Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feeding tubes are normal

Wow.  Been a long time since I've been here.  I swear I've been meaning to make it back, but life just gets in the way.  But as you may know (or if not, you do now!), I have a hard time with March, so let's just get back into venting.

First, kids are good. 

But my main reason for posting today is to bring awareness to feeding tubes.  You see, my daughter has one. 

Now I'll admit that I never knew what a feeding tube looked like until I had M.  I can now tell you the difference between an NG tube (naso-gastric), an OG tube (oral-gastric), and G-Button (gastrostomy).  Ok, so my medical terminology might leave some of you cringing, but I swear I know what I'm talking about. 

I don't want people to be scared.  M doesn't eat by mouth because she has what's called an oral aversion.  She hates it when anyone puts anything in her mouth.  And if you do get something in there, she has no idea what to do with it and coughs, chokes, gags, etc.  That doesn't mean that we don't try!  The girl loves licking suckers, spaghetti sauce, and recently queso dip.  She just never learned how to chew, so no chunks.

Because of this, you might see her with a tube attached to her belly from time to time.  That's how she gets most of her nutrition.  Yes, I was terrified of the stoma (hole in her belly that the tube goes in), but now it's well-healed.  She pulls on the tube all the time.  We clean that area just like you would have your kids brush their teeth.  And her "food" goes through a pump to get it in her belly.  Honestly, based on the way it smells, I'm sure glad I don't have to taste that stuff.  Bonus - she doesn't have to take any of those nasty medicines by mouth!  It all goes in the tube!  It's really just another way for her to get her nutrition.

As I said, I never knew anyone with a feeding tube until we went through it.  Now I've met many.  A former student said "hey!  I had one of those when I was little!"  A friend's little girl, who also has a G-Button, asked where my son was hiding his G-Button - she and M both had them, so my son was the odd-man out.

So if you see us, and M has her tube hooked up, don't be afraid.  It doesn't mean she's going to break.  You can't "catch" it.  She's a happy camper.  Feel free to ask; M loves to show everyone where her "button" is.  Just please don't stare or snicker.  She just eats differently.