It’s been three weeks since I left the hospital with my nasogastric tube. If I’m honest on the way home I felt apprehensive, my nose was throbbing, and I wasn’t quite sure how confident I was about how well I would manage this new regime. The big benefit I had was the support of my hubby. With him by my side I believe I can cope with anything.
Suddenly there is a whole new way of living. Not to mention the new vocabulary that comes with it. When starting off in this whole new world of tube feeding there seems so much to take in. The physical aspect: How to set up the pump, cleaning of syringes, using appropriate tubes, changing dressings on my face, taking the ph from my stomach contents.
Some of the new words become part and parcel –
- flush (not what you do to a toilet): using the syringe to put water through the tube to prevent it from clogging
- continuous feed: the feed drip feeding through the pump for several hours
- nasogastric (ng): tube goes into the nose, down the esoohagus and into the stomach
- enternal feeding: delivery liquid feed through the tube direct into stomach
- obtaining aspirated: using syringe to pull up contents from stomach
- peptamin: the type of feed I have
The first few days were slightly strange, I always referred to the guidelines, was a tad scared I was doing something wrong. The district nurses came in and assured me I was coping very well with it all. I’m fortunate to have good nursescome in at least twice a week to see me.
Once the first few days passed the whole procedure was very automatic and everything was getting done without a thought.
three weeks in and it all feels so natural and fairly easy to do. It’s so good to wake up in the morning and know I haven’t had a hypo through the night. The biggest advantage of the feed is I don’t have to get up during the night and make myself something to eat. I can wake up with a ‘normal’ blood glucose measurement.
The whole process is fairly time consuming and our recycle bin is now full a lot quicker than before. However the advantages to the feed outweigh any problems, disadvantages.
At the the discussion with the consultant and team we were asked about the physical appearance of the ng tube. We answered Steve and I are comfortable with it. During the first few days it took a wee bit of getting used to, I was conscious I could see the loop that is attached to my face. The first day I walked with my head at an angle the tube felt slightly stiff. And truthfully I was worried the tube would come out. Now I’ve got used to it. My home visit nurse said to me a couple of days ago, when she comes in she doesn’t see the tube – she sees me. That made me feel good and I believed her. I’ve been out and about but last night was my first big outing. Out for dinner and then to see a sell out show at the Edinburgh festival. The assembly rooms were packed, we got a drink at the bar them queued for our seats. Steve gently held my hand. We were a normal couple out for the evening. This is the first time I forgot I had s tube in. The audience were there to see Elaine C Smith, not stare at me. I can honestly say I didn’t feel looked at in any way – oh well with the exception of my hubby. It’s always lovely to catch your other half looking at you. Gives you that warm feeling of being loved.
The long and the short of it. Prior to getting my ng tube fitted I was scared of the unknown. Now I have it in I realise there was no need.