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Did you know that Tube Feeding Awareness Week just ended? Unless you (a) follow me on Twitter, (b) keep up with my blog about raising my medically-needy son Silas, or (c) have a tube-fed child of your own, you probably missed it completely. I usually stick to A Boy Named Silas when blogging about special needs, but in the name of tube-feeding awareness, my column in this week's Christian Home Magazine is about my son's feeding tube.
I find the term "blessing in disguise" a little irritating. Sometimes life just gives certain people a higher than average lemon-to-sugar ratio. But in our case, however, I'm forced to admit that having a tube-fed son really has come with a few perks. Be jealous if you dare.
1. I can get out of any jury duty summons. Since I am the one who handles Silas' feeding tube, I can make a great point (backed up by the medical community) that finding trained, qualified care for Silas would be prohibitive. Silas' tube feeding doesn't stop me from enjoying the occasional night out with the hubby, but you certainly won't find me in any jury box. Jealous yet?
2. I never have to fight Silas to take medicine. I just hook his tube up, squirt the medicine in with a syringe, wash it down with a little water, and my son is good to go. (Any mother who has tried to give fever meds to a toddler should be drooling by now with envy.)
3. I don't have to stress too much if Silas eats something he shouldn't. Remember that post form last week, where I admitted that I have poison control center's number set to speed dial? The last time I called poison control was during a science club I was leading for some of our homeschool friends. Silas decided to take a sip of the silver nitrate solution I had just stirred up. Yes, I felt like a horrible mother. Yes, Silas complained of having metal-mouth for the rest of the night. But Silas didn't get an upset stomach because as soon as the chemicals went down, I was able to suck them right back out of his stomach thanks to his feeding tube! (See ... told you I'd have you dripping with envy before this post was done.)
4. I don't have to worry about a "balanced" diet. I know so many moms struggle with kids who are picky eaters or who have severe allergies. With Silas, I never need to force-feed, threaten to disown him if he doesn't eat his green beans, or worry if he is developing too much of a sweet tooth. I just pour the formula into his backpack, and off he goes. I realize this isn't the "ideal" organic diet I once imagined preparing for my family every day, but I got to admit it's pretty easy. (If you're not enviously green yet, let me remind you that there are no dishes to clean up after a tube feeding, either.)
So, as I think about it this Tube Feeding Awareness Week, our lemon-to-sugar ratio isn't nearly as high as you might imagine if you knew all our family's medical history. But of course my taste buds are still craving the sweetness that will be ours when Silas outgrows his feeding tube completely. I'm doing my best to hold on to faith that that day really will come. Then Silas and I can both enjoy some of that sweet, refreshing lemonade.
Let's just hope I won't be drinking mine from the jury box.
Would you like to learn more about Silas? Follow my other blog at boynamedsilas.blogspot.com, or check out the Alana Terry bookstore for information about my book, "A Boy Named Silas: The First Five Years," available in paperback and as an ebook.