Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart



Like a good piece of meat thats been marinated, thrown onto the fire, and taken off to be enjoyed. That's the image that came to mind as Dave and I hurriedly sat down to cram in what was supposed to be a long enjoyable lunch yesterday. I just giggled to myself. Yep, Dave and I have definitely been seasoned in this whole parenting thing.

We decided to take Ash out to lunch with us yesterday. My mom was more than willing to watch her while Dave and I enjoyed a lunch date, but since Ash had been cooped up in the house I thought she might like to get out for an hour or so. So to the office we went, picked up Dave, and then went out to lunch. We sat down to the table with our salads when Ashley was suddenly very fussy. So fussy that her seat in the stroller was not going to do the trick. She had been really fussy through the night and hadn't slept well so I thought she was just tired. I picked her up and she wasn't happy. So we wiped down the booth and sat her next to me still fussy and growing louder by the minute. I picked her up and held her close to me as she cried on my shoulder and then I felt it. A warm (too warm) fluid gushing onto my shirt. I slowly pulled her back away from me just enough to investigate and thats when I saw it. (Here is where the seasoned part comes into play. When you've been seasoned in transplant life with a tiny pickle there's not too much that can throw you.)

Somehow, someway Ashley's G-J tube had broken(probably the night before hence all the fussing?). The balloon that holds it inside the wall of the stomach had burst and approximately 4 inches of tube(out of the 15 inches) that should have been tucked into the jejunum portion of the small intestine was exposed. As was the hole in her stomach. "Ok," I thought to myself, "its noon time, the restaurant is full of people enjoying their lunches who need not to figure out that we now have gastric content, and bowel content, along with a frightening looking tube coming out of our child's tummy. Nobody deserves a shock like this on their lunch hour." So as I held Ash close to my chest (hiding her "extra part" the best I could) I calmly approached Dave who had gone back to the salad bar and said, "I would like for you to grab my purse and the diaper bag and meet us out in the car." Confused he agreed.

We sat in the parking lot with a now smiling child and held the g-j tube in her stomach as we waited for a return phone call from our GI doctors office. It didn't come for a while and then once it did they didn't know what to do and they were calling our surgeon's office. Dave and I knew what had to be done we just wanted to make sure there was nothing that fastened or held the other end into her bowel. The call wasn't being returned(it had now been close to 30minutes) so as soon as Nan arrived with a box full of supplies Dave pulled the remaining tube out of our child and replaced it with a g - tube. He then picked up the baby, stepped out of the car and said, "Lets go eat our lunch." So we did.

As we sat down to shove the food into our mouths before Dave had to be back in the office we began to laugh. "Life wasn't supposed to be like this, was it?" I asked.

"I bet you thought we would be chasing our toddler around the house, trying to convince her to eat her vegetables rather than pizza or the dog food didn't you", he said.

"Yeah, I really did. I never imagined I would be hoping she would eat anything including dog food by this point!"

We laughed for a while and then decided that we were proud of how calm we were(man am I glad to have him when these things happen!), how we handled our little "emergency", how much we loved Ashley Kate(and all her bells and whistles), and that life was better this way. Thats when the image of the meat popped into my mind and I thought to myself, "Ok, Lord. You can stick a fork into us now cause I think were done. We're pretty much seasoned and we've been in the fire a long time."

As I pulled into the drive way the phone rang. It was the surgeons office asking us to drive to Shreveport to allow the surgeon to pull out the remaining tube and replace it with a g tube. I just laughed and said we had already handled that and all was fine. We didn't need to make the drive over and that if anything went wrong we would head on over.

Yep, were seasoned. No big deal. The hole has been filled and we are now feeding Ash into her tummy instead of her bowel and so far so good. She seems to be handling it all just fine.


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