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Friday, December 31, 2010

Lil'Gal's all night therapy

First Off, Happy New Year's EVE!  I hope everyone has great plans or at least feels blessed and optimistic going into yet, another new year.

Most of y'all who have followed my blog long enough or know me IRL are aware that Lil'Gal has had urinary issues since she was a toddler.  She had a level four urinary reflux which was corrected with surgery (Deflux Injection).

However, she also has a spastic bladder.  This is partly due to the reflux and the fact that her bladder could never expel all the urine.  Both of these were cause for her to have multiple severe bladder infections and run unbreakable fevers of 104 and 105.

So, there is a little history.  Since all that has been managed (surgery and ditropan for the bladder spasms) things have gone pretty well although even at seven-and-a-half years old she still has the occasional leakage.  Also, we have to be very aware of her fiber intake because the medication can (and does) cause constipation = further exacerbating the bladder irritation.

RECENTLY:  The past several weeks we have gone to therapy and learned ways to build her pelvic floor muscles.  This also involves 'retraining' all of those muscles because over the years (especially, before her surgery) her body and mind got confused because no matter what muscles it/they used it didn' seem to hold her urine for her.  We do exercised nightly (I won't go into detail).  But, it is just odd and amazing at how the littlest things affect the body.

NOW:  We are into phase two of her therapy.  Lucky for me, it came over the holiday break.  After she goes to bed (having pottied first) I have to check her each hour to see if her pull-up is dry.  FYI, she only wears the pull-up at night.  The medicine and her own self control have the days worked out although sometimes she can't hold it for very long and has to run for the restroom.

The idea is to see when she actually 'goes' during the night.  And, once we figure that out then we wake her slightly - just enough for her to walk herself to the restroom - and have her empty her bladder.  So, once we figure out when she goes (getting close) then we only have to wake up that once 30 minutes before she usually wets.

This is training both her mental alertness to look for signs AND helps her bladder to relax and hold more urine.  Yes, bladder relax.  Because the sphincter muscle is supposed to kick in and hold the urine.  The bladder is only supposed to contract when expelling the urine.

Additionally, the more we can get the bladder to relax and her other muscles to take over where they should, then she will be able to expel ALL the urine, thus preventing infections, etc.  As it is, she can't fully expel all the urine even if it feels to her like she has.  And, she always has a cell count showing some bacteria in her urine but luckily it has been a long time since we had a bladder infection.

So, we are getting close.  This is all so odd and yet a little fascinating and I'm optimistic that it is all working.  Hopefully, soon Lil'Gal will be able to outgrow the need for a pull-up at night and not have to worry about leakage.

The odd thing is that with all of this, Farmer, Jr. has the bladder the size of a milk jug.  That boy can go all night with drinking water through the night, wake up the next morning, watch Tom & Jerry and eat breakfast before he decides "I gotta' go."  When he does 'go', he floods.... LOL!

Maybe that was TMI.  These things just cross my mind.

Happy New Year's! See/read y'all in 2011!!



Jay said...

Happy New Year!!

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

Happy New Year, Jay! My Christmas Letter has been addressed to you. Just needs a stamp!

Anonymous said...

TMI for some, but for those who have dealt with issues like this, it's really useful to know there are others out there suffering, too.
Yep, I remember Ditropan and kidney infection with one of ours. It was the one who was like Farmer, Jr., who had the troubles (ended up hospitalized for 3 days due to a [repeat, unknown] kidney infection. We had to do all the retraining, except it was about NOT holding everything in... finally resolved, although it was a long time before I stopped asking "When was the last time you used the bathroom?"
(also, FIBER CHOICE "vitamins" are a daily dosage at our house)

We had a great alarm that we used for a different kiddo who started sleeping TOO soundly after starting school. It might be something you'd want to look into once you do your other night training. It was money well spent (about $90) and we're only sorry we didn't do it sooner.

Good luck, and happy new year!

Baseball Mom said...

Happy New Year!!

Sounds like things are coming along. Poor lil one, I am sure it is flush-straighting.

I can sympathize with the lack of sleep. For most of the last two weeks I was getting up every 2 hours to fed pain meds to teen. I was getting to feel like a zombie. So I feel for you lady. :)

Hopefully all will be better soon.

Melissa said...

I find medical conditions like this absolutely fascinating and amazing, only because a properly functioning bladder is something most people take for granted. Until I met you, I never knew such a thing existed.

FYI - Bridget has a bladder the size of a milk jug, too. LOL!

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

LOL! Yeah, probably TMI, but interesting. I know you have shared a little with me, but I never really understood the full extent of it. My friend's daughter had to have some surgery with her bladder, too. I wonder if it's the same thing. Anyway, I hope this all works out and you get to start sleeping through the night again.

Oh, and the Teen is my "camel" as we call her. Potty training her was fun because she would hold it all. day. long!