Monday, November 30, 2015

Halloween and G Tubes


Halloween happened about a month ago. Nate was mostly into it. Especially the part where he got to lead the costume parade. He took the job very seriously.
Nate has a g-tube that allows us to feed him directly into his stomach. It’s particularly useful at dinner parties when we‘ve been served food we don’t like and there is not a dog available under the table. I can just throw it in a syringe and pump it into Nate under the table with our hosts none the wiser.

The downside of the g-tube though is that what goes in also goes out. We feed him by attaching a small, clear plastic tube to the g-tube in his stomach. He now has an open line from his stomach to the outside. The only thing that keeps what’s in his stomach from having a playdate with everything else outside of his stomach, i.e. the carpet, is a plastic clamp on the tube.

What happens when you forget to lock the clamp you ask? Great question! Everything that is in his stomach has a sudden urge to go Mongolian Horde and rush forth into the wider world.
His g-tube is kept securely in place but it can be yanked out and it has been yanked out accidentally when he first had it put in. Since then, it hasn’t been a problem...until this last Sunday, and oh boy.

Nate was on his scooter board outside with his cousins when I suddenly heard him yelling for help. I look over to see food all over his stomach. After feeding him I had forgotten to close the clamp and his last meal had spilled out on his shirt. Then I remembered I hadn’t been feeding him. In fact, he didn’t even have the feeding tube attached to his g-tube. So where was all this…..uh oh. Then I noticed that while Nate was sitting up, his g-tube was laying on the floor. For those of you keeping track, the floor is not Nate’s stomach and his g-tube should most definitely not be there.

Then I noticed HOW MUCH food there was everywhere. And it was everywhere. It covered his entire shirt was going down his pants and was all over the floor.

I rushed over to him and lifted up his shirt. There, on his stomach, was a hole that was supposed to have a g-tube in it.  A device that was supposed to be keeping his stomach contents where they were supposed to be.  Instead there was a hole with food spurting out of a geyser. My first thought was to lay him on his back and see how high the fluids would shoot into the air. I quickly determined that this would be fun but less than helpful in cleaning up the mess.

Thankfully, replacing a g-tube is easy enough, doesn’t involve any pain for Nate and I had great help from my family. Nate wasn't bothered at all.  I worry that situations like this will embarrass him, and maybe one day they will.  But not this time.  He just kept asking when I’d be done so he could go back to playing. Stay five forever Nate. 

It’s heartening and sobering when you realize that depositing a plastic feeding device into a hole in your 5 year-old’s stomach is one of the easiest emergencies you have to deal with.

Also, more Halloween with Nate and his Green cousins:

I think Nate is pretending to be a T-Rex astronaut in this photo.


  1. You guys are my heroes. What a champ! Nate is such a cute astronaut and even cuter dinosaur. Sending our love. <3