Pyloric stenosis – some crazy stories

It might be time to pass on a few of the fun stories I have collected over the years … after all, “tis the season to be jolly” isn’t it?

Traumatic experiences affect us deeply and can have very serious effects.  Having a baby with pyloric stenosis (“PS”) or any serious health condition or disability is always an anxious and stressful time for parents, and some of us have (or have had) continuing physical or emotional problems – this is no laughing matter.

But it’s good to know that funny things can also happen to us in the midst of dark times.

In several previous posts I wrote that many of us who had PS surgery had an emergency baptism before we went under the knife.  I also mentioned how Christian faith would have supported my parents through their tears over me.

But there are also strange and sad stories about some people-of-faith, sometimes told with a good dose of good humor, sometimes related with continuing bitterness.

parents_argue_1I’m 27 years old and this is a 100% true story that my mom just told me for the first time ever.  When I was about 2 or 3 weeks old, I was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis … Basically, anything my mom tried to feed me would be shot back up, projectile style.  Considering I couldn’t eat anything without vomiting, I wouldn’t have survived very long.

When my mom got the diagnosis from the doctor, she was at home.  The phone call came in and the doctor urged her to bring me to the hospital for immediate surgery.  She went straight to my dad and told him she was taking me to the hospital.  His response was, “Don’t take him to the doctors.  God will sort this out.”  Luckily, my mom has a fully functioning brain and pretty much told him to f*** off because she was taking me no matter what he believed.  Also luckily, my dad wasn’t forceful in trying to stop her from taking me to the hospital.

The doctors performed the fairly common procedure and here I am today, alive.  My dad is still a “crazy” believer and has since become a Jehovah’s Witness.  About 8 years ago he shunned us all for not believing in what he believes and told me his new family is the bible (as he held it up proudly).  I’ve only talked to him about 3-5 times since then, with the last time being around 2-3 years ago.  My mom left him when I was about 4 years old due to his ridiculous religious perspective on life.  Hooray for religion tearing families apart!

And to remind us that that even doctors can be crazy, somebody wrote this response –

This is strangely eerie.  I had pyloric when I was 10 days old.  The doctor said the same thing, that it was normal and God would make it all disappear in time.  My dad and mom argued with him, though.  Then another (more educated) doctor came in, and apparently told that dude he was a dumbass and pointed out what I had…  I do not thank God for my life, I thank that doctor.  I honestly wish I knew what his name was, I’ll have to ask my parents when I speak with them next.  Pyloric is pretty uncommon, I’ve heard, and fairly hard to identify by a normal, general practitioner…

And this was another response –

I had pyloric when I was 3 weeks old, my Mum read about in a book, and went to the doctors.  They didn’t believe her so she pushed it and went to the hospital, they identified it and I got operated right after.  Moral: Thank God my mum was educated unlike the GP….

Many stories on the web are from people who never realised they have had PS until their baby becomes gravely ill – strange but true!

Question-marks1…my little daughter D got taken into hospital few weeks ago now and cutting a long story short she had to have an operation on her stomach due to a muscular block, so hence … I’ve been in and out of the Children’s Hospital.  So she has had me and P worried sick as you could imagine.  The good news is she is out of hospital now but she wasn’t able to keep anything down for over a week due to this stomach problem, pyloric stenosis.

This is more common in boys, and I was later to learn that this is what I had as a baby myself, which I only found out due to them asking if anyone else in the family had had this as it is hereditary thing.  I’ve had a scar on my stomach since I was little but never really knew what it was for, only that I was told I was sick as a baby and had to have an operation.  It never even crossed my mind that it had anything to do with this.  We both thought that she just not well and that’s why D wasn’t keeping her food down.

When PS is well-represented in a family, there are no such mysteries –

parent-talking-to-childSeveral vomitting episodes and hours later, I explained to my pediatrician’s partner that I knew what the problem was: pyloric stenosis.  I had it, as did my mother, my oldest brother, my great-grandfather, and two cousins.  This is a hardening of the valve leading from the stomach which prevents digestion, enlarges the stomach, and causes projectile vomitting.

The doctor told me that it can be difficult for a “new mother” to tell spit up and vomitting apart (would he like to see my sheets?)…

Finally, another story about PS and baptism, this one with a twist.

Pyloric stenosis runs in my dad’s family.  My youngest brother had it, and two of my dad’s cousins, and several of my grandfather’s cousins.  My brother’s symptoms started the day that my parents had him baptised.  He started projectile vomiting immediately after the ceremony.  My other brother and I always said it was because he’s demon possessed and the holy water burned.  Of course, it doesn’t help that my parents chose the same name for as the name given to “Rosemary’s Baby.” 

Note: I’m grateful to the people whose posts and forum comments I’ve quoted in this post. Links to their posts are available on request.

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2 thoughts on “Pyloric stenosis – some crazy stories

  1. Wendy

    Great stories! My mother told my obstetrician that I’d been projectile vomiting my food, and she replied that my mother wasn’t nursing me properly. My mother had nursed my brother just fine, so Mom knew this doctor was full of BS. She started researching and found an article by Dr. Spock, which allowed my mother to make the right diagnosis. Luckily soon after, my brother’s pediatrician showed up to do a house call (remember those?!). He looked in on me and confirmed my mother’s hunch. Thank god for MOMS and good doctors!

    Reply
  2. Fred Vanderbom Post author

    Ah, memories!
    Recall 1: I do remember that doctors used to do house calls, but as we were a healthy family it rarely happened at our place. One of my earliest and very few memories of a doctor calling at our place was to staple a cut on the back of my head after a fall when I was (probably) 5… you wouldn’t dream of that happening nowadays!
    Recall 2: When I grew up Spock was next to the Bible on every family bookshelf. I got my first explanation of pyloric stenosis from Dr Spock – read when I was babysitting somewhere – my parents had the Bible but not Spock.
    Wendy, mothers of PS babies are routinely guilt tripped even today: you don’t know how to feed a baby, you’re over-anxious, don’t you know all babies spit up? It seems to be the doctor’s first line of defence, even when the mother has done some homework, has gained confidence with an earlier bub, and (stranger still) even when PS is in the family. Some oddities are amazing indeed!

    Reply

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