G-Tube Change

I can’t believe I forgot this part of our day!  When the medical students were in getting the health history for our GI appointment, they asked if I was comfortable changing out the g-tube.  Short answer: No.  Long answer: Our g-tube change-out experiences have been pretty traumatic so far.

The first g-tube change-out was three months after the surgery to place it.  It was an office visit here in town at my former GI’s office.  The nurse talked me through it, and I did it.  It was easy!  I was confident!  THAT VERY NIGHT was the night the tube got pulled out when our babysitter was putting Kiran in his crib.  We came home as fast as we could but due to swelling and timing, we were unable to get the tube back in and had to take Kiran to the ER.  That remains the most stressful, horrible ER visit in his entire life – and, as you might recall, he has had many.  The dilators they had to use were really painful for Kiran, and I remember just laying next to him crying along with him.  It.  Was.  Awful.

So, three months after that, time to change it – I was determined to do it myself…but wanted the home health nurse here while I did it, in case.  The old one was hard to pull out – the nurse even said it was like there was an air bubble stuck behind it or something – and then when I saw the hole, I just kinda freaked out.  I couldn’t do it.  The nurse had to do it.

So yeah, I told the truth about our history and my discomfort and stress around changing the g-tube.  So the GI doc had her nurse come in to go through it with me another time.  We were due to change it at the end of this month anyway.  Now, I get the logistics of it – I know exactly HOW to change the g-tube.  Heck, I could teach anybody how to do it!  It’s the actual doing it.  Still, I let the nurse go through his teaching…and after a long morning of many appointments and having been up since 5 am, despite my uncertainty and anxiety around it all…I changed the g-tube.  I did it.  It didn’t go perfectly, but it went pretty damn smoothly.

And he went through in great detail the items we should always have with us – our “g-tube emergency kit” if you will…and went through what to do if the tube comes out and we can’t get it back in.  All stuff that would have been nice to know ten months ago when the g-tube was first placed.  Again – I am glad we are in Iowa City now.

Three months from now, when I have to change the g-tube at home without a nurse standing by…we will see how I do.  But.  I did it.  That’s one more time (two total, now) that I was able to successfully change it.


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