G-tube adventures

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Doing My Best

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Nov 29, 2022
Lost a loved one
San Diego
Just want to share a feeding tube event that I'm sure I could have handled better, and would love any advice for next time it happens (though hopefully never).

Monday night I managed to yank the G-tube out while I was taking PALS' sweater off at bedtime. He has the dangly cord and it caught and I didn't see it until too late. It was placed by IR in mid-December so it's pretty well healed up but of course I worried that the stoma would close if I didn't get it back in ASAP. I deflated the balloon and tried to get it back in, but couldn't. So I covered it with gauze (no bleeding or leakage to speak of, after the initial gush when the tube came out) and we took an ambulance ride to the ER. I thought he'd get attention faster if he arrived with EMT than if I drove him, but who knows - it took eons for them to show up and get him in the ambulance, and then 3 hours to get him a bed and a doctor, despite my best efforts to rush things.

The ER doctor was able to insert a foley catheter to hold the stoma open while they tried to find the appropriate G-tube, but when they finally came back with that they were unable to insert it because it was a larger diameter than the Foley. The stoma had in fact started closing during the long wait (came out about 9:30 p.m. and Foley went in about 3 a.m.). So we had to wait for the IR department to open at 8:00 am.

He finally ended up getting seen by IR at 3 pm to get a new G-tube placed. We got home around 5:30 p.m. Long night and day in the ER.

I know it's not unheard of for tubes to get dislodged. What's the right "home remedy" for an emergency situation? Should I have an extra G-tube on hand and is there something I should know about how to get it inserted? When I tried to re-insert the tube it went through the abdominal wall but I couldn't get it into the stomach, at least that was my perception - the tube just folded back against itself. After the initial shock, which was extremely stressful (and thank goodness my son was home to help me get everything under control) it was not terribly painful or frightening, it was just a matter of time. But I'd love to have been able to do something effective to allow us to wait until morning to go for medical care. Any insights appreciated.
When we had a telehealth with our GI specialist he told usvto have a backup tube in case the tube is dislodged. He said it only takes a few hours fir the hole to close up. He said you must stick something in there. Yikes. I have not gotten the Backup tube yet. I assume i would boil before using.

I am so sorry you went through this. It does happen. Happens enough that our GI dr brought it up in first meeting.

I guess i need to buy a tube. Amazon?
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