Empowered. Confident. Simplified. These are the ways mom Megan described how Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) gave her the necessary tools to best care for her son, Kai, who received a feeding tube from Dr. Sid Dassinger in the ACH Surgery Clinic when he was just shy of a year old.
Even before he was born, Kai became a patient at ACH to treat heart conditions and several other medical issues. Because of his lack of growth, Kai was given a gastrostomy tube, or "G-Tube," inserted into his belly so nutrition could directly reach his stomach. Soon after surgery, nurse Karen educated Megan on how to feed Kai correctly through the "button" tubing and what to do if the tubing came off. Assuring Megan it would happen at some point, nurse Karen wanted her to know exactly what to do.
"She did a very good job of seeing how I learned and tailoring the education to that," Megan said. "I left feeling confident, one, that I knew what to do, how to feed him, but also that I would know what to do when the button came out."
Two weeks after Kai left the hospital, Megan put her crisis training to use. Megan said the temporary extension tube used in preparation to feed her son got stuck on something, causing the button tubing to pop out as her husband was holding him.
"I hear my husband kind of scream my name. He said, 'It came out.' He was very emotional, this was very scary for him and I said, 'OK let me go get the kit, I know what to do, Karen told me,'" Megan shared. "So I got the kit and I'm hearing Karen's voice in my head of 'It's going to come out, just get the tube and put it in, tape it down and call the ER.'"
When they arrived at ACH's ER, the surgeon praised Megan for her calm confidence on the phone, but she explained, "It was all because I had Karen. She made what I thought was going to be really complicated and scary very simple. She was confident that I could do it. And that was very helpful, because I was scared. She empowered me to do what I need to do for my kid."
It’s important for any parent whose child receives a feeding tube to ask questions and practice working with the tube at the hospital while around nurses, Megan explained, adding that the ACH Surgery Clinic went above and beyond for her family.
“I'm very grateful,” she said.
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