I have officially been a Tubie for two months! There have been plenty of ups and downs along the way, but the fact that my NJ Tube is keeping me alive makes it all worth it. This week is the third annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week so I figured it's the perfect occasion to share a few tips and tricks I've found to keep this feeding tube as comfortable as possible.
1) Buy a humidifier- A dry tube rubbing against a dry nasal cavity can be painful! Keeping the air moist helps keep nasal passages from drying out too much and ease the pain a bit.
2) Saline spray and saline gel- The spray helps moisturizer deep in the nose and the gel can be applied in the nostril around the tube to prevent any rubbing. I was getting a lot of nose bleeds and this helped a bit. PS. DO NOT USE PETROLEUM JELLY ON YOUR FEEDING TUBE!! I just happened to mention to my nurse that I was using Vaseline in my nose (before I got the saline gel) and she informed me that it will break down the plastic used to make feeding tubes.
3) Sip on drinks or suck on candies- This helps keep your throat from drying out leading to less throat pain and feeling gaggy from the tube tugging in your throat.
4) Buy some make-up remover- I had an awful time trying to get leftover tape residue off my face from using silk tape to keep my tube in place. One day I decided to try my make-up remover and it works wonders!
5) Find a good tape- Having a good tape is so important because there have been a few times where I've accidentally snagged my tube and it was the only thing preventing it from being ripped out. I've tried silk tape because that is what they had in the hospital, but beside the awful stickiness it left behind I also had to change it multiple times a day because it would never sick well for me. Tegaderm has been pretty great and no matter how long I leave it on there's almost no sticky residue left behind. I've also tried Hypafix and love it. It does leave a bit of residue, but keeps my tube in place so well that it's worth it.
6) A good pill crusher- Feeding tubes are often very tiny and clog easily, so if you will need to take medications through your tube and can't find it in liquid form it needs to be COMPLETELY crushed into a powder and dissolved in water. It's much better to take the time to crush your pill well than to end up in the ER getting it replaced.
That's all for now, but I will update with any other tips I find and feel free to leave any suggestions of your own. =)