Friday, 22 January 2010

Monkey Medical Madness

What a week!  Thursday to Thursday we had 6 medical appointments... one was for me, the rest were for Monkey.  He was a trooper, he behaved himself (mostly) for all of his appointments and chatted to doctors, nurses, anyone that would listen.  So, here is the catch up post... mostly for my benefit, I can't remember many details from the other two going through this stuff but bits are coming back as we go through it all again.

Last Thursday we had Monkey and I at the GP for our needles, I got mine (and a whopper of a bruise), Monkey got a referral for a nasal swab to check for Whooping Cough.  Friday I took him for the swab.  I took my sweet friend Em with me so she could sit with the big boys in the waiting room while I went in with Spike.  WOW, I have never had or taken anyone for a nasal swab... it's like they are swabbing his brain it goes so far in!  He didn't particularly like it but he got over the repulsion of what had happened to him pretty quickly with some cuddles.

Monday he had a follow up appointment at the Paediatrician to check how his head shape was going and his reflux.  We were given the all-clear to take him off the reflux medicine since we had been weaning him off it with no ill effects and the locum paediatrician, Dr Matt didn't measure his head since the first measurements, taken at about 8 weeks, were inaccurate because he wouldn't cooperate.  He did say that from Dr Jenny's reports compared to what he was seeing things didn't look bad at all, although he couldn't measure improvement.  He offered to write a referral to the guy that does the helmets but I said I would talk to Wolf about it because I didn't think we really felt it was warranted because it is so slight and once he has hair no one will be able to tell at all... it's not like anyone except me notices now anyway.  He did, however, do all his measurements and found that he is between the 5th and 10th percentile for his weight and that worried him, although he's just below the 50th for his length and somewhere up 60-70th for his head.  I explained that all my boys have stayed low on the chart for their weight.  They turn a corner just before 6 months and then pick up even more when they start solids.  He seemed mostly satisfied with it being a genetic thing and wanted a follow up at 6 months to check.  He told me to do what I could to fatten him up but don't stress about it.

Thursday this week in the morning we trooped off to the physio for another check up for Monkey's muscle tone.  She was happy mostly but wants him now to practice putting weight on his whole arms, laying on his chest he needs to be able to bear his weight on his hands until his belly is getting off the ground.  He needs to keep practicing rolling to both sides and when he turns his head to the right he needs to be able to keep it there (he's doing really good, I think it was just his big brothers distracting him that he wouldn't do it for her).  I asked her about his head shape and she said that although he has almost completely lost the flat spot on the back there is about a 3mm difference between his left and right measurements and at 5mm they start to suggest a helmet so she wants us to at least get him looked at by the ortho specialist guy and make our decision after that.  Her reasoning was that she didn't want us, when he's 3 and it's too late, to be saying "we should have...".  I can understand that point and we now have to make an appointment with him... and a follow up physio appointment just before 6 months by which point she would like him to be supporting himself sitting up (or at least trying to because he is happy to flop back to the floor now), be holding himself up on his hands, rolling confidently back to front, front to back and both left and right.

Thursday afternoon we had an appointment with the GP because his swab came back clear so we needed to get those needles!  He said all was fine for the needles but was concerned about his weight.  He then said the 'S' word... "Supplement Feeding".  I'm not against formula, or supplement feeding, but I cant see how a dairy cow like me who never has a shortage of milk should NEED to supplement any feeds.  He is always allowed to eat until he's full, as often as he wants, there's no shortage, how can a supplemental feed help?  The doctor was worried, though, about our routine... it pretty much breaks down to 2 hourly, 24 hours a day.  I know it sounds horrible and yes, I do have chronic sleep deprivation but it's unlikely to change with one extra feed a day.  I am of the opinion that it is very much genetic, combined with him being a VERY active little guy, who is showing no other problems that can be attributed to low weight.  The nurse was lovely and made sure I wasn't stressed or panicky about it, I assured her I was fine.  Dr R gave us two little cartons of formula that should do us 4 nights to see how he takes to it and wanted to see us in a couple of weeks.  Then we went for our needles... or his needles.  He takes the oral medicine really well, but he's been taking his reflux medicine off a spoon for ages.  He did not like his needles.  When the nurse saw the bruise I got from my needles she was so worried that I would think she was too rough that she dashed out of the room before I could say anything and got another nurse to give Monkey his needles.  I assured her that I didn't think that and it's just the way I am.

