Monday, July 23, 2012

{Tracheostomy Treasure}

I can hardly believe that 3 years ago today my little boy started breathing without the assistance of a hole in his neck. 

 It was a big step that hardly seemed to phase him and today he knows why he has the scar on his neck but doesn't really remember having the trach.  He has been very interested in what he did as a baby though so we have been talking about how he was born and he was very sick and he stayed in the hospital for a long time. 


For many parents a trach is something that is feared, a last resort.  To me the trach was a life saver because without Milo would not have survived.  I welcomed it into our lives (I pushed the doctors to do it sooner rather than later) and was a bit apprehensive when it went away.  Life has been a little simpler for the last 3 years but I cherish this piece life saving medical technology.  I wanted to find a way to "honor" Milo's trach.  On the day his trach was removed one of the respiratory therapists at the hospital said I should bronze one of his trachs and honestly I looked into that but at $120 is was a bit cost prohibitive.  For a long time I pondered how to creativly and stylishly display a trach. 

***For those who are not familiar with trached kids I thought I should explain how I ended up with multiple trachs to use.  Tracheostomy tubes (trachs) are removed and replaced (very quickly) every week or two.  The old trach can be cleaned and sterilized.  We reuse the sterilized trachs a couple of times then I saved some for crafting later.***

Christmas 2009 I turned one of his old trachs into a Christmas ornament for a favorite nurse who was moving away.  While it turned out cute I wanted something I could display year round.  About a year and a half ago I finally came up a great idea.  I incorporated an old trach and a trach chain (that was never successful in keeping Milo's trach in) along with some charms, beads, and personalized charms.  I ended up with two different treasures. 

Milo Trach Treasure:

I selected silver square alphabet beads, a blue ball chain (like dog tags use) and colored metallic beads.  I found all of these at Hobby Lobby.

I cut the chain to an 8 inch length and layed out the design I wanted to use.  I then slid the beads onto the chain and threaded the chain through the flanges of the trach(where the trach ties go). 

The tricky part is balancing the weight of the beads to keep the trach from tipping forward. I tried gluing the chain to the cannula but hot glue wouldn't stick to the trach.  I ended up using a piece of  thread to tie the chain to the cannula.  If you look close you can see the knot beside the clasp. 

The finished product hanging on an ornament stand.

Placed on a bookshelf with the photo albums for all to see.

Believe Trach Treasure

I wanted this one to be a little more elaborate.  I used the trach chain that we tried to use with Milo's trach but it just couldn't keep the trach in my active boy.  The balls on this chain are bigger than the store bought one I used for the other treasure so I had a harder time finding beads but I ended up discovering the blue beads at Hobby Lobby, since then I have seen this style of bead at many different stores.  I also wanted to incorporate the date that he got the trach and the date his trach was removed.  I found an Etsy store that would custom make these rectangular pendants for a reasonable price.  I also got a round pendant with Milo's name from a different Etsy store.  I found a package of charms with a little boy and the word "Believe" that I knew I had to incorporate.

I decided to use the chain in the same length my son wore it and it turned out perfectly.  I chose a layout for all the beads and charms then threaded the chain through the trach's flanges.  To balance this one I found that if I placed one of the balls from the chain in the end of the cannula things balanced out just right.  You might have to play around with the chain to find the right balance based on what chain, beads, charms, etc you use. 
To hang put sewing thread or fishing line through the flanges and tie together.
The finished product:

This treasure is hanging in my bedroom. 
I had a set of cubes on the wall just waiting for something to fill them.  I attached a little clear Command to the inside top of the cube to suspend the trach in it's own little cubby.

I just love how both of these turned out.  Crafting with unusual items is always a challenge but the result can be extraordinary.  What unusual items have you turned into treasures?

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