Sunday, 25 March 2012

Tube Tales

I've had most type of enteral nutrition tubes, and rather than ramble on about the reason why I need one, I thought I'd share some of the highlights of my experiences.

The award to the shortest tube life was 4 hours- don't give a gastric tube to someone who's stomach doesn't work properly!!

Most of my nasal jejunal tubes were vomited out, I'll never forget having to pull them out of my nose covered in sick.

Two peg-j's that need mentioning are the one that had its balloon retainer fallout, and me watching as my tube slowly wiggled out of my stomach, strange sight!!

The story I really want to tell is the peg-j that got lodged in my throat. Now if you're sitting comfortably I'll tell this bizarre tale.
A regular, at least daily occurrence in my world is vomiting, and I don't quite know how this happened, and no-one I have spoken to in the tube feed world has heard of anyone else have this happen. Anyway, back to the story, so this fateful evening, I throw up and feel something stuck in the back of my mouth, assuming it's a piece of food, I go to clear it out. Unfortunately this isn't the case, and I realise it's my jejunal extension stuck in my throat. I hope it has returned to my stomach, and work out plans for a weekend in hospital- I always break my tube on a Friday or the weekend. Unfortunately I'm sick again, and again my tube pops into my mouth. This time, i can feel something there, I'm pretty sure it's not psychological and test this, handly with some retching that again brings into my mouth. Reckoning that the forces aren't so strong with that, probably means my tube is in my throat. I decide that it's definitely going to be a weekend job at the "Hotel NHS", and turn up at A&E.

Here I see the nurse and explain my situation, she peers into my mouth, but can't see the tube, and looks at me like I've completely lost it. The doctor then turns up. He again is rather dubious of my story. He does, however, send me for an x-ray. This was the start of me being proved right clinically.

The radiographer takes the x-ray, and then asks if I know there's something lodged in my throat, and asks their colleague if they should take an image of my neck. To which I helpfully explain that as long as you can
see something in my throat that's fine, as we know what it is, just wanted to make sure it was really there.

They looked rather bemused by my calmness and nonchalance about it all. The doctor returned to explain that I was right. but didn't really know what to do about it. Thankfully the cubicle I was in, was near the doctors station so I could hear him discussing it, to a lot of disbelief by his colleagues and intrigue as they saw the x-ray.

Unfortunately they weren't sure what to do with it, and opted for the safe option of leaving it there and putting me on IV fluids. This meant a very uncomfortable weekend for me. My throat was progressively getting more and more uncomfortable and eventually managed to get someone to take it out on Monday, which was a weird sensation.

Having had it removed another problem developed when I went to endoscopy. There were no more of that type of tube available, so they suggested I had a nasal tube again!! I was not impressed with this, but managed to convince them to give me the first type of pegj I'd had, which thankfully my consultant agreed to.

It was also decided at this point that pegj's weren't working for me, and it was decided that I should have a surgical jejunostomy placed. So, that's my tale of the wandering tube. I have heard of others who managed to get theirs into their mouth, but none who got theirs stuck there. Well, I have to be different;-)


  1. Nope, you're right, I've not heard of that one before. Dominic has thrown up the end of an NJ tube, but a pegj really is impressive! Bet you're glad that you've since got a surgical jej!

    1. The bit I forgot to mention was that it was a weighted one, just to add to the party trick ;) Surgical jej is fantastic in that respect, but a bit of an annoyance in terms of constant infections, but at least I'm getting dinner which is the main thing.

  2. I've never heard of it either and I've been a nurse for... er... a very long time. :) You handled it with humour and grace however. Well done.

    1. Thank you, as I was saying to Renata, it was actually a weighted one, just to add to the trick :S