Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Boog and Medical Alphabet Soup

So, I ended the last entry with the Boog's "you ain't seen nothin' yet" look. I'd like to skip over the hour or so that followed that look as it was scary and not worthy of the breezy blog that my effervescent Boog deserves.

Suffice it to say he had a lot of trouble breathing despite the Herculean efforts of a Hagrid-sized nurse with a suction bulb, and ended up in the NICU. The week-long NICU stay, incidentally, was probably the only time in the Boog's entire life that he is ever going to feel like a giant . My 7 lb. 3 oz. "weeny white boy" as the nurses so kindly dubbed him towered over the itty bitty preemies. I thought he was some sort of mutant with a future in the NBA until I got out into the real world and saw the other chunkers roaming around the Kroger in their much-larger diapers. Anyway...

The day after he was born, the NICU doctor met with us, opened his mouth, and out poured a large bowl of medical alphabet soup. Our son, we learned, had about a thousand quirks earning him that $3000 a night posh plastic crib. Hypospadias and hydroceles were readily apparent at birth (PSA: don't wikipedia those unless you want an eyeful). Pulmonary hypertension and various organ oddities became obvious after an ultrasound. Also, the doctor felt his thumbs were wonky (okay he used the word "proximal", but I prefer wonky), his forehead was prominent, and his plentiful long, blond hair was just downright freaky (or, you know, possibly indicative of a genetic condition, whatever...).

I was readily willing to accept the medical alphabet soup, but the suggestion that my kid looked funny was particularly offensive to me. He was beautiful and his hair was a sign of superiority over the bald alien babies laying around him. In fact, I was proven right on that score, as his long hair was eventually proven to have nothing to do with his alphabet soupness and was instead just another facet of his awesome Boogness, but I digress.

As we were dealing with all of this medical madness, we also began to notice that our child was remarkably vocal. If he wasn't asleep (and sleep was rare), he was probably screaming his "prominent" little Boog head off. He looked upon my attempts at breastfeeding him as some rare and particularly sadistic form of torture. His little belly was always distended with gas, he spent half his time vomiting up his tube-fed formula and breastmilk and his diapers were, well...a colorful and varied experience in disgusting textures. No one besides Dylan and myself seemed to find this odd. They told us he was merely adjusting to life and the process of eating.

Eventually, we were allowed to take him home, but the screaming, fussiness, vomiting, and interesting diapers continued. We took him to the pediatrician who immediately suggested food allergies (more letters for that Boog soup). Sure enough, once I cut my beloved cheese and Triscuits from my diet, the diapers became much more boring and the fussiness and vomiting decreased somewhat. It was thus that he was diagnosed with dairy and wheat allergies.

We also took him to the geneticist, a very old and heavily accented spunky woman who greatly resembled Dr. Ruth. She ordered two very expensive tests and then pronounced his thumbs unwonky, his forehead unprominent, and his hair unfreaky. In other words, his genes looked fine.

At this point, we began to breathe sighs of relief. "Oh," we said to each other in our first-time parent omniscience, "thank goodness we're done with all that!"


Over the next few months, Boog alphabet soup-making continued. We saw a urologist who revealed to us that not only did Boog have hypospadias which would require surgical correction, but also double inguinal hernias, which also required surgical correction. We saw a pulmonologist, who was able to tell us the Boog's pulmonary hypertension was gone, but not what caused it in the first place. We saw an opthalmologist, who, after more expensive and Boog-angering testing, was able to tell us that the Boog has motor nystagmus which will cause his eyes to dart back and forth for most of his childhood and possibly into adulthood. We saw a hematologist who spent months testing him for Factor 11 deficiency (a rare blood disorder that runs in my family) before pronouncing him fit for surgery. We saw an otolaryngologist who revealed to us after much Boog-angering scoping, that the Boog has laryngomalacea (soft, floppy tissue around the larynx) which is what was causing his distinctive Boog growling and grunting, as well as severe GERD which combined with the food allergies to make the Boog a fountain of partially-digested breastmilk for the first several months of his life.

Eventually, after much testing and a surgery, the medical alphabet soup-making began to subside. We, again, breathed that naive sigh of relief. "Ok," we thought, "our Boog has some structural oddities, but we've handled all that, and it's all smooth-sailing from here."

I'm pretty sure the Boog laughed when he heard that thought (and yes, I am convinced my remarkable child is telepathic), for the greatest challenges, and the greatest rewards, were yet ahead of us.


  1. I am so in awe of all that you, your hubby and the Boog have gone through in the first months of his life. It sounds so cheesy but you are really an inspiration.

  2. Aw, thanks Ash! He's a really fun kid to parent and I've learned that you just gotta roll with the punches.