Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Friday, 10 July 2009

A quick dash in to report...

Hello all

I am OK, it was a brief, if unpleasant bout of D and V for me..

Compostgirl however is v poorly, has not eaten now for (Cw counts) 10 days, still has D and V, but what is making things much worse is she is refusing to drink enough (less than 500 ml per day as an absolute max...) and is hovering on the verge of hospitalisation..

The Drs at our GP centre we have seen over the last 3 days are not very helpful, they basically say "make her drink" but with a difficult, oppositional child at the best of times, it is virtually impossible...we were advised to force feed her fluid via a 5 ml syringe...but needing to push 100 ml per hour into a large well grown 8 yr old thats very hard to do....!

We tried it, she kicked the hell out of us and spat out the fluid and it was very distressing as well for all of us as you can possibly imagine... or maybe not :-(

She is very poorly indeed , no GP seems interested in her mental state or why she won't do what we ask, Drs, Teachers, adult friends have all explained (as have we, repeatedly) that she needs to drink, she says she understands the issues and that she needs to drink, she says she really dosen't want to go into hospital and be put on a drip (she has had one before so knows what this means and didn't like it)

There is no real reason for her not to drink ( nor ear or throat issues...) other than her behavioural problems, but they are the major problem here....but no one wants to address those issues, prefering to focus on us not parenting her properly so as to make her do what we say...

I might add we have asked for behavioural /emotional assessments for her because of her behaviour many times over the last few years and only ended up with family therapy stuff, which has ONLY focussed on OUR parenting responsibility/failure causing HER behavior...

which is fair enough ( we accept there must be some element of responsibility on our part...) but DOESN'T also address HER behavior!

I am going to call the Hospital for advice over all this if things don't improve ASAP. NHS Direct seem only to be dealing with swine flu (which the GP has ruled out... thank heavens... although the stuff I have read indicates otherwise.......!)

and as I have said our GP's seem more concerned with us as inadequate/not assertive enough parents, than with her as a child with a long standing ( and oft recorded and reported) behavioural problem which is now endangering her health....

We are so worried and also very worn out...we have had very little sleep for 9 days due to all this and we are worried sick about her health and her ongoing behaviour problems and the impact it has on us as a family and as individuals.

I am SO sorry, I have just unloaded a very private issue to the whole world, but at the moment I don't really care...if anyone reads this and can help at all to help us help Compostgirl, it will have been worth it.....

So...over to you lot....


  1. ... Or even water melon...

  2. Sorry to hear about your illness. I know that it is difficult to make a child do anything that they don't want to do. I feel for you. My only suggestion is seeing if you can purchase or make up the electrolyte pops and tell her that they are simply popsicles. In the U.S., they go by the name Pedialyte and my son doesn't know the difference between those and regular popsicles. The electrolyte solution is so salty so when it is frozen it seems to tone down the saltiness. That is my only suggestion and I hope she feels better!

  3. Dean, thanks, I have not tried Melon so will look in shops for it ( and stuff seasonality and no air miles in this case, my DD comes first!)

    kimchi...made up rehydrating fluid as per WHO guidelines, but have not tried freezing it , have tried freezing other juices but not rehydration fluid, so will try it tomorrow...

    Unfortunately both of you the issue isn't really WHAT we give her, more the fact that WE give it to her...and she feels the need to refuse what is given....

    Even if we offer a range of stuff, it is still construed as US in charge....and so she refuses....such is the way wth ODD children.....


  4. I feel for you, I really do and wish I had the answer.. I went through a lot of the same thing with my youngest.. if she got sick she refused to eat, drink or take her medicine. it wasn't a behavior issue, it was just the way she was... she was never one to eat much when she was well and even as an adult she sometimes has to be reminded to eat..
    I do agree with the frozen pops and melon.. there was times I'd have let her eat nothing but candy as long as she got something into her.
    I will keep you and her in my prayers.

  5. Is there some one other than you that could get her to take fluids and such. Grandparent, best friends parent, some one who is not controlling that she knows. I would think its worth a try.

