My son had his g-tube placed when he was two years old. It was a scary time for our family. There were numerous unanswered questions about his condition. C’s had his tube for 3.5 years now and most of those questions have been answered. If you have a g-tube (or are a tubie yourself!), you may get a lot of questions about it. Five questions about my child’s g-tube come up all the time – and here’s how I respond.
Why does he have a g-tube?
My child has a g-tube because he stopped eating when he was two years old. After a multitude of testing, we discovered that his stomach doesn’t contract properly to push food into his intestines. It’s called delayed gastric emptying. We later discovered that his oral sensitivities are also related to autism.
Does he eat orally?
Yes, he can eat orally when he wants and what he wants.
When will he have the g-tube removed?
We don’t know. When he first got his g-tube, we were hopeful he would only have it for a few years. Now I’m not sure if he will ever have his g-tube removed – but I’m okay with that. It’s just a different way of eating.
Does the g-tube hurt him?
Sometimes. When he engages in strenuous physical activity (running, wrestling, etc.), the g-tube button irritates his skin. It doesn’t bother him as much when he wears reusable g-tube pads (we love these tubie pads!).
Can he swim with his g-tube?
Yes! With his g-tube, he can participate in whatever activities he wants. He knows his limits and won’t do something that will make him uncomfortable.
Next time you get questions about your child’s g-tube, know that you’re not alone! People are naturally curious about unfamiliar things. In the first few months of getting comfortable with the tube, I was more sensitive about questions. Now I like to take the opportunity to educate and normalize tubie life.