Friday, August 31, 2012

Absolutely Exhausted - Good News and a Fixed Tubie

We woke at 4:30am to start the drive up to Rochester for Nolan's upper GI. It is slightly over three hours to get to the hospital. We were checked in and in the waiting room by 8:30am.

Nolan wasn't feeling all that well and wouldn't walk. I was a bit concerned about the Foley at this point, and was very glad we had an appointment immediately after the upper GI.

Strong Memorial is a much better hospital than Buffalo Children's. The difference is astounding. At WCHOB, parents are separated from their children for all x-rays. At Strong, I was able to don a lead vest and stay with my child during the procedure. Instead of a crowded waiting room with broken toys and waiting for a ridiculously long period of time, we were in a quiet pediatric waiting area and were seen within minutes. They let him keep his hearing aids on for the test, since they were only x-raying his belly. I don't think I'll ever have another test run at WCHOB again. It's worth the extra 90 minute drive.

Nolan drank the barium and we got many images. The radiologist then told me the results, right in the x-ray room.


His fundoplication is intact. The vomiting is likely due to his delayed gastric emptying/gastroparesis. When his stomach decides to shut down and gets too full, then he will reflux past the fundoplication. This isn't due to a failure of the operation, however - this is just something that might happen periodically.

We also saw that the Foley catheter had migrated into his small intestine. He was in pain and we needed to get the Foley replaced with a g-tube quickly. We headed up to the sixth floor where the most wonderful nurse in the entire world (I'm not kidding) set aside plenty of time to help our family.

Nurse J knows that our current Home Healthcare Company (HHC) sucks. They don't do g-tubes (we were set up with them for C-Pap supplies initially). She looked up a good HHC in our area and is setting us up with the new company. She is also going to get us a pump and formula to start overnight feeds.

She also said we can ditch the dietitian, who was frankly the opposite of helpful.

We talked about bolus feeding (giving the Pediasure via tube in three doses), but since Nolan bloats with that amount of volume, I really would prefer to try overnight feeds. We would really like to keep him eating "regular" food, even if it only constitutes 1/2-2/3 of his diet.

I showed the nurse pictures of his bloating. She asked if he had had a gastric emptying scan (GES) recently, and I said that he had one at the age of 2, but hadn't had one since. We know there is some dysmotility going on - his esophageal bolus transit time is slow and the test in 2009 showed delayed emptying, plus he has the bloating and frequent bouts of uncontrollable diarrhea. The fantastic, amazing, wonderful nurse J suggested we might think about doing another GES. I am so glad someone is thinking about why his tummy is bloating/he won't eat instead of just trying to patch the problem.

If his emptying is normal, then maybe we can push the feeds a little more and help his tummy expand to accommodate the extra food. If his emptying is abnormal, there are other things we can do.

She changed out his Foley to a Mic g-tube. This was rather traumatic for Nolan, so we were glad to be past it and on our way out the door. Nolan was really unhappy for a while, poor kiddo. He was still upset over having to go through another tube change, and was also upset he didn't get a "button." We taped the tube to his skin really well, and that seemed to help him (he doesn't like the sensation of the long tube rubbing against his shirt or skin).

The g-tube is a standard PEG tube - the grandfather of the modern buttons. These are much cheaper than the button style (the hospital pays about $12 for them - we'd pay about $35 if we bought one on-line). The buttons are over $150 to buy online (and our former HHC was trying to charge us over $300 for the same item). Our insurance will cover the buttons now that we are feeding with them, so we should get a button in the mail soon.

We went to Panera Bread for lunch and Nolan was feeling much better.

We managed to really get the tube secured with tape. The life-saving Nurse J gave us an entire roll of tape before we left (really, I might send her flowers).

We ate lunch and then headed home. We made it home by 3:30pm, which is good because we have a birthday party tomorrow.

My house isn't clean. I don't have much planned or organized. Such is the life in a week of crazy - but hopefully our friends love us and won't care that we aren't having a "fancy" birthday party. Sometimes, it is enough to get together and simply enjoy each other's company on a happy day.


Jennifer said...

Geez, I am tired just reading this! So sorry you are having such a rough time. I am glad you got good news and a great nurse. Hope it goes smoother from here! Hugs to Nolan and you!

carolanne said...

wow Leah what an exhausting trip but so glad you had a lovely nurse who really cares about Nolan and made this trip alittle easier to bare.
His gtube is the same as Travis's we use a wiggly bag to hold it from rubbing on his skin and avoiding sticky tape
I hope the overnight feeds help Nolan feel more comfortable during the day to eat ....and that the emptying scan gives you what you need to sort this hurdle much love enjoy birthday weekend xxx

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Good gracious, what a weekend (so far) you've had! So glad for the wonderful nurse who is IN YOUR CORNER, and may her tribe increase!


dlefler said...

I really can't wait until a new button comes. He is not really happy with the PEG, but it is definitely better than a foley! Here's to a very boring week ahead. We could use one!

Kyla said...

So can you get some extra long Gs for back-up relatively easily? Better than a Foley in a pinch!

So thankful for the nurse (and surgeon)! Everyone needs someone in their corner like that!

dlefler said...

We only have one standard G-tube as backup, but I can order some off the internet. The thing that kills me is that the hospital pays something like $12 for a regular g-tube, and we have to pay $40 to buy one online.