Talitha shakes a little when reaching for things on her tray while eating. I’m told this is due to her low blood counts and that as that improves, the shaking should go away. She’s not too interested in walking practice yet and that’s probably linked back to the same thing—blood fatigue.
The thing I noticed most today was her eating quite a bit more; enough so that we only fed her through the tube twice today. The tube feeding process at home is a bit different than at the hospital. We don’t have the fancy machines at home that regulate the flow. We just have to raise her feeding line up and then insert the tip of an oversized, open syringe into the feeding tube end and then pour the food liquids into the syringe and let gravity do its work. (Before feeding her through the tube, we have to listen through a stethoscope to her stomach while forcing air from a smaller syringe into the line to make sure the line is still in her stomach and not wandering off to other places in the body--like the lungs--that shouldn’t be fed that way.)
It’s getting better each time but Talitha can immediately feel the substance flowing to her stomach and so will complain and be very uncomfortable. He stomach shrunk quite a bit over the last week and it doesn’t take much for her to feel the stretch down there. It’s interesting to note that the more she went without food, the more she began losing the ability to receive food. In order to get her the nourishment she needs, we are having to stretch her receiving capacity—the stomach. And that makes her uncomfortable.
It's no secret that both our spirits and our bodies need nourishment to survive and thrive. Hunger can be very real to both. Cravings are common to both. Neglect of either brings a reduction in capacity and the eventual side effects of starvation. Overcoming malnourishment from under-consumption in either case usually involves an uncomfortable stretch or adjustment.
We’re trying to help Talitha stretch her stomach back to where she can receive all the physical nourishment she needs. We also sing with her, involve her with the daily family scripture reading when she’s home, and pray with her so that we aren’t neglecting the spiritual feeding and strengthening so vital for facing life’s challenges of any kind.
I’ve noticed with my older children that healthy appetites are built both spiritually and physically not by huge intakes just one day a week followed by days of nothing, but by smaller, adequate amounts consumed consistently and increased steadily over time.