Back before I was transferred to Casa Colina for three weeks of therapy, a G tube (feeding tube) was placed in my stomach because I was not able to pass swallow tests to be considered safe to eat on my own…By God’s grace, I did pass a swallow test and was approved to eat on my first day in the rehab hospital! (I was dying just for the feeling of food and water in my mouth) For the record, this was four days after the G tube was placed, and I was still recovering from the surgery.
And so the G Tube saga began:
Pretty shortly after I started rehab, I began having significant pain at the stomach site, and my doctors and nurses discovered that the surgeon had implanted a pediatric-sized tube!? (This seemed ridiculous to me and everyone else since I’m 23)….and once I started eating real food and gaining back some of the weight I had lost, the small tube began cutting into my belly on the outside. And now the sad part of the story: Stomach tubes must be left in the stomach for 5-6 weeks until it is safe to remove them 😦 😦 😦
So, during the past five weeks I can easily say that most of my recovery pain was due not to my accident injuries but to the G tube….in fact it was so painful that at one point even morphine didn’t work! The site also developed an infection and at least four pressure sores, and Ivan had to be trained on wound care before I could be discharged home. (For the record, he’s my favorite nurse!!)
This week we finished my antibiotics, but the infection was still there, and the pressure sores were getting worse. Today, we realized it was exactly five weeks since the tube had been implanted, and Ivan and my mom started making calls to see if the surgeon could take it out….
Only to be referred into an endlessly circular phone tree, which finally ended with:
‘If you think it’s still infected, you should just take her to the ER.”
“Can they take the tube out?”
“They can, but they probably won’t since she should see her surgeon for that.”
“Well, then find us someone who can take it out today!” (It is the day before the weekend, and we were worried it would keep getting worse.)
At which point they gave me an appointment with my original surgeon….which was all we had wanted in the first place……(as someone who majored in health administration, this was both frustrating and embarrassing to watch, just saying.)
So the short story is, the tube is out, and though the tummy is a little sore, I am in less pain than I’ve been in during the past five weeks. God is very good!
And a huge thank you to Ivan and my mom, who have cared for me and advocated for me through this experience!