We left the house.
Not just for a doctor’s appointment either.
In fact, we left for no. reason. at. all. On purpose.
Sunday was not only Mother’s Day but it was Mark’s birthday. All he wanted, for his birthday, was to get out of the house and go for a ride.
Earlier in the week, the home medical supply folks came out with Corrigan’s feeding pump but the smallest size backpack that they had could have fit Connor. Not a two-year old boy. They brought an IV pole but there is no way, short of stealing one of the cage-cribs from the hospital, that Corrigan would ever handle being tethered to it. The company later called to tell us that they had special-ordered him a really small one but it would be 10-14 days until it arrived in stock.
I looked online and those mini-backpacks specifically meant for the feeding pumps are expensive. Like, $80.00 expensive! Not going to work for us, at all…so we headed to the mall to find something that we could convert into a pump bag for the time being.
We found this Spiderman backpack at Sears (for $20.00 <–riDICulous, yes I am cheap)
We picked this one because it is a soft, felt-like material instead of that sort of hard plastic type of backpack. In hindsight, I can see how this might get dirtier quicker but it also seems pretty washable.
I found an old backpack in the closet with similar-sized black straps and did a little re-purposing surgery! (Wait, is it really re-purposing if you take a backpack and turn it into a backpack? shouldn’t I have to turn it into a toilet paper holder or something to count? I don’t know.) I converted some of the straps into velcro tabs for inside of the back to hold the food bag up higher than the pump which sits safely in the bottom of the pack. I also cut off of the clips from the old bag.
Then, I took it down to Petra’s who sewed all of my pieces exactly the way that I wanted in about ten minutes. (Thank you Petra!) She and I decided, earlier, that he probably needed some sort of chest strap to keep him from ripping it off of himself.
I also had to make a spot to allow the tubing to come outside of the bag to attach to Corrigan. I learned, pretty quickly, that I need to figure out something that allows me to cinch up the extra tubing when he has the pack on his back and is playing. It quickly slipped out and could have been a tripping hazard. Maybe a little strap with a snap to wrap up the cord as needed?
I had been letting him play with the pack on, with the weight of the pump inside, to ready him for when we really needed to hook him up and leave.
This was the first time I had hooked him up tried feeding him in this manner. Surprisingly, he did not fight it as much as I thought he might though he didn’t have it on his back long because we were heading out for a drive. In the car, I simply hung the pack on the dry cleaning hook that is above the windows in most all backseats.
When we were in the car, leaving the gas station, Mark said, “Where do you want to go?” and I heard myself say, “Wherever you want to go, I brought enough formula to keep us out until 10pm if you want”
Shocked he replied, “Those words are the best birthday present ever!” to which I admitted that uttering the sentence was also followed by swallowing the vomit that immediately came up when I thought about THAT MUCH TIME away from my safety-net.
But we said we were going to use this opportunity (the g-tube) to experience a better life as a family so what else could I say? I just prayed that I remembered how to do the pump properly and that nothing went wrong…because Corrigan will not take his formula (by mouth) in the car and oh-my-gosh-where-are-you-going-Pennsylvania!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Off to PA we went…and as you can guess, everything was fine. As long as we are talking about the pump feeding, that is. If we are talking about how poorly behaved my toddler is, in public, then no. Not perfect. Mother’s Day dinner spent in the car with a toddler than cannot sit for more than 3 minutes in a high chair without a meltdown? Not so awesome.
Mark reminded me that Connor was raised in restaurants and malls ( back when I worked and rarely cooked) and Corrigan has been raised in hospitals. Corrigan doesn’t know how to act, in public, because he has had so little practice at it. I am okay with practicing things as long as it isn’t causing me to waste money. Ordering food that I cannot eat because I am sitting in the parking lot doesn’t thrill me…but I can handle walking the mall and doing shopping cart practice runs.
And the practice run for the feeding pump? Smooth as silk. He had two pump feeds while we were out. One on the way up and one on the way back. In the middle of both, he fell sound asleep as well. Couldn’t have gone any better…so it was a good day after all.
I would love any advice from experienced moms on how to do a better job on his backpack and also any tips that you might have about any of it at all! Gimme all of your knowledge, I am a sponge!