Friday, October 5, 2012

The sniff test

About two weeks ago the hubby was giving Tessie a bath when I noticed that the little piece of gauze that we put around her Gtube button looked, well, gross. Now I know you're probably thinking that something that goes around a Gtube button and into a stoma in the belly would probably look gross normally, but you would be wrong. As a general rule of thumb, those little gauze pieces come off just as white as they went on with maybe a formula dribble on them if anything.

I was looking at blood. And something a tad greenish. Um, yeah....

I immediately thought, "Oh,'s an infection in her Gtube site", which can be very yucky if left untreated and make my little Toodle Bug quite the sick girl. She has had only one Gtube infection in nearly five years and that was almost right after the surgery to put it in so really, we had done an awesome job of keeping the site infection free and, all of her doctors, from Rockland to Boston would always comment on how great her stoma looked, making me beam with maternal pride and just a bit of smugness that I was so adept at Gtube maintenance.

It's the little things, people. Don't judge me.

Alas, it seemed as though my perfect record was over. But how to know for sure? I mean, the evidence thus far was purely circumstantial. A piece of gauze with just a little bit of dried blood on it and something with a greenish hue. Pretty convincing stuff but still it left room for doubt.

When it comes to Tessie, I do not leave room for doubt whenever possible.

So I did something that in hindsight, I can see, might seem a bit beyond the pale. Might disgust some. Might even make the more sensitive types (Hello Charlie) want to vomit.

I sniffed it.

Oh yeah. I grabbed that nasty, bloody gauze, lifted it to my nose and inhaled.

Behind me I was hearing, "Oh my God! That is frickin' disgusting! OH MY GOD!" *insert fake puking sounds here*  from the hubby.

When my vision cleared and I could think past the overwhelming, putrid stench emanating from that little piece of material, I marched right up to him and lifting that gauze like a woman on a mission said, "SMELL IT!"

Now many people won't admit this but the reality is, when you find a smell as heinous as the one I held in  my hands, your natural, almost primal, response is to want to share it. It's almost like you need someone else to validate how unbelievably gross it is. In a weird way, there is a certain thrill to bringing the putrid object to another person and watching as they back away in horror while shaking their heads and shrieking, "Get that thing the hell away from me!"   This was just like that but with vile, infected, bodily fluids.

I know.  Disgusting. But you need to understand how very, very nasty the situation was while at the same time the extreme pleasure I took in absolutely freaking Charlie out by taunting him with it. "SMELL IT, SMELL IT!"

Like I said, it's the little things.

At any rate, I deduced that her Gtube was most definitely infected and was not at all sure how to handle it on a Sunday night. So I slapped some triple antibiotic ointment on it, a fresh piece of gauze (the better to taunt you with, my dear) and called Sheila.

She agreed with my diagnosis based on my sniff test and suggested I get The Toots an appointment with her pediatrician when the office opened in the morning. So of course, by the next morning Tess was good and sick, Fever of 102 which I believe was from the infection but she had also come down with a bad respiratory virus so really, it could have just been a combination of everything.

I got Tessie to the mainland and when asked by her doc why did I think her Gtube was infected, I'll confess, I was quite hesitant to tell him what had actually transpired to lead me to that conclusion.

After a minute or so of babbling some nonsense about bloody gauze strips I just stopped, looked him dead in the eye and said, "I'm really embarrassed to tell you this because I'm sure you'll be as grossed out as Charlie was but the reason I know it is infected is because I smelled the gauze and then her stoma and only something that is infected can smell like that."

He never even batted an eye as he replied, "Well, how else would you be able to tell?"

Reason number one million and one why I love Tessie's pediatrician.


  1. This blog had me laughing out loud. I thought it was explosively halarious. The only difference between you and everyone else (with apparently the exception of Charlie,and probably a few others) is that you admit it to the world. A true and committed mother if ever there was one!

  2. My sister, a vet tech, checks our dog's ears by putting her nose in them and can tell pretty quickly if they are infected....ick.

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