Monday, April 19, 2010


"There's no such thing as simple. Simple is hard."
~Martin Scorsese

And what a tough pill to swallow in a world where the main objective is to make everything more simple. Simple ready-in-minutes meals for the active family. Super absorbent paper towels for quick and simple clean up. Online banking for fast, simple bill paying. Simply put, we go to so much trouble to make things simple for ourselves that we forget what it takes to put the work in for the ultimate outcome. I am not immune to wanting my life to be simple. It just isn't. When Coulby was born, simple redefined itself in my world. My life pre-Coulby now seems simple. My life when Coulby is healthy and metabolically stable seems simple. But in the times when every day is a struggle to keep up with what he needs to thrive, I realize how not-so-simple life truly is. And how not-so-simple his every day is, living with Citrullinemia. The last week has been one of those reminders that always snaps me back into reality. HARD! You would think that after (just days shy of) 6 years of living this UCD life that I would not get such whiplash every time we hit the metabolic wall. But it happens every time. Every. Single. Time.

Okay, so usually I allow myself to ignorantly believe that once we get through March, all of the nasty germs that kids spread back and forth to each other will kind of dissipate. And I know that must sound ridiculous to most, but it is my attempt to will away any illness from touching Coulby after the long Winter of colds, stomach viruses, flu, get the point. You can imagine my disappointment when Coulby was sick, yet again and in April no less, with a stomach virus not so long after the last round that he so graciously shared with all of us. The stomach virus that landed him in the hospital for a 4-day stay from hell. *Shudder* I do not even like to think about it. Brings me back to a very bad place, mostly for Coulby, but also for myself. So anyway, Coulby was sick yet again.

He started not feeling well about a week and several days ago. Just not eating. Saying his stomach hurt. No details, but going to the bathroom a lot. Throwing up if we tried to push food on him to meet his daily protein and calorie requirements. The poor kid was just sick and there we were trying to force food and drinks on him from sun up to sun down. It does not make me feel good to say that. For all of Coulby's life I have mourned not being able to take care of him while he is sick the way a mom should. The way my mom always took care of me when I was not feeling well. Coulby might as well have me saying that 'sick' is a non-existent word in his vocabulary. That he might as well scratch it out because he cannot be sick. Not like other kids.

The not eating or wanting to drink anything other than water went on for about a week. Literally, we were just waiting for the moment when we would have to bring Coulby to Hopkins. I always wonder how long he can possibly go without meeting his metabolic requirements before he gets into trouble and needs medical attention to pull him out of it. It is scary. And I really believe it is that fear that makes going through each and every illness so stressful. It is that fear that people do not understand. And the struggle that no one can understand is having a sick kid and still having to get him to eat. What do you feed a kid with a stomach virus? A picky eater, no less. Do you want to eat anything when your stomach hurts? Now you see why I say that when Coulby is sick, life is not simple. Not at all. For the most part, our daily routine in caring for him has become second-nature. But we are reminded of the smallest things that we do every day to keep him alive and well when he is sick. Because that balance gets so thrown off and we so desperately try to gain it back.

Coulby finally met all of his protein requirements today for the first time in well over a week!! This is blog-worthy. And if you are a parent of a child with a UCD, you know why. Because it is that opportunity to kind of breathe again. To live again. Coulby is finally asking for food. And drinking milk. And tormenting his sister with a vengeance (ah, sibling rivalry). Coulby is back! Oh how sweet it is!

And now I can resume life under the illusion of simplicity. Go through the motions and slip into our "normal" routine again. Into the daily rituals that usually seem so simple, but become so hard when we are thrown a metabolic curve ball.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure how I missed this when you posted it! Really well written post, Murissa. We have to slide back into "simple" and forget the rest or we go crazy. It is the only way that we can cope, just one day at a time, looking forward instead of backwards. I am so glad that Coulby managed this last bout of illness at home and stayed stable. We just never know when they will "tip over" and living like that, full of anxiety, is tough on everyone in the house.

    You guys are tough though...gotta be to raise a kid with a UCD...just keep on keepin' on, my friend. We will get through it again and again until someone finds a cure.

    Love you!