My Family

My Family
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And Then There Was One

About a month ago we removed the G-tube that Christian has had since birth. We really hadn't used it for the past year, but since he depended on it for so long we really wanted to wait till we knew he'd never need it again and that time had come.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term G-tube it is short for gastrostomy tube.  An incision is made directly through the abdomen and into the stomach.  There are different reasons that necessitate their use.  For Shannon, it was because she could not drink enough to sustain herself and grow properly and she also inhaled quite a lot of her liquids and frequently developed pneumonia because of it.  Callie and Christian were both premies and with sensory issues and an inability to suck they needed them as a bridge until they could overcome those obstacles and eat.

Tube feeding has been a hot topic numerous times in the media as it relates to end of life issues.  For our kids it has improved their quality of life, and yes, increased their lives as well.   For Shannon it is what sustains her and without it she just wouldn't survive. There are obviously times that their use don't make sense, but that is a subject for a different time.

Christian's reaction to the G-tube's removal was really interesting.  It was almost as if we removed a part of his body, which, after 13 years it kind of was.  He kept pulling up his shirt and showing it to us and we kept reassuring him it'd be all right.  And so it is.

Shannie's G-tube was placed at about 2 1/2yrs. of age. Callie had one when she came at almost 3 years of age.  Ella who is 10 months younger than Callie was thoroughly confused as to why all the little girls in our house had this tube on their belly but her.  She kept pulling up her shirt looking for her "button", which is the nickname for a G-tube.

Callie's G-tube fell out about 6 months after she came home from her foster home and we were unable to reinsert it.  She had been doing well eating by mouth, but we had intended to leave it in a bit to be sure.  No need to worry she's been just fine without it.  Other than the occasional leaking through the hole, that never completely closed, when she drinks a lot it's just fine.

In our family G-tubes have been a part of life for the past 13 years and as long as our Shannie is with us we will be a G-tube family, but it does feel good to be down to one.

And Then There Was One

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