Grace has weeks where she throws up multiple times in the day and night. It’s a mystery. She’s happy, chatty, no fever, not sick and then -BLEEEEEEH!!!!- it’s, like, EEEEEEEEverywhere. The other day, she threw up in the car on a roadtrip and we had no choice but to drive the next hour until we could get to our friend’s house and bathe her. She continued to vomit and, poor boys, her brothers were utterly mortified. Jack got sprayed a bit and now, he will only sit in the front seat when she’s in the car. Can’t blame him.
The past few nights, she’s vomitted multiple times in her sleep. Sometimes we catch it, other times, she doesn’t make a peep and we just discover it in the morning.
It all sounds quite horrific, but she’s still laughing, smiling and happy. And that’s the measuring stick I use when deciding if I’m gonna freak out or not.
Why does she have these periods of puke? I just think she just gets reflux once in a while. We have a family history of dairy intollerance. I’m mostly dairy free and I have the odd cheese here and there, but every so often, my body reminds me why I should be completely dairy free because I get horrible pains in my stomach, reflux, bloating…the works. Grace’s diet is heavy on dairy because it makes things creamy and edible and provides easy calories. When she has a tube feed, that’s dairy as well.
Also, in the winter she gets a bit bunged up with phlegm and doesn’t have the physical ability to do anything with it. So she coughs –> gags –> vomits. And this is how she clears her chest. It’s not even vomit – just congestion.
But vomitting in itself isn’t what this post is about. I want to tell you a few tips for handling a lifestyle of vomit.
Layers. When Grace is having a puky week, I dress her in layers that can simply be stripped off in the event of a pukisode. I have to catch it fast, though, or it permeates the layers.
Catch it. Literally, I catch vomit. I keep her near me when she’s likely to vomit and as soon as she coughs, I bowl a towel under her chin and catch. Makes for quite an exciting challenge. They should add it to those crazy asian gameshows. Eat a cockroach, catch some vomit.
Barf scarf. It’s a heckuva lot easier to wash a scarf than clothes. So I wrap Grace in a scarf on a barfy day. This also protects her harness on her wheelchair which is pretty hard to go without while it sits on the radiator drying. Just whip the scarf off and throw it in the wash.
Gaviscon. I give her child Gaviscon in her PEG tube when she’s having a rough week.
Bedtime. At night, I cover her pillow in a fleece blanket (things don’t soak through fleece as easily) and lay a blanket over her sheet. I keep her hair up. This doesn’t really make it too much easier. We still have to bathe her in the night or morning, but at least we don’t have to wash her pillows or completely strip the bed. And she smells good after her multiple baths!
Upright. She’s pretty much always upright, anyway. But she has a hospital bed so we prop her up a bit to sleep.
Laugh. If you don’t laugh, you cry. Apart from the moment she’s actually chucking it up, it doesn’t really bother Grace. The sight of Grace with a puke beard, laughing at me freaking out is all it takes to make me lighten up. If she’s not bothered, then I’m not bothered. She gets extra baths, the laundry gets done and I get to curse at Rett Syndrome a few extra times that day.
Do you have tips for dealing with your child’s vomit? Post them in the comments!