On Wednesday I decided to give Averi a bath. I know that’s not normally a big decision, but it’s quite a process with her, especially when only one adult is home. The surgeon told us to take out her G-tube every once in a while, for 30 minutes, to let the hole close a little. (It’s a lot like an earring hole, so it will completely close if left empty for several hours.) I took out the G-tube and then taped gauze over the hole so her stomach contents wouldn’t run out all over the place.
The bath went well and Averi continued to be happy as I started to put all of her accessories back on. Then it was time for the G-tube, which we save for last because it is always accompanied with hysterical screaming. I put it back in, inflated the balloon, applied her 3 different topical ointments, put on the foam gauze, taped it all down, and then opened the tube and stuck a syringe in it to let all of the air out (her version of burping).
Nothing happened. This is a bad sign because it means that the tube is not in her stomach and I have inflated the balloon somewhere inside her abdominal cavity. No wonder she’s screaming so hard there’s no sound coming out. I even tried flushing the tube with water to make sure nothing was blocking it and the water squirted out the side of the syringe.
I pull all the tape off (which is always fun because her skin is so sensitive and often bleeds), take off the gauze, deflate the balloon, and take out the G-tube. This time when I try to insert the tube, there is resistance and bright red tissue is bulging out of the hole. I decide to test it before taping everything down and still nothing happens.
Once more, I take it all out and try to reinsert it. Afraid that the hole might have closed too much or I can’t find the hole into her stomach, I decided that if this doesn’t work I will have to take her to the emergency room. As blood starts to run down her stomach, I put the tube in one more time and tape it all up. By now, Kaili, my helper, has thrown away my tape, put the clean gauze around the hand sanitizer dispenser, and dropped the feeding tube on the floor. (This picture was taken before the drama started.)
Forty-five minutes after I first put the G-tube in, I cross my fingers and start her continuous feed in hopes that it will do something. I then cradle Averi to calm her down. Completely exhausted, she falls asleep quickly. After laying her down, I check the tube and the milk still isn’t going down. I try one last time to flush it with water and, miraculously, it goes down. Relieved, I restart the continuous feed and begin cleaning up.
I think I will wait for Dan to come home before trying that stunt again!