Disclaimer: I was going to illustrate this post, but I’m fairly sure this picture perfectly sums up how I felt during the story I am about to tell.
More story time, but this time it’s kinda gross lol so be warned. So I’ve learned to have a love-hate relationship with nose tubes this year. When nurses come in with them there’s really little you can do but sit back and take it. I’ve had 2 different ones. The shorter one that they shove down your nose and throat while you’re awake and the much, much, much longer, yet thinner one they put in during one of my surgeries.
After experiencing my first one and accepting the amount of pain it causes as tolerable, my inner 5-year-old became kind of giddy at the amount they gross out even the nurses that have to put them in and eventual the removal process.
My first one I got put in when I was in the ICU and the only reason one was put in was because I was throwing up and they found large pockets of air in my stomach or something that they wanted to help get out faster. To preface this, because of my liver failure and the sores I mentioned in my earlier posts my nose was not immune. Every time I blew my nose it ripped open the ones inside both my nostrils. You can imagine how awesome it was to have a tube that kept moving around in there 24/7.
So the world’s tallest German nurse came in my room with the tube claiming she was an expert at putting them in. She jammed that puppy in so fast it felt like my nose was breaking and started rubbing the back of my throat raw. They have to tape the outside/draining part of the tube to your face and it empties behind you in this container thing. This nurse basically taped my entire face with the world’s stickiest tape. So there I was, first nose tube, raw throat, sticky face full of tape and they give me lots of sleepy time medicine that night to help me get some rest. Me being me and not used to said tape or tubes where they shouldn’t be, woke up in the middle of the night with both hands completely stuck and tangled up in my nose tube face tape. To make matter’s worse I was still groggy and kind of out of it. I panicked and couldn’t understand why my hands were stuck to my face and I couldn’t press the call button to alert the nurses because…again, my hands were attached to my face.
I struggled and struggled flopping around in my bed trying to emancipate my hands from what source of horror was causing them to be in their current state. I was making progress when a nurse happened by my room and saw my predicament. She ran in and right when she was saying, “No No No don’t pull!!!” My hands won their freedom along with the nose tube and out the entire thing came. And I go about the same time, “Aaaahhhh there we g……Ohhhhhh…woops.” (Btw the nose tube coming out involves literally pulling the tube up from your stomach and out through the nose…another very, very strange feeling). The night nurse and I spent the next hour arguing about putting the tube back in. I was adamant not to get back in that predicament and said she had to wait to talk to my doctor in the morning. Eventually I was allowed to go back to bed still drugged up in peace and a clear throat and nose. The next morning, I “came to” – and I say “came to” because my eyes apparently opened before the rest of me woke up and when I “came to” my doctor was in my room at the end of what was apparently lecture on why nose tubes are necessary and to not do what I did that night again. I just nodded and she smiled and we all went on with our day. Unfortunately, a few days later when I woke up from surgery number whatever I had both the short nose tube and the long one in down the other nostril along with my trach. Those stayed there for a good month or so without event. However, when I was back for surgery in February that same nurse from the sticky tape incident saw me in pre-op and remembered me just because of the nose tube and was still laughing at me about it all.
The other moment my inner 5-year-old loved was when they finally took out the longer tube. I had no idea actually how long the longer tube was and Sean was in the room visiting. The nurse told me to just take a deep breath and then when I exhaled he started pulling as Sean looked on. It went on for what seemed like forever…the nurse was just wrapping the tube around his hand and when it was over I looked over in time to see Sean bolt for my room’s bathroom making vomiting sounds lol.
When I was in the hospital a few weeks ago for a stomach infection they had to put a nose tube in again so I could take my meds, which is what made me think of this post. The nurses this time were pretty great about it. Pro tip I learned…when getting a nose tube have the nurse get you a glass of water and drink it as they are putting the tube in. Makes everything go much, much smoother. Also yes, it’s a weird feeling when they shoot medicine down the tube. It feels cold and your throat automatically thinks it’s swallowing something but it’s not. And here’s another stuck cat picture. Cheers 🙂