Patrick and Matthew were looking forward to the All Star baseball pizza party on Saturday. Matthew and Alex were able to go as well since they were “helpers” this season. It was nearing the time for them to leave (and Edward and I to have some Mommy and Me time) when Patrick announced he didn’t want to go. All he wanted was to lie on the couch. Suddenly, our day changed.
All Patrick had was a fever…in the beginning. Then, as Edward and I were playing in the other room…I heard the noises – those that make a parent run into action. The vomiting and diarrhea started. Patrick was moved to our bedroom (and the clean up began).
As part of my work day at Dayton Children’s, I meet with families and patients in helping them with boosting their intakes. Sometimes, we have to find alternative foods/meals to eat after surgery, while the child works through nausea/vomiting/diarrhea and/or if they don’t have an appetite. Surely, I can help my son through this ordeal, too.
Through the next two sleepless nights of the above plus trying to encourage intakes of Gatorade and crackers (small amounts spacing out to 15-30 minutes between sips; with vomiting to follow), we resorted to water. That is all he wanted. I knew what Patrick had to keep doing to best get through this (keep him urinating and replace lost electrolytes), however, he wasn’t working with me too well. He was becoming the kind of patient I often see.
We did call our pediatrician’s office and they confirmed we were doing well with our game plan – work on encouraging the saltines and Gatorade. Even though I am a dietitian in a hospital, I, of course, don’t have the medical knowledge of a nurse or physician. I focus on food.
I was also reminded of Jell-o (he said “No”; I remembered like him what red Gatorade looks like when reappearing) and chicken bouillon (he asked, “What is that?”) from a sister who is also a pediatric nurse. I decided to make the chicken bouillon in a cup (presentation, right??). After it cooled, I had him try it off the spoon. I told him this is the liquid we make our rice in – the rice he loves. He said, “I like it but it is too hot.” We can fix that one! I told him he had a fishing afternoon planned with his Godfather this Friday and he needed to drink the Gatorade and Chicken bouillon to help get stronger so he could go. So far, three days out, he is gradually sipping on the latter and he has taken in 1.5 saltines without anything suddenly coming back out (what an improvement!).
I have been reminded to note the red flags for dehydration and how to feed your child through vomiting and diarrhea. And, most importantly, for the house: good hand washing! Good luck to you if and when this hits your home!