A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I were talking about the fact that Feeding Tube Awareness Week was coming up and what we could do to help people learn about feeding tubes. We came up with the idea that they could do presentations in their 1st and 3rd grade classes at school. I emailed their teachers and explained what we wanted to do and why, and both of them graciously agreed to let us take a few minutes last Friday to teach their classes about feeding tubes. We video taped them doing the presentations in class, but they were a little too far away and the sound on the video didn't come out very good, so we did it again at home. The bummer about that was that you can't see the PowerPoint very well on the tv. Since it didn't work out quite as planned, I'll post the slides & speaker notes from the presentation and then post the video below. Here is what they had to say:
Here's the video. Pardon the coughing fits, allergy season is in full swing and is brutal on these two. And please overlook the nose picking. He can't help himself, he's just a boy. :) I couldn't get the volume adjusted so you'll probably have to turn it up to hear them.
*side note: because this presentation was for young children, I left out a couple of types of tubes. OG= orogastric (like NG only through the mouth instead of the nose), NJ=nasojejunal, ND=nasoduodenal, J=jejunostomy
Presenting a topic like this to 6 and 7 year olds is tricky. :) They did their best to listen to Cole and when I came to the front to help him with Q&A time, we got "questions" like this:
"One time, I fell on the sidewalk and scraped my elbow and it hurt really bad."
"My brother broke his leg once and had to go to the hospital."
"Can she still blow her nose?"
Gotta love 1st graders! :)
The 3rd graders, on the other hand, had SO many thoughtful questions to ask. They were so good during the whole presentation and you could tell that they were genuinely interested. When it was over, I came to the front to help Ashtyn answer questions and I was so impressed by the things they asked. I wish I had all of them written down but here are a few that I can remember:
- How often do you feed her?
- 4 times a day through the feeding tube (with the pump)
- OR if she eats enough calories combined to equal 250, we can eliminate one of the 4 tube feeds
- We offer her food 4 or 5 times a day (mealtimes & snacks)
- Is it hard to find clothes for her with her tube?
- It was much harder when she was younger because onesies & zippered jammies don't give good access to the feeding tube
- Now it's just hard to find her warm winter jammies that don't have a zipper on them (I don't like cutting holes in her clothes!)
- When you just got her out at the hospital, could she breathe?
- She never had trouble breathing, she just had trouble eating and not throwing up what she ate
- So if she wants to eat chips, can she put them in her mouth?
- Yes, she can and does eat chips :)
- Does the tube ever come off when she gets older?
- Yes, when she gets good enough at eating that she can eat enough calories, drink enough fluids, and take her medicines by mouth, then we'll be able to take the tube out.
- Can she only have certain foods?
- Right now there are only certain foods that she likes, and her eating skills aren't quite good enough to eat things that take a lot of skill to eat (like meat) but she doesn't seem to have any food allergies anymore.
- If she doesn't want to eat something, do you have to put it in the blender and put it in her tube?
- We don't always, but we CAN put real food in the blender and put it through her tube. We've fed her all kinds of vegetables and fruits through the feeding tube.
- How did they get the tube in?
- The doctor gave her medicine to make her sleep and then they used a sharp tool to make a little hole where the tube needed to be. Then they put the tube in the hole and on the inside, they put a piece of plastic on to keep the tube from coming out while the cut healed.
This presentation was such a great experience for our family! We really felt like teaching elementary school kids about feeding tubes was a great way to promote positive awareness. Kids CAN be cruel, but if they are given the right information, they can also be kind and understanding. Often more so than adults. We are so grateful that we had this opportunity and hopefully next year we can make the presentation to a larger audience.