Never a dull moment in our house! Corey must have liked our weekend adventure and decided she wanted another. Do you remember Houdini; the magician that could dislocate his shoulders and elbows to contort himself free from any bondage. Many thought of him as the Master magician. I will guarantee that if Mr. Houdini were alive today, Miss Corey would give him reason to defend his title.
Corey’s bedroom is off the kitchen with a clear view from the kitchen. When I have to leave her side to go into the kitchen I look over at her constantly. She was very agitated tonight. She was pulling her hair, scratching, hitting, kicking and throwing the pillows off her bed. This is the behavior the nurses at Bryn Mawr warned me about. It is also behavior that we DO NOT want to condone. When TBI patients hit the agitated stage, it’s not unlike disciplining a young child. Although Corey is 18, she is not completely aware of her actions at this point.
I was in the kitchen for just a few minutes and in those few minutes I noticed that she had pulled out her feeding tube…not completely, but almost. It was extended 4”. Corey has a G-Tube, also known as a peg tube. There is a stopper internally within the stomach and externally against her belly. We are not sure if the stopper internally is a sinker or a balloon. When this situation arises, I push the tube back into place and use the syringe to push water through as I listen with a stethoscope for “gurgling” noises. (I’m not a nurse, I just play one at home!) I was not comfortable trusting the sounds as well as not truly knowing if what I was listening to was what I was supposed to be hearing. I called our neighbor that is an ER nurse at Christiana. Fortunately, she was available to come over. She taught me how to aspirate the tube to check to see if there were stomach secretions that could be drawn from the sight and how to push air into the belly and listen for the “air bubbles”. At her recommendation I also called our GI doctor.
Corey’s tube has been in place for 9 months. This is positive. Over time the stomach has formed a track internally so even if she were to pull the tube out, it could be reinserted. The Doctor felt that there was a 90% chance that everything was fine but not seeing Corey in person he left the decision to me as to whether or not I wanted her to be seen. How did I become qualified to make these decisions? I did take her up to the ER to have them check the sounds, placement and extension of the tube. Fortunately, her tube was still in place but I must tell you my stomach is having sympathy pain as a result of the nervous fear and worry.
Corey…you’re the reason I color my hair kid! Seriously, I wish I could take your frustration away. I wish I could understand what you’re trying to tell me. I wish I could magically fast forward your progress. Someday when you’re a parent you will understand the emotions of helplessness when you watch your child in discomfort but there is nothing you can do to ease the pain.
There is only one way I know to overcome the feeling of being helpless…educate yourself so you have the knowledge to respond appropriately. Look at all we’ve learned Corey. Nursing and Therapy skills…whatever it takes…we’ve got this! Happy dreams, xoxo