stool softener) comes to the rescue..may I add..sometimes. Let me remember to say that Ziim takes lots of water. With all these, we started getting daily BM, sometimes we miss a day, but hardly do two days go by without our doing the big one.
So when Ziim makes BM once, twice and thrice in a day, my blinker go on. Wetin dey shelle’? The first one is usually greeted with a pat on the back and a well done, particularly if it is done on the potty, infact, she recieves a big kiss for saving mummy a diaper. The second one, mummy goes.. oh you did not finish the first time, here goes another diaper. Then she looks, hm..this is too much to be part of the first one, and did you see anything worthy of note? You know the doctors will ask, so she bears the stench and loooks very closely. Hm.. not quite sure. Then the third time, the concern shifts from the cost of the diaper to the health of the baby. Now, what really is wrong? She looooks very well, there is no smell for she is so concerned with inspecting the diaper conntent looking for evidence, is there a slimy sort of thing? Using mama’s thermometer aka back of mummy’s hand, (it worked for mama, was that what she used for all her eleven children? Yes eleven, you read it here), mummy feels the forehead, hm..she feels fine. Give lots of water, let her drink from the satchet so she can really drink lots, hm.. you know she does not drink well yet from cup. Mummy watches her, is she playing? Is she eating? Lunch, not really. Then something is wrong. Then another BM! Ziim, is your stomach painning you? Mummy feels her stomach, flat as a table. Give water again, Ziim loves water.No need running to the hospital yet, let’s watch, if we wake up tomorrow and it continues, then we go to the hospital. But the question is; to which do we go?
Ziim is hardly sick, apart from her seizures, that is when she has the grand mals that used to send us scampering to the hospital. With that, I do not think or worry about where to go, I have a right to the Children Emergency Room at LUTH aka CHER or we stop by randle and if they do help us abot the seizure, we are sent with a letter to LUTH. Again that was before I got myself armed with rectal diazipam.
The first time she had issues with her tummy like this, we went to CHER, the doctor we saw told me that it was not emergency, that issues like that should be handled at the primary health care units or at the general hospitals. Ok. The last time was sometimes last year, I took her to Randle, bought a card and waited for our turn to see doctor. The place was over flowing with mothers clutching their babies. At the point where she was to be weighed, the nurse asked me to put her on the scale, I told her that she could not stand yet, then she noticed her or rather recognized her condition. She asked me; why do you bring this type of child here? You should take her to LUTH or Marcy. I answered, the issue she has now is not connected to her condition, she has running stomach. Heen, it does not matter, that’s where they have her records. I said nothing but still stood there. She took me to the doctors’ room. In the room, there were about four doctors round a table and each has a patient before h/her. We waited, as soon as a patient stood up, the nurse walked to the doctor; this madam came with this her child, I don’t know if you can attend to her, but I have told her that she is supposed to take her to LUTH. Doctor turns to us, she is a lady, madam sit down, I sat, thank you. What is wrong with your baby? As I made to talk, she notices Ziim, she said, this your baby is not sitting yet? Yes. Ha, even the head does not stand yet. Yes. Where do you take her? LUTH, Monday clinic. Then why are you here? I started talking, telling her that she was stooling. You know madam, it is better you take her to LUTH, there is no need opening a file here for her, they know her already there. I was too shocked to say anything. I walked out, sebi I have a sister, a phone call away who is a peadiatrician and one who is a pharmacist. I picked my phone, fast dial. pleasanteries over. Ziim is having running stomach. Is she running fever, not really, checked, but she is fine. Did you look at the stool, what did you see? any slimmy sort of thing, well, maybe, but not too sure. You know, it could be anything, but give her lots of fluid, if it continues tomorrow we can treat for infection, may be give her an antibiotics with broad spectrum, but wait till tomorrow, give her lots of fluid. The next day, I saw the culplit, she was teething.
So when yesterdayshe started stooling again, at the thought of hospital I remebered that last episode, I decided that if I wake up this morning and she is still stooling, I will not waste my money on phone call or my time to go to any hospital, I will just go and consult a pharmacist, come to think of it, what’s the difference between the two, just one or two years difference in school, hiss hiss. But Ziim woke up with that her lovely smile. As I was brushing her mouth she was putting up a lot resistance, so I took a good look. You guessed right, I saw a big one, I think it’s one of the molars or premolars sticking out. Ha.. my baby is growing!!! And the whole day, no BM. I gave her paracetamol though. No visit to any where, hospital or pharmacy.
Ziim is just growing hm…