A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy who refuses to eat has been living his whole life on a drip.
Tyler Mill has been fed a solution of high-calorie milk through a tube during the night – because he won’t eat.
Although there is nothing physically wrong with him, Tyler vomits every time food is placed inside his mouth.
And now his mother, 41-year-old Arlene Mill, is reaching out in the hope that someone might come forward who has been in a similar situation.
Through the years the family have tried various methods of persuading stubborn Tyler to eat, visiting a long line of doctors and psychologists along the way.
Arlene explained: “There isn’t really anything we haven’t tried. We’ve been to see many doctors and psychologists, tried forcing him to eat, breaking things up – I always thought he would just snap out of it and eat, but he never has.
“I just hope for the day he’ll decide to eat and get on with it, but it hasn’t happened yet. There’s no problem with the swallowing mechanism, it’s all in his head.”
The amount of milk that Tyler gets at night was gradually reduced to induce hunger and hopefully force him to eat.
But, already small for his age, he would just dramatically loose weight.
It has now been decided that the best thing to do is wait and see if he eats of his own accord.
“He does try though, but when he gets things into his mouth he just vomits.
“We used to try and make a big thing of it when he tried things. He seems to go for food with rich smells, like he often takes the inside of garlic bread into his mouth. He also once took a tiny corner of a Milky Bar.”
For many years Tyler, who lives in Edinburgh, was fed through a tube in his nose but has now swapped to a night-feed machine.
It means that he doesn’t have to eat through the day but is fed a high-fibre, high-calorie milk during the night.
The problem means Arlene has faced years of staying up for most of the night worrying about the health of her youngest child.
She said: “The machine goes on as he’s going to bed at night and you can set how much he gets. An alarm goes off it anything goes wrong.
“Even if there’s a kink I the tube or it comes loose or if he rolls over it, you go in and there’s milk all over the quilts. It’s hard but we’re both completely used to it and just get on with it.”
Apart from his dislike for food, Tyler is a perfectly healthy, normal little boy.
His mum said: “Sometimes I look at him and think it’s okay, he’s surviving just now, but it would be so good to know that others have been in this situation and come out of it.
“I will keep trying because you have to, don’t you, and one day it’ll hopefully change.”