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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why do I get so excited about abnormal test results?

Maybe excited is the wrong word; maybe relieved would be a better one. Not that I'm excited that there's something wrong with my child, but it's very exciting when the results of a test confirm what we already suspect (know).
First off, she had an upper GI. Typically they would have her drink barium out of a bottle or cup and then watch to see where it goes. The reason we did it today was to rule out a hiatal hernia, which we saw no sign of during the scan. The radiologist did keep saying, "Oh, there goes some reflux... There's some more... Oh, she's refluxing again." We saw it at least 4 or 5 times in a scan that lasted less than 10 minutes when all she had in her stomach was half an ounce of barium. So again, Mommy's not crazy, she really does have "significant reflux".
After the upper GI, they flipped the x-ray table on its end and put a little foam seat on it so Raya could have her 2nd Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS). The first one back in May was a miserable failure, as in she refused and/or was unable to swallow anything. Today was thankfully a different story. I've been preparing for it for a couple of weeks now, which really just means that I haven't tried to feed her anything at all for 2 weeks. :)
We started with either the pudding or honey thickness, I can't remember which. She was polite enough to take 2 good spoonfuls from a little take & toss baby spoon and did pretty well swallowing it. I think they said there was mild pooling or a mild penetration or something like that (meaning that some of the barium briefly moved toward her airway instead of going straight down her throat).
After that we moved on to the nectar thickness from a black plastic spoon I got at Costa Vida that Raya likes to play with. She took a tiny bit from that spoon but then decided she was done & clamped her mouth shut. After I tried a couple times to get more into her mouth, I told the radiologist & speech therapist that she was in her "politely declining" phase and that we should quickly move on to the syringe if we wanted a chance of continuing without her vomiting. :)
Luckily, the syringe worked well enough to get a couple more good mouthfuls in. She held it in her mouth for several seconds and then looked at me as if to say, "I've decided that I'd like to swallow this now." :) She swallowed the nectar thickness really well though & didn't have any pooling near her airway.
After that we moved on to the barium that was the same thickness as her formula. We skipped the spoon completely & just used the syringe. On the very first swallow the speech therapist & radiologist simultaneously said, "Oh, deep penetration!" Meaning that the barium went straight towards her airway and pooled there before going down her esophagus. Meaning that again, Mommy's not crazy and she really does have difficulty swallowing thin liquids, including refluxed liquids. Obviously I'm not happy that she has this issue and every time I hear her cough or hear those wet reflux hiccups, I feel bad for her, but I'm so glad that we finally have test results that back up our suspicions.
As silly as it may sound, I'm really proud of her for swallowing that nasty, chalky barium that didn't even have cherry kool-aid mixed into it like last time. I wish I had a picture of her with white barium oozing out of the corners of her mouth and her cute little chin all covered in it but my hands were too busy feeding it to her to take pictures. :)

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