|I have a question!|
On April 26th we have an appointment with our surgeon. The plan is to deflate the balloon that holds the tubes inside Christopher's abdomen and pull the tubes out. If you have never seen feeding tubes put in and out, it is kind of hard to envision. I will do my best to describe it for you, and I have provided some pictures to help.
|Syringe is used to add/remove water.|
The picture below is a model of what a feeding tube looks like when it is inserted into the patient's abdominal wall. The balloon has been inflated with water, so that you can see how the balloon works to keep the feeding tube in place.
|Model of what a feeding tube looks like when it is inserted into the patient's abdomen.|
If you look at the top part of the model, you can also see the port where a syringe can be inserted to inflate/deflate the balloon. There is also a little tab that can be opened and closed in order for the patient to connect the feeding tube up to the feeding tube machine when it is time to "eat".
|Feeding tubes being used in a patient.|
The picture above shows a patient with the feeding tubes in use. You can see that the little tabs are opened up, and there is tubing inserted into the feeding tubes.
|Feeding tube machine and formula|
It is a really ingenious system which delivers customized meals on demand for the patient. Tube feeding has helped to save the lives of countless people, including Christopher who could not have survived without it.
As you know, HE DOESN'T NEED TUBE FEEDING ANYMORE. The plan to remove his feeding tubes is simple. The surgeon will insert a syringe and remove the water in order to deflate the balloons. The feeding tubes will slide out easily once the balloons are deflated, but that's when things could get a little bit messy.
Usually when feeding tubes are removed, the holes close up spontaneously on their own. However, these holes have been in there for 17 years, so they may or may not close up on their own. Think of a pierced ear. When the piercing is new, the earring can't be removed for a period of time in order to avoid the new hole from closing up. With time, the likelihood of the hole closing is reduced, thereby allowing the earrings to be taken in and out. It's kind of the same thing with Christopher's feeding tubes. When they were new, there was always the danger that the holes would close quickly if the feeding tubes accidentally came out, but after 17 years the doctor isn't sure whether these holes will close on their own or not.
The plan is to remove the tubes and see what happens. The surgeon told us at our first meeting that he would remove the tubes, show us how to care for the leaky mess, and hope that they close up within a week or so. Our job will be to care for the skin around the tubes. The leakage can cause skin breakdown and infection, so we will have to be hyper vigilant in caring for the holes while they heal.
If they don't close up on their own, will he have to have surgery? Christopher will have to have a small surgery to stitch them up. I am not exactly sure about everything that would be involved with that, but the surgeon assured us that it would be a minor procedure.
What will his abdomen look like once the feeding tubes are removed and healed? Will he need plastic surgery or skin grafts? There will definitely be scars left where the feeding tubes once were, but Christopher's abdomen is riddled with scars from past surgeries and procedures. He won't require any plastic surgery, but we are free to consult a plastic surgeon at anytime, if Christopher decides that the way his abdomen looks bothers him. Right now, he doesn't seem to care about the scars. I guess the scars make him look tough...and that he is! He has survived and persevered with grace through very difficult circumstances!
|When he gets his feeding tubes out, Christopher will have two more scars to add to his collection. His scars represent the long journey that has brought him to where he is now, a place of healing thanks to God's mercy!|
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