Some more oddities – with a dash of humour

A baby with pyloric stenosis is far from funny for the anxious parents.  Pregnancy, giving birth and learning the ways of the little stranger who has moved in with you bring more than enough stress.  Who wants their new baby to vomit with increasing violence no matter what paediatricians and baby health sisters suggest?

But some of us who have had surgery for pyloric stenosis (“PS”) grow up to discover we have not only a scar and perhaps other long-term effects, but also a sense of humour.  However, even some of the humorous anecdotes show a trace of the annoyance (to put it diplomatically) about matters that this blogsite has often mentioned.

Here is a selection of the delightful stories and cryptic comments I have discovered …

Story 1

Baby stunned1My scar is from my first drinking story from when I was three months old.  I had Pyloric Stenosis, and was projectile vomiting because my lower stomach muscle closed.  The Doctors had to operate and cut out a section of my stomach.  When the Doctor was finished, he handed me to my mother, which was when she smelled scotch, and believed that he had been drinking.  I guess he saw the worried expression on her face, and he said, “No no, I gave it to the baby.  A small child can die from anesthesia, so I gave Nathan the scotch.”  So that’s the first time I drank.

When I was 20, I saw someone with this same scar, and it was exciting to see that.

Story 2

I was born premature and jaundiced due to mother’s Rh- blood type, and nicknamed “Dormouse” by the nurses (yellowy and curled up!): Sick, very sick.  I had a pyloric stenosis which causes projectile vomiting but wasn’t diagnosed till I was at death’s door.  My parents were reassured by the paediatrician daughter of one of Grannie’s bridge friends that Pyloric babies were as tough as old boots once they’d had their surgery – so I acquired two nicknames before I got my official ones – when I was about 3 or 4 I refused to answer to “Tuffy”.

Story 3

Baby worried1I want to let all parents know about a sickness in infants that most doctors don’t even know about.  It is when the muscle in the stomach works more than it should and then it squeezes the intestine off and won’t allow food through, which in turn starves the child…  Watch for vomiting, no bowel movement, weight loss, and painful crying.

I have had two boys with it and both times I had to fight to get the doctors to listen to me.  We came within 8 hours of losing the first child because the doctors had never heard of it.  My second son had a better chance because I knew the signs, but the doctors told me there was 1 in 2 million chance he had the same thing as my first son, so we again nearly lost him.  I don’t want this to happen to anyone else so I hope this post gets to a lot of people.  Oh, and it is mostly found it white baby boys although I don’t tend to trust what the doctors say anymore.

My boys are doing wonderful now.  Thank God. when I brought the youngest home from his surgery his big brother saw his cut and showed us his and told us that brother must have had his doctor because he cut him too.  Now he is always showing everyone his scar and letting them see his brother’s.  It’s cute.  My husband told him when we brought his brother home he couldn’t touch the cut and that got it all started.  Then when he started asking why my husband told him that it was so everyone could tell they were brothers and just alike in some ways.

Story 4

Baby knowing1Perhaps this story, which Joe says may be a myth, best captures his life.

“I was born with pyloric stenosis and born at a time when it was a fatal disease.  Although Dr. Flood, the greatest infant surgeon at Mt Zion Hospital, would perform the surgery when I was 6 days old, the hospital staff told my parents to prepare for the worst and buy a casket.

When I didn’t die, my Uncle Vinny threw a party…  They threw the tiny casket in the fireplace, things got out of control, and the house burnt down.”

Story 5

Baby surprised1I had PS as a baby back in 1974.  It is far more common in male children.  Girls have a 1/1000 chance of having it.  Ha ha, forget the lottery, but I was the lucky one to have the blockage. It was quite serious in my case because the doctors failed to diagnose it right away.  They thought my mother was a nervous first-time mom and ignored her concerns that I wouldn’t burp, but had projectile vomiting etc… Finally at 5 weeks of age, my esophagus ruptured from vomiting and I was rushed in for emergency exploratory surgery.  By that point I had a 50/50 chance of surviving the surgery.  The problem was corrected, but to this day I have a lovely scar from stem to stern.

Story 6 – from an older doctor after cancer surgery –

It’s a rush but life is full of risk.  A doctor friend enjoys riding his motor cycle at high speed in the mountains, too.  In the past, I’ve spent two and a half hours in the water, in bad seas, in the Pacific, without so much as a life jacket, after a sailing accident and been rescued by a fishing boat, against all odds – so the forty-nine years since, have been a bonus.  …… maybe when I nearly vomited to death from pyloric stenosis in 1937 at the age of five weeks was my first crisis… 

baby quizzical1This morning I did a pre-operative clinic, which, like all my work I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was actually quite amusing when I interviewed a lady in her forties who had undergone complicated surgery.  She showed her now healed but very widely scarred midline abdominal incision to me.  I mentioned that I also had one just four weeks old in 1937.  She indicated that she would be interested in viewing my nicely healed narrow scar so I showed her the upper part of it for a second.  I don’t suppose that constitutes unethical conduct and it is a really good scar!

Story 7 – takes my prize (just!)

Baby disgusted1When I was an infant of seven weeks’ age I had abdominal surgery.  They sewed me up with tiny little stitches but as I got bigger, so did the scars the stitches left.  I have a line of four strange little puckered scars on my abdomen that look like old stab wounds.  Of course most people never see them, but on those occasions when they do – at poolside, for instance – my scars are a source of great evil fun.  When someone asks about the scars, I tell them:

“When I was seven years old, I spent the summer on my grandpa’s farm.  My cousins and I were in the barn taking turns jumping out of the loft into a pile of hay – but we didn’t know that someone had left a pitchfork in the hay, and its tines were pointing straight up – “

I’ve never been able to finish this creative tale because the listener always BEGS me to stop here.  I love doing this! 

Remark 1

Baby laughing1I had pylorics, so did my son and 16 other family members; unfortunately one did pass away but it was back in the 50’s.  And doctors are still saying it’s not hereditary, lol, i think our family has proved them somewhat wrong.

Remark 2

I had PS in ’71.  Fixed.  Fixed too good.  Now I have a gastric bypass, so it turns out the surgery was unnecessary, but it served me well for 40 years.

Note: I’m grateful to the people whose posts and forum comments I have quoted in this and the previous posts.  Links to the references are available on request.

3 thoughts on “Some more oddities – with a dash of humour

  1. Wendy

    Wonderful stories and fun photos! Please send me a link to one of the forums where some of these stories emerged. I’d like to get on board.

  2. Fred Vanderbom Post author

    Thanks for letting me know of your enjoyment – I rather obviously had a ball putting it all together! Because of the cute photos (all from the public domain) WordPress even included this post in one of its selection to show on the promo page they sometimes send me when I log on… don’t know whether this page is just for me or general.
    Wendy, several of the stories were posted on people’s blogsites; I’ve added links to those I found on discussion forums. Often (and my occasional editing permitting) a search for several well chosen consecutive words will also take you to an interesting-looking site.


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