Thursday, November 10, 2011
What are Gtube guards? They are a fabric barrier between the tender skin of a tummy and the plastic parts of a Mickey Gtube Button.
Henry, my son had to have a Gtube to sustain his caloric needs. Due to muscle tone and an inability to swallow consistently, he was unable to nourish himself through oral feeding.
After the surgery, Henry had many complications, including an overgrowth of granulated tissue. Granulated tissue is the bodies response to an open wound. The body tries to create scar tissue to close and strengthen the site where the tube is. A lot of kids have issues with this. The tissue accumulates and then has to be burned off with silver nitrate. It all involves pain and discomfort. Our GI doctor suggested we try spilt gauze to help protect the sensitive skin. Henry developed an allergy to the medical tape the secured the gauze.
I felt like I needed to come up with an alternative. I spent several months experimenting with different styles, and have now come up with a design that i am quite proud of. These little guards are time consuming and require an immense amount of effort to make, but Henry's granulated tissue is gone. His skin is completely healed. I offer them in my Etsy shop and am hoping to get the word out to other websites and establishments that work with people that have feeding tubes.
How are they made? I use two layers of flannel and a layer of cotton batting. I use a small bit of velcro so they can be secured around the tube. They are securely sewn. They are sewn 'wrong side out' and then again 'right side out'. The 'right side out' stitching ensures the shape, even after many many washes. Henry has been using the same guards for months now, and they are still as effective as the first time.
These gtube guards are labor intensive, but they are a work of love. My daughter and I love spending a weekend constructing them. "It's like we get to be helpful for people we'll never meet." Anastasia is 14, and is always looking for ways to help families that live with similar struggles as ours.