Yes feeding tubes seem so serious, scary and can sound like the beginning of the end. However, I like to take the approach that we can find humor in just about anything, even feeding tubes.
Thus, you know you are a tubie mom when:
- You no longer panic that there is an actual hole right in to your child's body.
- Hearing the sound of any beeping, you immediately look at the feeding pump for an error message (for me it is trucks backing up and our dishwasher beep).
- Hear a beep and you still look for the pump even when the feeding pump is not with you.
- You have loose syringes in purses, pockets, cars compartments, etc. the way most people find loose change or gum. You cannot find a pen but you sure can find a syringe.
- A perfectly sized syringe makes you happy.
- Delivery of medical supplies is a little exciting.
- Your child's closet is less about clothes and more about medical supplies.
- Medical supply companies can make or break your day.
- Any measurement you now think in terms of mls or ccs, even when cooking.
- You no longer notice tubie breath.
- You are grateful for the feeding pump until it malfunctions in a way you cannot fix. Then you want to toss it out the window, run it over, smash it with a hammer and more. And it always malfunctions in the middle of the night.
- You know what 16 French, 1 cm means.
- You consider the Gastroenterologist a close family friend.
- Mickey - no longer means Mickey Mouse but the Mic-Key button.
- Extensions, Balloons and Buttons have a completely different meaning to you than the rest of the population.
- Your other children have participated in the tube changes...perhaps in the parking lots during their basketball tournament?
- Your other children know how to operate the feeding tube better than they do the washing machine.
- You know that smell. The smell of formula. Formula that has gone rogue...a leak, a spill, the tube came apart.
- You can change a your child's button just a smoothly as you would change your earrings.
- Still wondering how poop can change every day when you child gets the same food, same amount, same time, every day.
- Your blizzard supplies do not just include milk and eggs but: Charged Feeding Pump, Bags, Formula, Water, Medications, Syringes, Extensions, Extra Buttons, etc. Remember to charge the feeding pump (and back up pump) in case of power outage.
- Packing for any trip, day trip or week trip, is a process.
- You have replacement kits every where, just in case your child requires a change.
- You immediately identify with other tubie parents.
All to say that you are actually grateful your child has a feeding tube because it does improve their quality of life. It gives them nutrition, ease of giving medications and it gives this mom some peace of mind.