Sep 7, 2004

Here’s what I’ll do for the next 30 days: each day, I’ll purchase one song through the iTunes store.

Here’s what you’ll do: help me broaden my musical collection by recommending one song I should definitely have in my collection.

I started by downloading ‘Daughter,’ by Pearl Jam. Figured a good rock tune was a good way to relieve some of the worry in our home, brought on by discovering that Malia has a urinary tract infection. This could be serious—i.e. anatomical problems—or it could be just that Malia shouldn’t take a bath with Anna anymore (Anna confessed to peeing in the bath most nights).

For months now we’ve wondered why Malia’s head is bathed in sweat whenever she nurses or drinks from a bottle. Often, her head smells sweet, like maple syrup. And, in the last few weeks, her urine has been pungent, filling the bedroom with a strange smell. Erin took those clues and did some sleuthing this weekend, and we read about maple syrup urine disease. But we also figured out that this genetic disorder is one that North Carolina screens at birth.

Erin took Malia to see our wonderful pediatrician, who ran some tests and found the infection. He was amazed that Erin had caught it so soon, before it could progress to something more serious. More tests to come, but your prayers and thoughts for Malia will be appreciated.

(This has given me an idea for an essay about the use of smell in medicine. Do you have a story about how smell helped a doctor diagnose an illness? Post a comment, or send me a message using the Contact tab at the top of the page.)

[Edit: fixed doctor visit graph for clarity.]

Anton Zuiker

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