Well, Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2019 is nearly here!
After years of struggling with orogastric (OG), nasogastric (NG), and nasojejunal (NJ) tubes, I made a huge decision on December 12, 2018 in the ER ICU bed of Johns Hopkins Hospital. It had been suggested to me that I have a permanent/semi-permanent feeding tube placed. Because I struggle with my stomach for unknown reasons, my gastroenterologists suggested placing a percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy tube (PEG-J). At the time, it was merely a suggestion, but in a matter of 2 weeks, I would find myself in interventional radiology (IR) for the emergent placement of the surgical tube at a hospital in Pittsburgh on December 14, 2018, as my temporary NG tube had fallen out.
Nasojejunal Tube (NJ)- My most common type of tube placed (the yellow tube coming out of my nose).
The procedure was smooth, but the experience waking up was definitely not. My surgical site didn’t hurt at the time, but it was definitely a painful stiff person syndrome attack.
Below is a picture of my GJ tube with the skin covered as there was some blood. It will be switched out for a low profile button when my stoma or the hole in my abdominal wall and stomach is fully “matured” or healed.
Feeding tubes may be given to individuals for a variety of reasons, but my primary reasons for having one is that it allows me to have reliable access to medications without needing my jaw or esophagus to function properly, as well as providing nutrition straight into my small intestine.
There are four main parts to the GJ tube: the gastric port (G port), the jejunal port (J port), the stopcock, and the balloon.
The G port is for venting (letting the air out of my stomach) and draining (releasing the excessive stomach acid out). It helps reduce nausea and prevent vomiting.
The J port is my lifeline. I’m tube fed 24/7 through the J tube and my medications are ground up and delivered through the port. It keeps me hydrated and stabilizes my weight.
The stopcock is the orange tube with the white dial that controls whether or not my G port is open. I open it to flush the tube out with warm water at least 4x a day (I do the same with the J port), vent, and drain my stomach.
Then, there is a part of my tube that says “Bal.”. That is the part of my tube that holds my tube in place. Inside my stomach, there is a balloon that can be filled up with water using a 10ml syringe. That is where it twists on.
So that’s a brief summary of a PEG-J feeding tube. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below. Don’t forget that February 4-8, 2019 is Feeding Tube Awareness Week!