Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whoever said success tastes good?

It feels like a Monday today. Because it's the first day of something new.

Turtle had a hospital appointment yesterday. It was an 8am appointment in Omaha, which is an hour and a half from here (in our van, faster with a different vehicle probably). We dressed the kids the night before so we could carry them from the bed to the car in the morning without too much bother.

The Infectious Disease Dr told us his labs are looking good and since his knee isn't as swollen, she thought it was time to take his PICC out. I didn't want to believe it, it seemed to good to be true. The IV treatments had been taking over our lives. Through the day and night, trying to get him to stay still on the bed while I pumped the meds through, an hr and half at a time. And all the home nurse appointments, dressing changes, blood draws were all getting old. His skin is so red raw from the dressing, it looks horribly painful and he signs sore next to it a few times a day.

So when they took his PICC out and sent us out with oral antibiotics to give him 2 varieties, 3 times a day for 2-3 weeks, I skipped into the waiting room and greeted Rene with a huge grin, singing:

I've got no strings to hold me down

To make me fret, or make me frown



I had strings



But now I'm free
There are no strings on me





I was so happy to be done with the tubes and the pump and the syringes. I was elated.

The feeling lasted until I attempted to give him his first dose of clindamycin. They gave him it in capsules to break apart and put in food to disguise the flavor, apparently the liquid tastes worse.



I am telling you now, I can't believe it's true because I highly doubt it's possible for anything on earth to taste worse. This is the most disgusting substance known to man. I'd rather drink a pint of gasoline than to take a dose of clindamycin. I'm not exaggerating.

I was singing to myself, unknowing of the trauma I was about to encounter, mixing up a pot of organic butterscotch pudding to put his capsule into. Turtle was resting on my hip watching me stir, inhaling deeply while puffs of sweet fragrance drifted up to his nostrils. He was kicking his legs, staring at the pot and vocalizing his approval, "yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah YEAH!"

Finally it was ready and cool enough to eat. I put it in a bowl while his patience wore completely out and drool formed in his mouth. Then I opened the capsule and poured it in his bowl. There was a little of the power left, I wanted to test its potency so I put a tiny bit on my finger tip and tasted it.

My tongue immediately reacted to the assault and began trying to make me gag. My eyes almost burst out of my head from the pressure it took to stop me from yelling out in disgust. It seemed that the whole room air was filled with the most intense foul, bitter flavor that I was hopeless to get rid of. In desperation, I began throwing miscellaneous food and drink items in my mouth. I brushed my teeth and swished mouth wash around. But everything I tried tasted like clindamycin, it twas as though I were piling more of the stuff in there with every new attempt to flush it out. The flavor hung around for a few hours yet.

Sacrificially, I tasted some of the medication-from-hell/pudding mixture. It was at least as vile as the initial fingertip sample I had endured. I added tons of raw honey....nope, no improvement. Half a bottle of maple syrup. This is one expensive bowl of pudding! Still just as offensive. The stuff is sharp enough, it will penetrate any flavor. It's undefeatable and nondisguisable. It's the super bad guy of yucky, no no, it's the super hero good guy, because the good guys always win and clindamycin will not be conquered.

I managed to get him to take 2 bites of the stuff, by some miracle. And that was all he was going to open up for. I seriously don't blame him. You can't imagine how disgusting this stuff is.

So today is the start of a new era. Administering drugs through the PICC is a thing of the past, replaced now with trying to force this stuff down him for the next 2-3 weeks, 3 times a day.

We bought tons of unhealthy, strongly flavored and sugared food we'd never give our kids otherwise.



This morning I tried splitting it in 3. One third went into the nutella, another into apple sauce and the last into chocolate pudding. Bless his heart, he tried 2 bites of each of them. I don't know if he'll ever trust me to feed him again. But he'd better, because he's just about due his second dose...




If anyone has any tips on how to make this stuff more...survivable, please let me know and I'll love you forever (how's that for motivation. Everybody needs love). Cause the way it's going just now, he's missing a lot of doses, which is not a good situation. And this might very well put him off of eating ever again, which wouldn't be great either.



14 comments:

Kathie said...

Niecey, the only thing I can think of is to pair it with an equally strong flavor--maybe not sweet since if the medicine is not sweet, the sweet won't disguise it. Maybe garlic? Or something vinegary, like Ketchup or soy sauce? I'm trying to think of foods that leave a lingering taste in my mouth...onions, cabbage, stuff like that.

Good luck sweetie! This too shall pass. (Worst case scenario, call the doctor back and ask for the liquid--you can force Turtle to take it...which is an awful, horrible thing to have to do...but might be a necessary evil, eh??) Plus, can they not flavor the liquid at the pharmacy maybe? Not that it sounds like it would help...

Kathie said...

I also meant to say that with liquid, you can at least place the meds far back in his throat, past most of the taste buds...that's how I give medicine to my kids.

Laura said...

How about putting it in curry? Poor thing!

Riahli said...

Atty has a medicine for his seizures that we have to open up and sprinkle on food morning and night as well as his other meds. It's nasty. I sprinkle it on a tiny amount of yogurt or applesauce and give it in one or two big gulps washed down with a drink. The only thing I can say is some times acting nonchalant about the whole thing, like everything is normal and not making a big deal out of it works better then lots of praise or bribery I think. I do always give him a high five and tell Atty he is The Best Medicine Taker I have ever met after he is done and that simple praise (even on the times he was a bit resistant) really seems to make him feel good about it. Of course Atty is older I do believe, so what we do with him might be a tad bit more age appropriate. It sucks having to give a kid a medicine they don't want to take that you know tastes nasty so you don't blame them for not wanting to. Especially if you wish you didn't have to give it to them in the first place, as I feel. Thankfully it's just a few weeks for your little guy. (although I'm sure it's going to seem like ForEver!) :)

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Well, I don't guess this was supposed to be a funny post, but I chuckled my way through the whole ending part after you tasted the powder. I mean totally laughing out loud and unable to stop reading. I'm so sorry, though. That's AWFUL. Right now we're hiding the kids supplements in their juice (omega-3 and other herbal meds from our naturopathic doctor) and that's working so far. But I don't think they taste as bad as what you described.

