Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Breakfast, Unplugged

At the time we were considering g-tube surgery for Kyra, I read an article by a mom whose young daughter used a g-tube.  The mom’s favorite reason for having the g-tube was that in the morning, she could “plug her daughter in for breakfast” while she and her other children were  getting ready for work and school.  In my mind, saw a busy, bustling mom rushing around with her healthy, energetic children, while a little girl sat strapped in her wheelchair in a corner of the kitchen, a can of g-tube formula being mechanically pumped into her stomach.  I empathize with that mom’s attempt at morning multi-tasking, but I don’t agree with her methods.

Preparing Kyra’s g-tube meals from scratch, and feeding her by hand rather than an electric pump help keep her healthy, and keep us connected.  It also takes time.  It takes more time to shop for, prepare, blend, strain, and clean up home-cooked g-tube meals than it takes to pop open a can of formula, pour it in a bag, and toss the can in the garbage.  It takes a more time and attention to feed Kyra by hand than it does to plug a pump into a wall and flip a switch.  But what would I be doing with all that extra time anyway?  Scrolling through my Facebook news feed?  Finishing up last night's dishes?  Staring at my knee? (Well, maybe that  one’s worth some of my time.)

While I understand that we are all pressed for time, especially in the morning, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than caring for my precious daughter and family.  To help make mornings (and especially unplugged g-tube mornings) easier, set up your breakfast before you go to bed.  Set up the coffee maker.  Set out your bowl, spoon, and packet of oatmeal.  Put the loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter on the counter.  Measure your smoothie ingredients into your blender jar and put it in the 'fridge.  Whatever you’re having for breakfast, get it ready before bed.

If you have a family member with a g-tube, always keep a blended and strained meal in the refrigerator or freezer, ready to go. (Who says breakfast has to be oatmeal or eggs?  I blend and strain enough for two meals at supper time, saving one portion for breakfast the next morning.)  Set a g-tube extension tube, syringe, and spoon on a dinner plate, cover it with a clean dish towel, and leave it on your kitchen counter overnight.  

With a little forethought, everyone can have a healthy breakfast ready in a cinch.  Maybe you’ll even have a minute or two left over for knee-staring or other equally important activities.