Thursday, April 5, 2012

Boil, Blend, Repeat

Things around here are hard.  There is truly no coating that over with much, and certainly not anything sugary or filled with corn.  Everyday we boil, blend, and repeat. And repeat again.  In the middle we work, do laundry, try to feed the family, and look around at the things we don't have time to clean.  Then there is home school, the research, the doctors appointments, and....well, you get the picture.  The last thing I enjoy doing is adding another regular activity to the every day schedule.

Long before going GAPS I investigated the issue of disposable diapers.  Conversations about butt rashes, diaper creams, and diaper choices are common in the FPIES community.  How could it not be with so much revolving around poop? I too, participated in the investigation of which diapers had corn, which did Ellie seem to be ok with, and the reality that her uber sensitive self should probably be wearing cloth and not disposable.  But like mainstream thought, I had examined through the lens of 'what can we get away with' and not 'what we truly should be doing'. 

We switched Ellie over to cloth diapers and her skin improved.  I had no doubt that it was beneficial for her. But then came the laundry and the time involved.  It's work to keep cloth diapers clean, and to figure out how to keep a child who seems to pee 12 cups in one shot from peeing all over the house.  It wasn't just a matter of pee filled diapers, either. It was pee filled beds, and pee filled car seats, and an entirely new hurdle for even leaving the house.  Over time we became more lax, and back to disposables we went.  First it was just when leaving the house, and then it reversed to only using cloth at night to help contain the pee.  And I began to complain of the cost of disposables again. And the old way of thinking was back. 

"These disposables are probably not the best for her, but she seems ok....look how well she has healed that she can tolerate them....and she always did ok with Huggies...and the expense will be short lived once she is potty trained....and holy cow who wants to wash an FPIES poop off of those cloth diapers anyways??" 

The little beads that were left on her skin when I changed her diaper bothered me still, but they didnt leave a rash and any other diaper either had corn or caused a rash.  So onward we went.  Until recently.

Recently Ellie had a staph skin infection.  It was extremely heartbreaking to feed her the anti-biotic which I knew would be damaging her intestines and set us back on the healing journey.  She had never had staph before. In fact, all of our battle has been largely tied to fungus and those corkscrew little demons that can burrow right into the gut and leave gaping holes.  I had never stopped to consider other bacteria, such as staph or strep.

And then over twitter came a link to an article on disposable diapers.  I glanced through the article quickly, and assumed it would be like most of the other articles I read - discussing how landfills were full of them, and how our government was probably putting them in capsules and burying them in the ocean or some other environmentally damaging tragedy.  What I was shocked to find actually came near the bottom of the article and just happened to catch my skimming eyes.  Staph.  Staph. huh? STAPH!

Here is what I read:
One of the dangerous chemicals inside disposable diapers is called Sodium Polyacrylate. Even the “eco-friendly” diapers contain this chemical, too. This is the chemical added to the inner pad of a disposable that makes it super-absorbent. When the powder gets wet, it turns into a gel that:
  • Can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water.
  • Can stick to baby’s genitals, causing allergic reactions.
  • Can cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies.

What in the.....

A quick google search confirmed.  This is another one of those 'common facts' that no one cares to share, or even thinks is important.  Dear Jesus, forgive me.  My eyes had been opened to risks so long before, and I couldn't deal with the thought of more laundry.  I was ashamed.

My 8th grade teacher required the entire class to memorize a fantastic little quote. It has bounced through my mind repeatedly in the last few weeks.  Having been a professional educator now for more than 10 years, I feel confident in saying he would be pleased that I still have it tucked away in memory. While in junior high I had absolutely no idea what a little jewel this quote was.  I remember thinking it had everything to do with me not wanting to complete my homework, and this quote was meant to rub it in.  Now I see the incredibly important life lesson behind it.  Here it is:

"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not." - Thomas Henry Huxley.

I was not exposed to the second part of this quote.  The entire quote by Mr. Huxley goes like this:

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.  It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.

Indeed.  The last lesson that he learns thoroughly.  And in my case, must learn repeatedly.

Ellie survived her round of compounded keflex, but her skin still struggles.  We have transitioned her back to cloth diapers and the laundry has begun to pile up.  I have no idea if we will see a significant change in her skin after this, but I can be comfortable knowing I am not giving her a staph infection (or cancer).  And I also do not find it coincidental that in conjunction with the anti-biotic, her pee amounts have decreased significantly (what was in her bladder?) and she has begun to sleep for longer stretches for the first time. 

Only God's grace would allow that.  In the end I may get more sleep!

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