Any chance of getting him to just swallow the capsule? I think that's what I'd be going for at this point. Please let us know if you find something that works well to hide the taste as I'm sure I'll be there some day.

Hugs,

~Shaye

Cali said...

i found a site where cat owners disguise it in tuna fish, that seems pretty feasible to me since fish is so strong, or baby food meats, which are also horribly bitter, but I know being vegetarian that is probably not an option. Maybe mix it in with a strong soup, like french onion or something.

This was another suggestion: "I dont know if you can get it, but at the vet clinic we get a neutralizing powder from a compounding pharmacy. Its inexpensive and a little goes a long way. You put a pinch of powder in with the drug and it takes away the majority of the bad taste."

I don't know if there is neutralizing powder for humans and how much it would even cost. Someone else suggested mixing it with sweet and low.

I know your sense of smell and taste go together so you could diminish his sense of taste by some how plugging up his nose...probably nearly impossible for and 18 month old tho. Best of luck, I wish I had more advice. Jeffery wont take baby tylenol because it makes him barf so I just don't give it to him - ever. I'll be praying...

Cali said...

i found a site where cat owners disguise it in tuna fish, that seems pretty feasible to me since fish is so strong, or baby food meats, which are also horribly bitter, but I know being vegetarian that is probably not an option. Maybe mix it in with a strong soup, like french onion or something.

This was another suggestion: "I dont know if you can get it, but at the vet clinic we get a neutralizing powder from a compounding pharmacy. Its inexpensive and a little goes a long way. You put a pinch of powder in with the drug and it takes away the majority of the bad taste."

I don't know if there is neutralizing powder for humans and how much it would even cost. Someone else suggested mixing it with sweet and low.

I know your sense of smell and taste go together so you could diminish his sense of taste by some how plugging up his nose...probably nearly impossible for and 18 month old tho. Best of luck, I wish I had more advice. Jeffery wont take baby tylenol because it makes him barf so I just don't give it to him - ever. I'll be praying...

Cali said...

sorry I guess my comment posted twice UGH

I just had another thought. Every year our church does a seder meal and you have to eat horseradish which is horrible and awful to remember the bitter tears of the Israelites or something. But when you eat it you eat it on matzoh crackers and smother it in this yummy apple cinnamon nut crunchy mixture stuff to represent the sweetness of something or other lol. I know the overpowering taste of the horseradish would cut through anything so I wonder if there is a way to incorporate that with something tasty.

Kathie said...

Cali suggested a neutralizing powder...I don't know what that is...but I do know baking soda neutralizes the bitter taste in tea. I use it in my batches of iced tea to remove the bitter taste. And it only takes a pinch. Maybe a combo of a strong food (vinegar, curry, garlic) and a pinch of baking soda would do the trick?

I'm sure you are already in the kitchen concocting potential solutions, Niecey!

Morgan said...

Oh, how awful for him but so GOOD for him to be better! I'm kinda in the just get it done camp... I'd mix it with a tiny bit of apple juice, fill up a syringe and squirt it back at the back of his mouth past most of the tastebuds and then blow gently on his face... his reflex will be to swallow and wha la your done. My friend is a nurse and this is what they have to do alot at st. jude. better to be quick and just get it done than to draw it out. Good luck! And so glad he's doing better! I'm still praying!

jj said...

I've got no tips to feed the wee fella - the only experience I have is being an aunty, so not had to deal with the disguising of yucky tastes (be it medicine, or spinach, although I know the latter is great hidden in lasagne!)... but just wanted to say congratulations on his progress!!
He looks so happy in his pictures, regardless of his recent plight... that's something to be proud of. You guys are great parents... x

DJ said...

I'm with Shaye on this one - just try to get him to swallow the capsule. When we all came down with swine flu and Rory was prescribed tamiflu I tried to give it to him sprinkled on chocolate spread and he absolutely hated it. Giving him the capsule with a big drink of water was far more effective - maybe you could pop it in his mouth and then nurse him? Good luck, anyway!

MrsW said...

I cannot believe you have been prescribed a drug in that format for a little one! Liquid, no matter how foul, is much easier to administer, you stick it in an oral syringe and fire it right at the back of their throat on one side, they swallow and it bypasses the taste-buds. So simple. I managed to get 2 weeks of flucloxacillin into my 14 month old this way (it's minging! the anti-biotic... not the child!).

If I were you I'd dilute it with anything, water, juice, whatever, and get it down his throat fast and past his tongue.

Good luck. At least he's not a cat!

Valeria said...

Niecey, you probably already found a way to give meds to Glenn. anyway, here is my hint: with my son I tried to mix the powder with nutella/yougurt/jam and who knows what else, but the "flavor" was still so strong he started to spit and vomit it all the second time. I didn't even know how much of his dose he was getting, it was a mess, so this is what worked for us: I mixed the meds in a little bit of water with sugar, put it in a syringe, really just 1 or 2 cc max, one finger behind his back teeth to keep his mouth open while he lays on the bed, then push not so quickly, as he won't swallow immediatly and the liquid can come out again! then I wait until he gets tired and swallow! not painfull, maybe a bit mean, but this was the only way! good luck!

oh, by the way, my husband wants to go to Scotland this summer (two weeks, fly and drive), maybe I'll ask you some advices.