So I was going to write yesterday about how great everything has been going. Soren had been getting more and more comfortable, recovering from his surgery. I was getting more and more adept and giving him his feeds through the G-tube. Why, in 5 days, I could crimp, flush, and feed with this tube like a master. (Those of you who know G-tube language get what I mean.) In fact, I could see how this was going to make my life significantly easier. I could do the feeds by myself, no sweat!
We were so optimistic and pleased with how things were going, we decided to head to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get new pillows. Yay us!
But then, as I was wheeling Soren to his room to get dressed for our outing, he caught his arm through the 6 inch G-tube sticking out of his belly, yanked on it, and pulled it out. It was horrible and petrifying for us. Soren was immediately in terrible pain.
Now, in all honesty, G-tubes come out all the time. They warn you that this can happen. People can grab them and pull them out. The trouble is, Soren only had his surgery a week ago, so he's obviously still healing. In three months, everything would be different. He'd be healed. He'd have what's called a Mic-Key button put in which is more flush to the skin and less prone to getting pulled out. And, in the event that it was, I'd have been trained to just pop one back in.
But yesterday when Soren pulled this out, we knew exactly what our next course of action was. Get to the ER! Stat! See, the hole where the G-tube goes in can close up rather quickly and then you're back to square one, having to start the process all over and have surgery again. I was told that we had to get a new tube in within 15 minutes (turns out we had more time than that). But with that information, we loaded Soren up in the car and headed immediately to the ER two blocks from us.
Turns out December 26th, the day after Christmas, is one of the busiest days in the ER all year. But when I told them what had happened, they tended to Soren immediately. They told us not to worry. That this happens all the time. But, once again, Soren had surgery a mere 7 days before, which complicated the ease of fixing this. And because we weren't at Children's where they specialize in kids, this ER didn't have the proper G-tube. But they did the next best thing, putting in a Foley to keep the hole open. And then, the nurse did the best thing ever. She gave Soren a surgical binder (a girdle) to wrap around his tummy so he wouldn't accidentally yank the tube out again. It's brilliant! Why weren't we given this before?
After we got the Foley in, we headed straight to Children's. Yes we visited not one, but TWO ERs the day after Christmas! They also assured us that this happens all the time and that they could just pop a new tube in. Until, like the other hospital, they realized his wound had not healed up yet to allow this simple procedure.
The thing is, when they cut this opening for the G-tube, the cut through your abdominal wall and your stomach. But then they don't sew up the gap between your abdominal wall and your stomach. Instead, the body naturally heals these two areas together over the next 3 months. But now, there is a gap and if you put a new tube in, you want to make sure you've landed the tube in the stomach and not in the space in between. If that's where you put it, then the feedings go into your Peritoneum, you can get an infection, and die.
So, the ER doctor couldn't just pop this in. We needed a doctor from the GI team. So we got a great doctor who came and did that. However, she warned us that if it didn't work, Soren would need to get admitted again and have surgery again the next day. But, she did easily get it in (thanks to the Foley from the 1st ER). Our next step was getting Soren' X-rayed to check that it did, in fact, land in the right place. Everything checked out a-okay and, 5 hours after this endeavor began, we headed home.
And while everything seemed peachy keen, the problem is that in changing the tube, they changed my skill in using it. This tube is shorter, so crimping is more difficult. The parts don't fit together as well, so I need an extra set of hands to make sure tubes don't pop out. And I'm now incredibly jumpy whenever Soren moves his arms.
So I'm actually hoping I can take Soren back to Children's today to see the GI nurse to get advice. I can't continue with the tube like this. And hopefully when I post next I'll have better news.