G-tube Placement at Seattle Children’s Hospital
Oh how I wish I would have had this g-tube resource guide back in 2012.
G-Tube Placement Pre-Op Appointment
Apollo had his pre-op appointment Thursday, May 3 2012. My groovy parents drove Apollo and me down to Seattle so Chuck could drive our vehicle down after work. Meanwhile, Chuck’s nifty parents were watching our hoard of adorable children. Oh, a few were at friends’ houses because that’s what happens when you have a milllion kids.
My parents were finally able to see Apollo’s home away from home. The hospital where he spends so many of his days. Pre-op went smoothly and my parents drove us to the hotel where Chuck, Apollo, and I were spending the night.
As soon as they left Apollo and I settled down to watch Shrek and wait for Chuck to arrive. Chuck called a few minutes after six to tell me he was just walking out the door…”Um, what door?” I asked.
Never mind that he has been getting of work at 3:30 or 4:00 lately. This day everything that could go wrong at work did. And more. So I now I had two plus more hours in tiny a hotel room alone with a crazy toddler. Then I realized he only had an hour left before I had to cut off from solid food (because of surgery the next morning).
I had less than an hour to walk to a nearby restaurant from my hotel in Seattle and feed Apollo. I knew I couldn’t lose sight of my hotel or I may never make it back, so walked to a nearby mexican restaurant…Apollo loves rice and I figured that and the beans would fill him up. Only he wouldn’t eat a single. bite. Not to be discouraged, I hurried back to the hotel where I figured I would buy him anything in the coffee shop that he would eat. Only the coffee shop closed at six.
So we headed up to the hotel room where he refused to eat: a granola bar, a Clif Bar and baby food. Basically all the food I had packed. I did manage to get him to eat 4 animal crackers. And that was the last meal he ate for over 36 hours.
Chuck finally arrived just past eight and we spent a horrendously horrible night in a lovely hotel. Apollo couldn’t eat or nurse or sleep. We were tired. And miserable. And we got in a fight. And then we made up. We told Apollo he was getting a tube put in his stomach (we had been looking at pictures and talking about “little boys who eat through their tummies” all week). And he was very upset. And scared. And we had no way to console him.
Coffee, surgery beeper and parent passes. The symbols of our new life.
G-tube Surgery Day
Finally, finally it was time to head to the hospital. After two surgeries and two procedures that required anesthesia in the last five months, he knows the drill. And doesn’t like it.
It wasn’t until we were talking to the surgeon that we were told Apollo wouldn’t be able to eat or nurse until the next morning. And we had consoled him by telling him he could eat and nurse after he woke up from surgery…
Finally they took him back. Half an hour later the surgeon told us all was well. The procedure went off without a hitch (there was some concern about whether or not he would be able to pass the tube through his compressed esophagus). And we now have glossy photos of the inside of his esophagus! We were then called to go wait in his room.
While we were there and the nurse was typing his info into the computer, her phone rang.
“I’m right here with his parents…let me ask.”
Then she turned to us and asked, “Does Apollo usually make a squeaky noise when he exhales?”
Terrifying words to parents of a child with chronic respiratory issues. We assured her that he never makes noise when he exhales (only on inspiration).
“Don’t worry,” she said. “They’re just going to call the anesthesiologist back in to look at him”.
Worry we did. Especially remembering the “difficult airway” sign they posted on his crib during our last visit.
After an excruciating hour of worry, he was brought in to us. Asleep and making horrendous noises as he breathed. Standard protocol for Apollo post surgery.
G-Tube Placement Recovery: Overnight in the Hospital
And he spiked a fever again. Just like he did last time he had anesthesia. His little system, it seems, can only handle so much. This time there was no shaking or vomiting, but his fever was several degrees higher. It was a mixed blessing. Because of his fever, he never really fully woke up until late evening, so he wasn’t asking for food.
Apollo was in pain and miserable. I wondered if we made the right choice. It seems so weird: a feeding tube for a kid who can eat. And it was so big. And so long-term. And the evening and night dragged on and on and on and on. And it was terrible.
And then morning came. Apollo’s fever went away. They put pedialyte in his tube. He was able to nurse and eat Cheerios. He was in pain, but morphine helped.
This is the only picture I have of his tube so far…
After he tolerated several small tube feedings and we were properly “trained” we got to head home.