When poo is a four-letter word

08/02/2010 at 11:30 am | Posted in Motherhood, Small Fry | 11 Comments

There is so much swimming around in my head right now, I might pass out.

First, my kid hasn’t pooped in 60 hours.

Poo. I know.

I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t use this blog to write about Small Fry’s bodily functions, but a) they’re either too funny, or b) they’re taking a toll on my mental health.

Today, it’s b.

Our little adventure to the mountains, the mom-and-daughter road trip I couldn’t wait for, ended with a visit to the emergency room.

We had a ball with Nana on the farm. Small Fry fed the goats and picked vegetables from the garden. We rode in the Polaris and swung in a tree swing. The weather was too perfect for words. Sunny and 75 degrees all day Friday.

It was wonderful.

Then: Saturday. We’ve just finished our descent down the mountain, and Small Fry is happily chatting and singing from the back seat when she vomits so violently I nearly swerve off the road.

She does it again. And again.

All the while, I’m frantically trying to find a place to pull over, eventually lodging the car along a rural road, squarely in front of someone’s driveway.

I couldn’t grab her fast enough. The look on her face — and the color of her pallid skin– scared the shit out of me. I stripped her down, and while she was standing in her diaper in the rain, she puked again.

I can’t remember how many times I changed her clothes or how many of my own t-shirts I draped over her to keep her warm.

My mind just couldn’t keep up with her stomach.

Every time I’d get her situated, warm and comfy, she’d throw up all over again.

And each time, she’d whimper “No.” As in, no more. Please stop.

My heart strains just writing this.

After about 45 minutes of this, when she began to dry heave and her eyes started closing, I decided I needed help. It had gone on far too long and wasn’t showing signs of stopping.

I called 911, and the operator (a lovely woman whose grace I will never forget) guided me to the nearest hospital, which thank the lord, was only a few miles away.

I didn’t cry until I saw the ER signs. But as quickly as the sensation washed over me, it vanished. No time to process this yet, Suzanne, just keep going. You’re doing the right thing.

Three nurses swarmed us and led us to a private room, where they nimbly did everything short of performing an operation. One fired questions at me, while another took Small Fry’s vital signs,while yet another fluffed the bed’s pillows and draped a warmed blanket over the both of us, lovingly ignoring the fact that both my child and I were vomit-stained and rain-soaked.

The story gets better quickly. I promise.

Small Fry vomited only a few more times inside the hospital, and finally it quit after about two hours. They ran x-rays of her abdomen and discovered A LOT of poop in her colon. She willingly took an anti-nausea pill, and after a while of sleeping on my chest, she drained a cup of Gatorade and ate some ice chips. When it seemed that everything was staying down, we were discharged.

The diagnosis? Food poisoning, coupled with severe constipation.

Soon after we got back into the car (which smelled like something I can’t even find the words to describe), Small Fry was fast asleep. I contemplated staying the night in a hotel, but decided to press on while she slept soundly.

Home. Marc. Relief.

With visions of Small Fry vomiting in her sleep that night, I camped out in her room. Sleeping on an air mattress with a feverish toddler is much like trying to sleep on a deflating raft with a tiny, thrashing fire-breathing dragon.

The next morning, she woke up back to herself. Chipper, in fact. She wouldn’t eat much, but we plied her with plenty of Pedialyte/prune juice/apple juice cocktails.

But still no poo.

It’s a lose-lose situation: stay away from the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) so that her colon can work, BUT also she needs those foods to help her embattled stomach get back to normal.

Without further detail (because really, you’ve had enough, right?), if she doesn’t drop a load today, we’re going to the doctor.

So, the other stuff in my head?

Like work and BlogHer and my volunteer commitments this week?

It all will have to keep swimming laps.



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  1. I have no words. That is just scary. I can’t imagine a worse scenario of being on the road without help and a little one so sick.

    I hope Small Fry continues to feel better. I hope you can find a moment to come up for air too. Just keep swimming!

  2. I had a wretched stomach bug a few months ago, and didn’t “do the doo” for 4 or 5 days.
    I didn’t know what to do, so finally I called the pharmacist and they suggested this stuff at CVS. I don’t remember the name of it, but it is almost like a cherry soda that you can drink. I bought that and some pills that make you go at the drop of a hat. They worked wonders. I didn’t leave the vacinity of the restroom for awhile, but it helped.
    I don’t know the age for those, but I can’t imagine the juice-like stuff to not be ok for little ones. The other was a pill to swallow, so I don’t know if she would be able to take it or not. Definitely call the pharmacist and find out.
    Hope her system gets back to normal. It’s no fun for baby OR mommy when the kiddos are sick!! I hate it when my 4 year old is down and out.
    Sending well wishes your way!!

  3. Oh no! That sounds awful. You definitely did the right thing. Sending poo thoughts your way for Small Fry!

  4. Poor kids, both of you! In all my prep-ing for baby out of the womb, I learned kiddie constipation is a very real and serious issue. Hope things start moving soon!

  5. am calling marc now (1:45 pm mon) for an update…hoping and praying for news of improvements

  6. I’m so sorry you both had to experience that. It’s so scary when your baby vomits like that. B only did it once and it was just terrible.

    Hopefully she goes soon! Maybe the doc will suggest half a cap of Miralax. You’ll be amazed at how well it works for little ones.

    Prayers with you both!

  7. wow, suzanne! so glad you were able to find help so close by. do you know the source of the food poisoning? can’t imagine her little belly right now — sending you good vibes that it will “work” out soon. let me know if I can help! We have a lot of experience w/GI issues in our house πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks for all of the love and advice, you guys. Can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me. We’re headed to the doctor in a couple of hours. Promise to post an update!

  9. Suzanne! I can’t imagine how frightening that had to be. Hope y’all all the way off the big scary mountain before the sickness became consuming. Really – this post just breaks my heart.

    Could ask a bajillion questions, but will end with saying you’re an amazing woman & mom.

  10. Oh you poor things! I would have been scared to death but you did the right thing– getting help! I’m so glad she’s feeling better– you’ll have to let us know if she goes to the doctor and how’s she doing. Who knew poo could rule the lives of mommies this much? (hugs hugs hugs)

  11. Such a sad story! Sorry you guys had to go through this horrible episode 😦

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