Becoming Trach Certified

Before we can bring Parker home Reed, my Mom and I have to pass off a Tracheostomy certification class. Yup, they will hold Parker hostage until we prove that we can take care of him even in the most emergent of circumstances. And no, they won’t let us take up residency there where we could have a Respiratory Therapist on call. We already asked.

The first class was no big deal. They went over all the parts of the actual trach itself. The long part that is inserted into the trach stoma is called the Canula. And the top part that you can see on Parker’s throat is called the uh….Top.

Today’s class was on suctioning. Suctioning is very important. If you don’t keep your child suctioned you are effectively cutting off his airway. Imagine someone putting a clothes pin on your nose and duct taping your mouth shut. That is what a blocked trach feels like. We practiced on a piece of pvc pipe that had received it’s tracheostomy before it got to leave Home Depot.

Then it was time to practice on a real, live somebody. Parker was less than excited upon hearing that news. I can’t begin to express how much love I have for this kid who so patiently and calmly let us suction him out. First of all Parker HATES to be suctioned. His trach is still so new that it hurts. Then there is the anxiety that comes with somebody messing around with your airway. If you don’t think that is such a big deal then come on over and let me stick a really long tube up your nose and go chasing for stray buggers. Parker was a real trooper. And I promised that I would become the best snot sucker that ever existed. It is the least that I can do for this blessing of mine.

Right now I am home trying to get a few things ready for when Parker will be able to rejoin our family. You know all the re-thinking of how you live you had to go through when baby proofing your home? Well, wall sockets and sharp corner pads are NOTHING compared to trach-proofing a home.

I have to:

Go through Parker’s clothes and keep only the tops that have a v-neck or are rugby/polo styled. NO CREW NECKS OR TURTLE NECKS. Okaaaay. There goes 98% of Parker’s wardrobe.

Do a ‘fabric test’ on all of Parker’s stuffed animals. If I pinch a piece of fabric and any fibers what so ever come off, Parker can no longer play with that toy.

I will have to perform the same ‘fabric test’ on all of Parker’s clothing. He won’t be able to wear sweaters or anything wool or knitted. He can wear sweatpants….but not sweatshirts because of the possible fiber issue. There goes the other 2% of Parker’s wardrobe.

Parker will no longer be able to use ANY of his blankies. His blankets are either hand tied with yarn or have been made using that shabby chic style where each square has been cut so that it will ravel and fray. We can’t use fleece blankets. We can’t use any blankets with soft and fluffy material. I am a little panicked about this. Actually I’m a lot panicked by it. Parker LOVES his blankies and I have no idea where I am going to get a kid quilt that is made of only woven cotton material that has been machine quilted instead of hand tied. Especially one that would hold up to lots of washings. The ones you can by in the stores really aren’t made to be washed frequently. BTDT.

Parker has been riding the kind of high only morphine can provide. He hasn’t noticed that his blankies aren’t in the crib with him. I don’t want to be there when that bit of realization dawns on him.

Next I have to set up a Trach Suctioning and Potential Emergency Station. You can’t believe all the stuff that one must have when a technology assisted child lives in your home. I thought it was bad before. I can honestly say that I will have doubled all of Parker’s necessary medical equipment by the time we bring him home. I have to figure out a way to fit this Trach Suctioning Station in our bedroom that is also home to Parker’s crib and Colostomy Care Station.

Wish me luck, okay?

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. I’m visiting via Melody at Slurping Life…

    Wow. I don’t even know what to say. Except that I am thinking of all of you and praying for all of you. And admiring you and yours for all of the things you are doing to be able to bring Parker HOME with you.

  2. You’ll figure it out. Praying for Holy Spirit inspiration.

  3. Wow Tammy – I had no idea all that went along w/having a trach and the clothes and animals and blankets that are now a no-go. I hope he’ll be able to get through w/out his blankets! I’m sorry to read he pulled his trach out the other day! Yikes! I can’t even imagine what he must be going through and feeling like. How do you teach him to breathe differently than he is used to? I hope he picks this up quickly so he can go home and get back into a more “normal” routine of being out of the hospital. You know you have my continued prayers.

  4. OK. Parky, you give Momma a break will ya? Let the trach do its job.

    Also, so we have some issues that need tending. Let me tend to the blanket issue. Find one that will meet the need and I will supply 10 of them. I know, you have nothing better to do than hunt down one prototype. But I will try to find it also….

    continued thoughts and prayers…and much love

  5. Continued prayers for Parker from us.

  6. Hi Tammy-

    I’m stumped on the blanket thing. I’m sure Parker will as soon go around nekked as give up his blankie. I want to give this some thought and see if anything comes to mind.

