My six year old son has always suffered from a pretty nasty case of reflux. When he was an infant, this resulted in constant shifts in medication, a lot of crying by him and me, and more than our fair share of projectile vomiting.
During an endoscopy a few years ago, his gastroenterologist noted that the ring of muscles around his lower esophagus, which is supposed to keep his stomach contents in his stomach, didn’t function properly. Actually, not at all. His ring simply doesn’t contract when it should, allowing half-digested food to freely flow up from whence it came.
We refer to these moments as “yucky burps”. We’ve all had them, right? Those bile-flavored, liquid belches. Mmmmmm. Delicious!
At his last GI visit, his doctor suggested that he was old enough for us to try to wean him off some of his medications. Considering one of them costs $261.00 a month, we were all for it.
But, my boy doesn’t like to make things easy. When we discontinued the medicine, the yucky burps increased, and some of them weren’t just burps. He has been throwing up a lot too. Does anyone have $261.00 I could borrow?
Yesterday in school, he was goofing off with a straw in his mouth and it hit him in just the wrong spot. He gagged, and that gag brought up breakfast, snack, and my personal favorite, regurgitated milk.
His quick-thinking teacher, who is fully aware of the reflux situation, jumped in and cleaned up the mess, then told all the kids in the kindergarten class about my boy’s esophageal “flap”. She told them that their flaps stay closed and keep food where it should be, but that his flap doesn’t work and sometimes that means his food comes back up.
But I didn’t know the extent of her conversation. Which would explain why I was at a complete loss last night when my son exclaimed, “Mom! My flap hurts!”