Tuesday, July 21, 2009
taming mama bear
my baby bear cub
We Ballasts grow our babies big -- by 18 months, Dexter weighed as much as an average three-year-old. Over the last three weeks I have watched my chubby boy lose his thigh rolls, his chipmunk cheeks, and his pot belly. I keep staring at him, reassuring myself that he is still the same kid, even though his t-shirt is baggy and his face is slim. The doctors promise me that he'll be back to his chunky self in no time... I sure hope so, as we're counting on his NFL salary for our retirement.
Part of the weight loss is due to the symptoms of the parasite (vomiting, etc), and part of it is because he has been on complete "gut rest" (i.e. no food or drink) for 24 hours at a time at a few different points in this ordeal. I almost prefer the former to the latter. As much as I hate to see him vomit (especially when it is on my favorite pillow, thanks buddy), anything is better than denying my child food. I have an almost visceral reaction when he begs for bananas and toast; the instincts kick in and it's all I can do to keep Mama Bear at bay. Praise God that we seem to be past the need for any more gut rest, as Dexter has kept down all the elemental formula he has gotten through his NG tube. Today we will see how he does drinking the formula, and if he can do this well then we'll be home before long.
As we walk through this experience, I can't help but think about the millions of people who go through this without the benefit of modern medicine. Mothers around the world watch their children beg for food, and unlike me, they don't know if their child's stomach will ever be full again. Without access to IV fluids and antibiotics a simple bout of diarrhea can be fatal for children in third-world countries. I'm sorry for being so depressing, but in light of recent events I have a new perspective on these realities and particularly what mothers in these situations must endure.
If you want to help children and families around the world who don't have access to adequate nutrition, clean water, or medical services, I highly suggest you consider sponsoring a child through Compassion or World Vision, or making a donation to any of the amazing charities that provide clean-water wells in developing countries. A little goes a long way, and it would be such a blessing if Dexter's situation could help stir people to take action for children who don't have the medical care that we do.