    You. will. do. fine.

    I truly believe that.

    I do.

    Hugs :)

  7. What about knit waffle-weave baby blankies in nifty colors? They aren’t fuzzy, but they have texture to them and are (at least according to #1 and #3) quite snuggle-able. They are pretty easy to find.

    And what size polo-style shirts do you need? I know I have at least 3 extra 2T shirts – and a could have extra in every size from there down. I’d be glad to share. I haven’t looked in my 3T box lately but I can’t imagine Parker being that big. I only need two in each size for church-wear, but I know I have more than that in most sizes.

  8. Megan says:

    Yes, please tell us what size Parker is. I will look in our stash of clothes too.

    Hugs Tammy!

  9. Chris says:

    I’ll be raiding Arman’s wardrobe this PM to see what I can send you. Also, I have a quilt made by a friend of my sister’s MIL (ie no sentimental value) that fits that description. They’ll be on the way Monday!

    PS Only you could make us actually laugh about the situation you’re in!! Hugs- and did you ever consider moonlighting as a stand up comic?

  10. I have a lovely quilt made by my grandma that I would be honored to send Parker. It is small, oh-so-cuddly, well-loved, and fuzz free. Email me and let me know where I can send it. :)

  11. Trisomymommy says:

    Tammy, I’m wishing you and Parker all the luck in the world. I’ll be on the lookout for blankets and v-necks.

  12. Wow Tammy, I have friends with kids who have trachs but never realized all the rules. It’s amazing what we can learn that we never thought would be possible. You remain in my prayers as does Parker!

  13. Luck, faith & prayers. Except I know that you will have Parker home soon because you are ever-vigilent and determined and an awesome mom.

  14. another bloggy award, come see!
    My Life as Annie!

  15. Dearest Tammy……..I am in awe of all you have to go through and still your beautiful, joyful spirit shines through in your post. You had me in tears and laughing about the Home Depot comment…you truly are a gem.

    Please know that all I can do from here is send you lots and lots of loving support and all of my prayers are directed towards your sweet little boy.

    Love, TM

  16. Tammy, you are a rock! Our entire family (and those at our church) continue to pray hard for sweet Parker. May God give you strength and continue to bless all of you during this trying time.

    You CAN do this! You’re simply the best momma ever!

    Michelle and Elliot (and family)

  17. So button front shirts are ok? Like polo style? And what size is the little guy now? I have a 3 year old, and we’re just going through some of his clothes. I’m sure we have a few that could work for you. And I’ll look for blankets, too. Non fuzzy and machine quilted, right?

  18. LeeJo says:

    Hmmm. If you don’t have any success with the others for blankeys, I may be able to come up with something for you.

    Ben is back in the big house too, tummy trouble again. I think it’s sympathy pain for Parker. :-)

  19. Oh.My.Goodness.

    Prayers.Hugs.More Prayers.

    I’ve just read and caught up. I miss “talking” with you, Tammy. My heart is hurting knowing what Parker is experiencing and you as well. But we know it will get better, right? Parker’s fighting and strong will is a good sign, right? And remember that “normal” is a really overused word. :) Normal has sooooo many variants.

    Love you guys. I know you’re busy, so I’ll stay updated here and email when your life has settled into the new routine. Remember, Parker is in our family’s prayers daily. ox

  20. Oh, any luck with the blankie situation? If not, let me know and I’ll be happy to look around some for you.

  21. Good luck, and im praying for you! You are a strong and smart woman, you will succeed. I have faith in you!

  22. Will keep praying for you both. I will also be on the lookout for a fuzz-free blankie for Parker, and hopefully will be able to send it to you. Lots of hugs xxxx

  23. Really- let us know what size Parker wears and I’ll see what I have too. I haven’t been wanting to give up my boys clothes but for Parker I have no problem. Finally something that I might be able to give some help with. :) Praying for your WHOLE family!!

  24. It seems overwhelming right now but soon it will be second nature. We have been doing it for 8 yrs and I have even gone out with nathaniel and FORGOT his suction mach!!!!!!! Had to go all the way back home :p

    Hugs to you


  25. What size and kind of trach does Parker have ? We still used and use crew necks with Nathaniel , as long as they are below the stoma. Learning to suction terrified me :p but now I do it and not even watch :p

  26. Jennifer Sprague says:

    Oh yes please PLEASE let us know Parkers size, I am sure I have several things here that he can wear – I might also have a couple blankets (I make them you know, I know there’s at least one or two that fit that description!)

    Your in our thoughts and prayers!

  27. Rebecca says:

    I’m so sorry that your family is going through this, but I know that you’re strong and that you can learn anything for your Parker. Best wishes.

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