  6. I'm very sorry you are dealing with this. I wish I could offer suggestions but this was the first time I've heard of ODD. I see there are many sites on it, but no doubt they offer long term solutions which won't do much while you're in crisis mode.

    The only thing that came to my mind is if there's someone who cg doesn't consider an authority figure and would be willing to come help.


  7. Is there perhaps someone else that she respects and likes (like some older cousin, an uncle or anyone an 8 y.o. girl might think highly of who might share drinks with her? (I have no idea, I'm just brainstorming).
    From the theoretical psychological (and logical) point of view as to her behavioral issues - she must be getting what she wants this way. There are many grownups who like being very sick so that they get some very special attention. I'm not at all implying that's what's happening here, but perhaps think about what she gets being this way and stop giving it to her on her terms. Although this must be near to impossible to do it when a child is THAT sick.
    I wish all the very best, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

  8. You must be so pulling your hair out, raising children isn't an easy ride, but you really do seem to have a challenge.
    If the issue is her doing what you ask, is there anyone else she knows and is trustworthy that she does listen and respond to, grandparents, aunt, uncle; someone to whom she may be more positive in her response? I was a very disruptive with my parents as a young boy, but would do anything my grandfather said. Just a thought.

  9. Dearest CW, so sorry to hear you have been poorly and that Compostgirl is also very poorly and refuses to eat or drink. I have sent you an email with an idea that may help encourage CG to begin to eat/drink... may help or maybe just be a really bad idea you will have to see what you think? Regardless just to let you know I am thinking about you all and do hope CG recovers very soon.
    With Much Love, Jane xxx

  10. CW - Big hugs for you and CM firstly.

    I'm not too sure what to suggest having never been in this position before. Is there any other "adult" or older friend that you could get to pop in and have a word with her? It might just be that hearing someone else say something might be the trick. Or putting down in a letter to her your fears for her health?

    Sorry that I can't be more helpful. Do take care of yourself as well through all this and please remember that I know you are doing everything you canto help her.

    Good luck & take care

  11. Hi Cw,

    Sorry to hear of your distress at the moment with Cg. I have a couple of ideas that may help.

    Having been a bit of a bugger myself as a child, I can only say what my mum did that helped.

    I agree with other commenters who say to get somebody else to talk to her, but as you said, you've already tried that. Maybe they need to stay with her and drink something with her, so its a shared experience. That way, it takes the attention away from the drinking aspect, which I suspect she's picked up on particularly as an attention-getting tactic. Understand I'm not saying that as a slight on the girl, she's obviously an independent spirit and that should be encouraged, but like I said, I used to be very much like her at her age.

    The other thing I thought might be to give her some control of the situation in a constructive way rather than the control being how much fluid she takes in. What I mean is have several options available to her. She's obviously too ill to go and make her own drink, but maybe ask her what she would like to drink, and leave her several options next to the bed. Mum would always give me Lucozade, lemonade, and usually something like juice or squash. All good, sugary drinks (maybe a bit chemically, but if they taste nice to her then who cares so long as she's drinking it!!

    I really do hope this helps and that she gets better soon.

    Regards your comment on my blog, I'll email you when I can see things have improved for you, I won't bother you right now!

    Good luck, and big hugs to you and Cg xxx

  12. First off you are a good parent & ignore those do gooders that suggest otherwise. I've been on the receiving end of being an "ineffective" parent & my now 21 yr old has turned out just fine & thanks me for the way I brought her up, so I know I was doing the job well!
    The lolly idea sounds good, especially if others are seen to have them & comment to that effect. Is it warm down there, here in the lake district it's still warm at 9pm tonight & a lolly sounds good! Would your daughter help make some?
    Somehow you or a close family member or friend needs to insist to the GP you know your child better than anyone & help is needed now & "no" is not an acceptable answer.

  13. Poor you, all of you. Sounds like a tough time. Agree with other commenters that someone else offering the drink might be worth it, or could you reverse-psych it and behave as if you're not bothered about it at all? Probably missing something obvious, but I just thought if taking the onus off 'you must' might help...?

  14. I can't add anything that has not already been send so I will just send a large {{HUG}} to all of you and hope that helps.

