Thomas had a doctor's appointment yesterday at the Pediatric Specialties Clinic at the hospital. It was a visit with the GI to discuss ongoing issues with his gagging and retching - something that his feeding therapist suspects is contributing significantly to his oral aversion. But more about that in a minute. Right now I want to talk about the other clinics that shared a waiting area with the Peds clinic.
I saw pregnant children yesterday. Girls (and I do mean girls) walking through the waiting room looking for all the world like tweens - except for the bellies they carried in front of them. There is something wrong when a pregnant girl is wearing a teeny-bopper concert tee.
My first thought was "where are the PARENTS?" Or, more precisely, "where were the parents when this girl-child was deciding to have unprotected sex?"
Some of these girls did have their mothers with them. I was relieved to see that there was some parental support, and I wondered about the ones that were there alone - were they lonely and scared? Excited and determined? Blissfully unaware of what they were getting into?
I also saw an exhausted and frazzled mom, maybe 20 years old, with her two children - a little girl about 3 and a newborn. Her little girl had energy enough for 5 people and pinballed around the room trying to keep herself entertained, while the mom sat listlessly staring into space. The little girl saw me reading to Thomas and Emmie while we waited and came over to hear the story. I obviously didn't mind but I glanced at the mom to see if it was ok. It wasn't. Mom harshly called the child back over and then, to my horror, PINCHED HER ARM and hissed at her to sit down and be still. The little girl grabbed the spot where she'd been pinched and started to cry.
It took all my self-control not to say something. Oh, how I wanted to hug that little girl and make everything alright. I thought about her future - would that mom one day be able to give her the support and love she needed not to end up like the girls waiting for the ob/gyn clinic? Was I witnessing various stages of a sad cycle?
Before I could act on any impulses to steal her and raise her as my own, we were called back to our appointment.
First off, Thomas is now nearly 36 1/2 inches tall! He's actually in the 15th percentile for height. He weighs 26.2 pounds so he's definitely on the thin side, but as I was convinced he was going to weigh 22 pounds for the rest of his life, I'll take it. Mah baybee is growing up!
This was a first visit to this doctor, a lovely lady from UNC Hospitals who travels here once a month. She honestly didn't have a lot of new ideas about how to control Thomas's daily retching, but I've come to realize that GI issues are tough. Oftentimes children will simply outgrow many of the problems and it's just a waiting game, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to watch my child gag and vomit each day. There is a medication sometimes used for kids with severe reflux that she wants to try; unfortunately, though, it acts as a sedative and I'm not certain I want to do that to Thomas. So we are back to trying new dosages of his same old meds. Beh.
During her exam the doctor asked me "Is he a happy child?" I smiled broadly when I answered unequivocally "Yes. He is a very happy child." And it is so true. Despite his difficulties, the dozens of doctors he has seen, the therapies he endures each week, the gagging and retching, and the torture inflicted by his little sister on a daily basis, Thomas is one of the happiest children I've ever known. And that's all I've ever wanted for him.
I wonder what the mother of that little girl in the waiting room would have said?