27 October 2007

Pee and poo.

Things which are on the check list before we can even begin to talk about going home. Our body is an advanced, complete system and everything must balance. Note, I’m not talking about complicated stuff like blod cells and electrolytes. No, I’m talking bog standard debit and credit at the loo.

Everything you take in is noted. And everything you get out. How many millilitres of baby formula, juice or water is Abbe drinking? How much wee does he produce? By means of a catheter, everything runs into a measuring cylinder-looking plastic box, before being emptied into the bag. But what do you do when the catheter has been pulled out?

Well, you weigh the nappies. An unused Libero Maxi nappy weighs 44 grams, so it’s just a case of subtracting that sum from the total weight and then you know how much wee is in the nappy. Clever. And if you have both number ones and twos in the nappy, you have to roughly gauge the weight of number two.

Fluids tend to build up in children’s bodies after the operation so it’s important to make sure they “wee it off” properly. You help them on the way by giving them a diuretic medicine, after the operation. It looked a bit worrying for a while as they usually expects the weeing to start about 3-5 hours after removing the catheter. Abbe hadn’t produced anything for eight hours. But he’s caught up now. Wee wee.

And now for the next battle. The morphine which is given to children to reduce the pain has a tendency to slow down the digestive system, which in its turn can cause indigestion. Hey ho, the good with the bad and all that. It can be very tough and painful in that little Abbe stomach, and you have to rely on various tricks like heating pads, massage and – if it gets really bad – enemas, to manage it.

So. Excitement in room five at the 323 ward right now: Will the poo come soon?

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