Throat Blog — Running Tubeless

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I should clarify, I do still have most of my natural tubes. But, the NG tube is out. One step closer to freedom!

First pass by the intern this morning she told me “Well, actually, the SLP (swallow study expert) recommended no food by mouth because there was some aspiration.” My recollection was that she was going to consult with “the team” taking into account that I was good at self monitoring and come up with a recommendation. So, when I asked the Dr, Friday night, and he said “Eat” I assumed that they had already had that consult and agreed for me to proceed with caution. So, eat I did.

So, telling me not to eat, now, was a bit like locking the gullet after the omelet had already washed down. I do have some upper aspiration, but I don’t think anything is getting deep…I’m, able to cough it up. For one thing, the trach tube is in the way of any large stuff. And, I’ve had a little food squeeze out around it, as I’ve mentioned, but none of my caregivers seemed overly concerned.

Fast forward to 11 AM and I decided to do a brief walkabout. Was gone 10 minutes. Came back and the nurse said I’d just missed a call from the intern who was going to come up and remove the NG tube, so now it will have to wait until tomorrow. I was, um, irked. I’d left my phone # on the marker board on my bed with a note saying I’d be back by 11:30. How could they do this to me!!! Injustice!!! I am going to do something about this….oh, wait. About that time the intern walked in, snipped the cord tying the NG tube to my nose, and I pulled it out. Easy peasy.

So, I do still have a IV line plugged into my chest (that port is long-term, but the IV line will get taken off, tomorrow). And, of course, the trach tube is going to be in for at least a month. But, I’m ready to go home as soon as they deliver my suction vac. Which won’t be until tomorrow. Which is OK, I guess. I don’t think it is a terrible idea to be sure removing the NG tube doesn’t cause some other swallowing issue, but I suspect that it will only improve things (more room for the food to go down).

Air still blows pretty freely around the trach tube’s outside, and the intern agreed that it may be slower to close because of the steroids, but that it should eventually tighten up. I asked about using some Flex Tape® in the mean time. She advised that, while she couldn’t stop me she also wouldn’t recommend it. Based on the commercial, though, I think it could actually work.

I might not be smiling like Phil Swift when I tried to peel it off, later, though. So, for now I’ll deal with it using my bandana and finger pressure when I need to cough or talk.

Speaking of bandana…one of the respiratory techs commented on how stylish I was trying to look. I tie a red bandana just under the stoma and around the back of my neck, but not for style. Well, unless you consider not having snot running out of your neck and down the front of your shirt “stylish.” But, if I inadvertently start a fashion trend, I won’t push back too hard on it.


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