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Tubey Monkeys: Helping Children Cope with Their G-tubes
Coping with a G-tube is made easier with a "Tubey Monkey"
Coping with a G-Tube (Gastrostomy Tube) can be difficult for a young child, but at least three Kids With Food Allergies’ moms have made that a little easier with the help of a "Tubey Monkey". By performing surgery on stuffed KFA monkeys, they have helped their children understand and feel better about the procedure and their G-Tubes.
Erica had the idea for a Tubey Monkey when her daughter, Laura, had been sick for several weeks. To help her combat boredom and depression, Erica thought it might be good to perform surgery on Laura’s new KFA monkey. With extra "surgical" supplies and Laura’s approval, the operation began.
Other KFA parents, Allison and Meg, also decided a Tubey Monkey would be beneficial for their children. "It just seemed like a nice learning tool for the little kiddos—a doll with a tube 'just like them,'" said Meg, whose daughter, Celia, likes to use her stuffed animal while role-playing. "She will give the monkey medicine in his tube, help 'change his tubey' and even give him a nebulizer treatment."
To create the Tubey Monkeys, these moms purchased a small KFA logo t-shirt that reads, "Please Do Not Feed Me, I Have Food Allergies" and a favorite stuffed animal. They then used extra surgical and medical supplies to operate on the monkeys by making a small cut in the tummy and inserting the button. Allison even purchased a generic medical alert bracelet that says "Allergy to Bananas" for her daughter Faith's monkey.
Their children have responded well to the monkeys.
"I had seen some other EOS moms who had done a similar thing with their tube-fed kids, and that was what inspired me," Erica said. "Dealing with multiple medical issues is not always easy for a kid. I welcome any idea to make the road a little easier."
If you are interested in a making a Tubey Animal for your child and need assistance, please post on our support forum for parents of children on few foods or no foods (tube fed diet).
This article first appeared in the Summer 2007 edition of Support Net™.
Approved by KFA Medical Advisory Team June 2007