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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thumbs Up for the G-Tube

With my first child, I would swell with pride when she would eat her grilled salmon and asparagus and brown rice without complaint and know that she was developing healthy eating habits. With Kyle? I swell with pride that we were smart and strong enough to finally agree to a g-tube so that he can reap the benefits of proper nutrition and grow up to be the big, strong boy he is genetically pre-disposed to be. (yeah, I don't like ending a sentence with a preposition, either. How else can I structure that sentence, though? Can't come up with anything which retains my original sentiment.)

The fasting on the day of g-tube surgery--and the 24 hours post-op--were tough, I'll tell you that. This boy who can never be bothered to eat much of anything on any given day was absolutely clamoring for Goldfish crackers and milk for the entire period when he could not have them. I imagine he is probably among the youngest of the Expert Guilt Trippers after this week's performances.

So yeah, it wasn't an easy week. But I can't get over this feeding tube and pump. Wonderful inventions. I could not be more thrilled. He is laying in his bed and barely even feels the filling sensation of fat and calories that I've programmed his pump to administer. I'm like a ninja mom, in that way. Or ninja chef? Or ninja enteral feeder, most likely. Whatever--I'm a ninja in any of these scenarios, and you won't see me arguing with that.

As if he wasn't already totally adorable before, now he refers to his button (the surgically-installed device in his tummy where the feeding tube plugs in) as his "door". As in, "Look--I have a door on my tummy." That's such a perfect way for a three year old to understand the concept and purpose of it, isn't it? I don't know how he came up with that, but what a clever boy.

Kyle turns four years old in four weeks and he weighs about twenty-three pounds. That's "0th percentile", at best. He is diagnosed "failure to thrive" going on about eighteen months now. I tried non-invasive solutions--DuoCal, Carnation Instant Breakfast, adding butter/oil/guacamole/cream cheese/peanut butter to his foods--and after so many months I had to finally admit that these strategies did not work for him.

I know it's only been a week, but my admiration for this g-tube is off the charts. I never realized how much time I used to spend a) thinking up things that he might agree to eat, b) begging him to eat things that I know he likes, c) watching him not eat things that I know are good for him, d) throwing away nutritious foods that he simply refused to consume, e) wonder how I can leverage dessert in a way which will make him eat any of his dinner.

Today? He had Doritos and chocolate ice cream. For breakfast. And I don't even care. I can ignore this particular battle because his doctors and I are winning the war.


  1. IT;s a real tough decision but feeding tubes, I agree are miraculous and on the plus side Kyle can still eat orally.
    He's adorable btw.

  2. The door is adorable... as is the boy-o.