Monday, April 17, 2006

The Trach and the Tube

The Trach
A lot of people have been a little freaked out by the idea of the trachaeostomy itself, but the truth is, it doesn’t look too bad and it’s not been difficult to care for.

There’s a little white tube that juts out from under Thomas’s chin, and there are Velcro ties that go around his neck to keep it on. We put a bib over it when he’s hanging out in the day time, so people don’t know it’s there – until I reach into my camera bag, turn on a motor, and stick a long, skinny tube into his plastic protrusion when he starts coughing. Then people notice.

The trach isn’t even that hard to trade out. What’s hard is telling yourself that what you’re about to do is remove your kid’s windpipe for a second. What’s hard is looking down at his face while he turns red and gasps and you try to sing nice songs and clean up a bit while your own heart is pounding out an S.O.S., double time. But it’s not hard to replace, or to clean, or to deal with even on such an active little guy.

The Tube
Consider, for a moment, your average seven month old. “What to Expect in the First Year” reminded us that this is the age where babies begin to have their own personalities and to “test limits” …which means that Thomas is old enough to know that he has hands and also that they are made for making trouble.

Friday, Scott was holding the baby on his lap, getting ready to make sure that Thomas’s feeding tube was in the right place. I was talking to Scott and playing with Thomas. We both looked down at the feeding side of the tube for about five seconds while Scott popped the air into the tube and listened on Thomas’s stethoscope. “Hmm.” he said, “I don’t hear anything.”

This was because, in the half-second while we were looking down, Thomas had reached up and, with impressive dexterity, slipped his little fingers in the tiny part of the tube not covered by tape and ripped the thing out of his nose. He was waving it around in front of his eyes, trying to get it into his mouth.

It doesn't hurt him, really - might scrape his throat, but that's it - and it's comparatively easy to put back down -although he hates it - but man, we're going to have to really step up our level of parenting, I think.

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At 12:30 PM, Blogger Bonnie said...

You, Thomas and Scott will be in my prayers continually!!


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