    Rosie x

  15. CW, I really feel for you with the length of Compostgirl's illness, and how helpless you must feel. I don't have any new answers, I'm afraid, although the high-in-water things like melon might be a good way to go (what about sorbets, or frozen watery desserts like that?). I just wanted to come and say that I'll be thinking of you, and hope that she gets better soon, so that some of this worry can be lifted from you.

  16. Sending you HUGS only wishing we were closer so could pop round and make you a cuppa. We are in an isolated village and sometimes I find I need to off load stuff which is concerning me, usually after days of worrying. You know where I am, only a phone call away.
    I really do not know what to suggest. Document everything which happens..promises from agencies and what exactly happens.


  17. I'm glad you and Compostman are doing better, but oh, how scary and hard for Compostgirl! I have had my share of this kind of thing (I have Crohns) and I do feel for her. And you too - I am often that frustrating patient who refuses to drink.
    Do you think that part of it might be fear? For me, I didn't want to eat or drink because I knew that it would pass through me one way or the other, and just make me more miserable and in pain if I ate/drank. It is hard to convince someone to do something that is necessary, but still causes pain (or makes existing pain worse). I don't know what to say that might work, but depending on Compostgirl's temperment, asking about that and recognizing that drinking may cause her pain, but then asking her to try a few sips, might break the stubborn spell a bit?

  18. I don't think I've left a comment on here before but your pain in this post really spoke to me. Having a child with ASD and Oppositional Behavioural problems I really feel for you. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of suggestions as I haven't found any answers myself. If she gets really dehydrated, I would suggest bypassing the doctor's surgery and taking her to A & E childrens department instead - they were so much better with our son than the doctors were, who said we were 'over reacting' - um... excuse me our son has had V & D for two weeks now and has lost 4 kilos! I think he was a similar age to your daughter at the time and it was exhausting clearing up every night. {{hugs}}

  19. I want to thank ALL of you for your wonderful, helpful, supportive comments :-)

    We have tried pretty well all the things you have suggested but that does not negate you trying to be helpful in suggesting them...just that we HAVE tried pretty most everything anyone could think of to help Cg.....

    She is now eating ( a very little ) drinking ( a bit but no where near enough, worryingly...)

    and is exhibiting very worrying behavioural stuff which has made Cm and mine lives even more difficult....

    We are going to try one last time to get a GP at our practice to listen to our concerns and then we will seek some form of private assessment help...as suggested by many of you both in the comment list and in emails to me...

    and THANK you to all of you who HAVE sent me emails as well as/instead of comments...

    It is strange to feel comfort from many people I have never ( and some I will never) meet...

    but I DO thank you all, you have helped JUST by being there....

    HUGE hugs to all of you..

    Sarah aka Compostwoman...xxxx

  20. Hi CW, I really wish there I knew something that could help. Personally, I'd take CG into the hospital and get her on a drip so that she gets what she needs and stops the battles about her not drinking.

    But I'm not a parent, so consider this a purely objective view point.

    Just remember to look after yourself as well, especially as you've just been ill.

    Wish I lived closer, I'd offer to help with the chickens etc so you could focus on your family.

    Hugs and all that x

  21. I have not advice for you, just hoping that she is feeling better soon, so that all of you can feel better soon.

  22. CW - still thinking of you and hoping that things improve and that you have more luck with Drs etc.

    I'm not sure what more I can say other than to send hugs and thoughts.

    Take care x

  23. CG went back to school today. Once she decided she had better drink and start to eat, she recovered very quickly!

    She is still a bit wobbly but wanted to go back for the last 3 days of school, so back she went. The school know she is a bit weak and wobbly, but apart from that she is no longer ill....

    Thank you all for your kind words during a very bad 2 weeks.....

  24. So pleased Cg is better and really hope you can get the GP's to give you the support you want.

    Deborah x

  25. So sorry to read this. Am just catching up today. I do hope your little one is on the mend. It is so difficult when you can't get the professionals to understand or stand in your shoes.

    Take care all of you, our prayers and good wishes

    Margaret and Fiona


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