The Realities of Reflux…


My husband always jokes that he can tell what kind of a day it has been by peeking out onto the back deck to see what has been hosed down during the day…

However, some weeks are too much for even humor to salvage. Anyone who has raised a child (or two or three) suffering from reflux knows this. There are days where you literally feel that if your child throws up just one more time … if you have to start lunch over just once more … steam clean that patch of carpet ever again … start that washing machine up for yet another load … hose down the high chair a third time before noon … spend one more day smelling like rancid dairy products …

Well … you feel that it will surely be the end of you. One more puke-related occurrence will cause you to spontaneously combust into subatomic particles and the thought just about sends you into a panic attack as you stand there wondering who will clean up that mess before it dawns on you that if it actually happened, it wouldn’t be your job to worry about it anymore.

Please tell me I’m not just talking to myself here…

Anyway, that’s the sort of week I had. Actually, that’s the sort of month I’ve had. I would say that it’s the sort of last six years that I’ve had, but that might encourage my subatomic particles to start doing things they shouldn’t.

We are now living Life With The Refluxing Child Part II, and for some reason I’m having a harder time accepting it this time around. I guess because maybe I feel we’ve already paid our dues in the puke department. I don’t know … really it just boils down to the fact that I am t-i-r-e-d. I just want to be able to hand my kid a grilled cheese sandwich and move on with the rest of life.

But that’s just not how it’s done in RefluxLand. Noooooooooo.

Not even close.

We poke at our food. Make faces at it. Shudder. Throw in a gag or two to see how fast we can make Mommy dive for the blue Rubbermaid tub. Protest with wild flinging of hands, arms and legs when dinner has finally been pureed and spoon-feeding has been resorted to. Gag and cough and make horrified little faces because Mom has been so mean as to deliberately add fork-mashed chunks to a perfectly good puree. Swallow each spoonful — except for the very last two. Throw up our entire meal on that second-to-last spoonful. Then we peek around the corner into the kitchen and wonder how long Mommy is going to stand there banging her head against the cabinet before she tries again.

That’s how we do it in Refluxland.

And there you have it. A concise summary of my week.

As I stood outside on the deck a few evenings ago, hosing off the fourth change of clothes for the two of us that day, I lost it. I sat down on the step, icy cold water from the hose running across my ankles into the bark-dust below and I cried. I bawled, wishing I could make it stop. Knowing that I couldn’t.

Worrying about the next step.

Worrying about what will happen if we run out of steps and the puking never stops.

And then like always, I stopped crying. Because I had to. Because I’m the mom. The grown up.

I went back inside and fed him dinner. Again. Then again. And then we were finally done. The day was finally over. No more feedings, no more pukes for another 12 hours. I pulled him up from his high chair and cradled my putrefied little tyke over one shoulder as I scooted the high chair out onto the deck for a fifth dousing with the hose. Then we headed down the hall toward the bathroom to indulge in the only cure I know for a puke-filled day — bath time.

Soon he was all cleaned up, hair freshly combed and tucked into a soft, cozy sleeper. We cuddled in our creaking rocker. Stories were read and lullabies were sung. As I held him close, the soft scent of baby lotion and lavender bubble bath reminded me with each inward breath — the job that mere moments before had seemed unbearable and impossible was really something I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.

As I placed him down in his crib, I drank in one last whiff of baby and bubble bath and it was enough. Somehow, the world had become a beautiful place again and the next day would take care of itself.


On a positive note, the ferns planted around the edges of our deck appear to be thriving…


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