Last night we tried him on the first bottle of formula, he did not like it.  We tried Wolf giving it to him first, then me, then Wolf again, he got the funniest look on his face like he felt betrayed that we were trying to poison him or something.  I assured him it was good to drink and would make him nice and chubby but sometimes assurance from mummy can't even make it work.  Tonight was the same deal, I tried, Wolf tried, he just wouldn't have a bar of it.  Okay, tomorrow night we try again, and the next night and if it's still not working for His Royal Highness then I we stick with my plan...  Cashews, Avocado, Fenugreek, lots more water and try to get a bit more rest...

So from this week of appointments we have one follow up with the GP, one with the Paed, one with the Physio and a whole new guy to go and see about Monkey's head.  Fun times, fun times.  I have also learnt that you should not go to the doctors or the hospital with a bruise on your arm that looks like it could be from a thumb where someone has grabbed your arm.  I lost count of how many times I was asked what it was from!  Monkey also got MANY comments on the size of his head "oh, he does have a large head, doesn't he".  I do produce little bobble-heads, sit them on the dashboard and watch them go!

Now it's off to put one part of my plan in place... rest.


  1. Oh gosh,I really hope all falls into place. I have a 5th percentiler but he has very low muscle tone. The Neurologist said I should not worry about his weight if I can see a little roll of fat on the inside of his leg. Those weight tables are not adjusted if there is a muscle tone problem and are totally inaccurate to that effect.

  2. I think Monkey looks perfectly proportioned. He is a little guy but he has more time for growing and once he starts solids he will probably chub up like his big brother Dragon (I remember his three chins with a rash from all the drool).

    Don't stress about the formula. A happy baby is more important if you think he is content with his eating. They wanted Cousin Wilbie on formula but after a while he turned into a fatty without the supplement feeding. If Monkey was really hungry he probably wouldn't be as strong and as active as he appears to be when I see him.

    I so haven't noticed the head thing. You'll have to point it out to me sometime.

  3. Love the piccy's.

    I'm off to bed too. Hope the resting bit worked out.

  4. lol and you said we had heaps of medical appts..

    And in regards to monkey and his head and weight...have you ever heard the saying 'mother knows best?' I think if YOU his MOTHER feels there is no issue with his head or his weight then thats all that matters. Especially when your other boys were the same..
    anyway that's my 2bob

  5. You sure have been busy. It's good to see that everyone is taking an interest, but it's also good to take all that advice in mind with your own feelings and impressions. Like that the charts aren't designed to allow for differences in muscle mass. And you guys are working on that.
    I'm not a breast feeding expert, but I do remember something. Could changing the length between feeding allow for more fatty milk to form and therefore you can keep Monkey happy that way? ABA has lots more accurate information. Please feel free to dismiss unsolicited advice.
    Glad to hear Monkey's reflux is settling down. He does look adorable with his loving brother.

  6. The comment from Peta reminded me -our doctor when you and Chimera were little (pre Romeo) always asked me what I thought and felt. He said that mothers' intuition is usually very reliable and should not be easily dismissed.
    I'd forgotten about Dragon's chin layers and drool rash until Kate mentioned it. Good point!
    Great photo series. Now we need to follow it up with a similar serious every few years - just a thought. It would be great to look back on in, say, 25 years.

  7. Wow, I wouldn't worry about a big head. My Tommy has a huge head. I do so many CT's for increased head circumfrence sometimes I think it is rediculous.

    Monkey is trooper he'll be fine.

    I had do drink the Mothers milk tea, I was NOT a moo cow, Low supply here. If he is hungry enough he drink it. Just go leave him with grams and gramps, oh and a bottle of course.

  8. Yikes, DR's up the wazoo, wait that's Nurse Boys department, and yours just seemed to fiddle around with heads, thank goodness.

    I say Mummy needs to eat more ice cream and chocolate that's sure to help fatten up a Monkey.

    I think third children are destined to be our trial. They just seem to fill that spot.

  9. At first I thought you'd written that you'd had 6 medical appointments ON Thursday. 6 in one week is more than enough!

  10. Oh, my, what a week! I've been snowed under with teaching these last few weeks, so I only get to pop over every now and then. Monkey is absolutely gorgeous, with those big eyes.... (as are Lion and Dragon). I can't remember what Hannah's weight was.... I know it was always pretty low compared to her height.

  11. Wow! You have been at the pediatrician more than not it seems these days!!

    I would stick to your instincts where the supplemental feed is concerned. You know your kids and if this is typical I wouldn't be concerned. These doctors go by text books and don't know our kids like we do.

  12. Those Dr.s keep you busy don't they. I know how stressful it can be to worry about whether or not he's getting enough, but he really looks perfectly normal. Hope you get it all sorted out soon.

    My six year old could've probably used one of those helmets, he still has a flat spot, but I think it gives him character. ;)


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