2011-08-25 12:47:34 by jdixon
Chances are you don't already know this about me, but I have a son who experienced a volvulus when he was three years old. This is a dangerous obstruction of the bowel caused by congenital intestinal malrotation (in other words, the bowels get "twisted" during fetal development). If the condition turns into a volvulus, the constricted portion of bowel will lose blood flow and die. In my son's case, he lost a significant portion of his large and small intestines. To be blunt, he was within minutes of death.
Nathan was unconscious in critical care for two weeks weeks, in the hospital for seven months, and has been back at home trying to resume a normal life for the past three years. It would be an understatement to describe this as a taxing experience for our entire family. The first couple years required my wife to quit her job and become his home nurse. Either of us would be up all hours of the night administering drugs, vitamins and refilling the pump that provides his nutritional formula.
The routine has eased over the last year, primarily in frequency and volume of administrations. But it still required staying up past midnight, every night, refilling his formula and managing the pump. One of the common conditions of short gut patients is an aversion to eating. Like anyone who's broken a joint, it can require months of rehabilitation. We arranged for an eating therapist to visit weekly, helping us work with Nathan to overcome his fears and get comfortable with the act of chewing and swallowing. It's an acutely frustrating process, especially for someone like me who has no problem with eating (wink).
Slowly and surely, he's increased his daily intake of "normal" food. What started as a few Cheerios (literally) eaten by hand a year ago, has increased to 1450 calories this past Saturday. His diet is still but a shadow compared to that of the average six year-old, but it's expanding each week.
And then, just this morning, the doctor informed my wife this morning that Nathan no longer has to use the formula pump at all. None of us expected this. I cried when I heard the news. I'm fighting back tears as I type these words. I can see daylight after all.
I hope this doesn't read as overly melodramatic. Truth be told, I didn't sit down to write this story for anyone else. But it feels good to write it down. To let the pain and joy and frustration and relief just pour out into the keyboard. It feels damn good.
You'll have to excuse me now. I'm going to take my son out for a hot dog. It's gonna be a great day.