Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2021
There are an array of medical devices and reasons to need medical devices. This week we nationally celebrate feeding tubes and tubie warriors!
Some reasons someone might need a feeding tube:
Paralyzed digestive track
Nausea and vomiting
Inability to gain/maintain weight
Feeding tubes can sometimes be visible, and usually when they are, people tend to stare. I’m speaking from my experience and opinions only here, but I would rather you ask me what you’re curious about and we can have a conversation about it instead of being stared at or whispered about.
Not everyone is as comfortable as I am about talking about why they have a feeding tube, so it is important to tread carefully, remember that we all need them for different reasons, and we notice the eyes on us when we go outside with an NG/NJ tube, or a bathing suit that reveals surgical tubes.
Another important thing to remember is that most of us can eat a little bit on our own. Tubies are just like everyone else, we have good days and bad days! Some days I rely fully on my tube to give me nutrients and some days I can eat meals or snacks. So be careful before judging and saying we aren’t really sick because you see us eating even though we have a feeding tube and you thought we "couldn’t eat."
Feeding tubes aren’t fun contraptions to have; not for me at least. Tubes can get infected, they can leak, hurt, cause burns, itch, and make it hard to exercise. BUT they can also feed you, hydrate you, medicate you, and most importantly...allow you to live! Life before my feeding tube wasn’t better or worse because I was fainting, malnourished, dehydrated, and unable to live life to the fullest. Now that I have a built-in way to keep me alive, I am able to really live, not just survive!
Body image can be a tough thing to go through when you have a feeding tube as well. Some tips I have for loving your body with your feeding tube are: dress it up with fun tubie pads and remember that this is YOUR body. These devices help you live. Don’t hate them, thank them. We are all different, medical devices or not, we are all beautiful. Don’t let something that makes you different and unique define you.
A few things for tubies to keep in mind:
· Clean it every day!
· Buy cute tubie pads (or make your own!)
· Q-tips are your friend
· Don’t be embarrassed by them. Wear that crop top. Go out with your NG/NJ
· Flush so it doesn’t get clogged!
· Make cute IV pole decorations
· Buy cute pins for your tubie backpack
· Keep it dry
· Remember, it’s just a part of you. It’s not who you are. Love yourself, and thank your tubes for allowing you to live.
Happy Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2021!
Post Written By: Juliet Inforzato
Find Juliet on IG: @gp_cooks and @anti.ana.army