Head to Toe

vesicoureteral reflux Two out of three of my children have what we simply call kidney reflux, or vesicoureteral reflux. This sounds really horrible, so I am going to explain it in quack terms, but remember, I really don’t know what I am talking about. I say that from the beginning. So you can read this if you want, or skip over to the blog of someone more intelligent or with a medical degree.

When we pee, it comes OUT of our urethra. Sometimes, your wee-wee will go back UP into your kidneys. This is called “reflux.” None of my kids had the esophagus kind, but I’m assuming it is the same concept, where milk or formula goes down and comes back up. In the kidney kind, there are five stages of it. My kids have had level two with five being the worst.

Now, the thing is that wee-wee going back in is not the way God intended our biology to work. We are designed to get rid of it. Unless you are on the Jackass show, that is the plan. So, if all of a sudden, your child is screaming for no reason and running a fever of 103 or higher, ask your doctor to do a urine culture. DO NOT listen when they say, “teething,” DO NOT listen when they say, “A nasty virus is going around,” DO NOT listen when they say it could be from a vaccine or other shot. Politely ask for a urine culture again. If you are wrong, well, guess what, you have been wrong before and you will be wrong again, but at least now you have peace of mind. If it is a UTI, then you go to the hospital for a kidney and VCUG (bladder X-Ray). UTIs in small children are SOMETIMES a red flag for reflux, sometimes UTIs are a fluke (cleanliness, bubblebath, etc.) but you need to take the test to double check. Well, you don’t HAVE to do anything, you know what I mean.

The entire thing is harder on the parent than the baby (I should say mother but I don’t want anyone emailing me that I am sexist), from watching your child scream through the “procedure” to making sure they take the antibiotics. I have already written up my middle child’s VCUG experience and it will be reposted after this, so I won’t re-do it here. It isn’t fun, but the younger they are, the easier it is. Just remember that no one wants to hear or see their child strapped to a hospital bed screaming no matter how simple it is. If the child has reflux, they need a daily low dose of antibiotics to prevent another UTI, because wee-wee going in isn’t good, but wee-wee with unidentified organisms going in is even worse, and can cause scarring on the kidneys. The procedure is done once every year or six months until the kidneys close on their own, and they will, or at least my daughter’s did. Here is hoping on my son.

If you are going through this and googling and up pops this blog entry about reflux, I am going to give you two free pieces of quack advice. The first is get your doctor to write the prescription for 30 days instead of 10. If you have to go back to the pharmacy every ten days, a) That is a of a lot of visits to the pharmacy when you could be going to Starbucks and b) That is a of a lot of co-payments in a bad economy. I would get three bottles at a time and I was able to mix them up or take them back and let the pharmacy do it if I was paranoid, but I saved time and money in the long run. The second piece of free advice is look into a pediatric dentist. Amoxicillin on your teeth can’t be good. Frances started going at 13 months and the boys followed suit. I made sure they were on the plan.

That is Kidney Reflux the Page way. I should continue to talk about Autism the Page way, Strabismus the Page way, a three year old that talks too much the Page way, I can keep going. Right now, I feel like I am playing the Eric Carle book, “Head to Toe”. If you aren’t to this phase of your parenting life yet, Eric is famous for his Very Hungry Caterpillar (who I have decided had some very serious blood sugar issues). One of my other favorites by him is about children and animals moving different body parts. “I am a penguin and I turn my head, can you do it? I can do it!” “I am reflux and I need antibiotics can you do it? I can do it.” Why stop there? “I am strabismus and I need an eye patch. Can you do it? I can do it!” I am doing it, and I have lots of friends doing what they have to do too.

May your pee be always going out…..


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0 thoughts on “Head to Toe

  • September 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I like the way you write: in a conversational way, not a “I know everything” or any other type of overbearing way, just a straightforward this-is-my-experience-hope-it-helps-you way.

    anyway, as a random addition, my sister and I often had UTIs in our younger years, she had to have surgery because of it.  It was probably kidney related like you’ve mentioned, I just didn’t understand all that then.  All I remember, besides getting to run to the restroom without asking, any time I needed (which was like, every five minutes) in fifth grade and the kids looking at me funny, was going to the dr and being really scared because it was a male dr.  It took a lot of convincing after Mom and Dad had raised us how to be appropriate around people, that it was okay for the doctor even though he was a guy, to examine for a possible infection in that area.  And it was very painful. I do remember that.  I don’t remember the antibiotics much, but I’m sure I took them as I was supposed to.


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