People most often see NG tubes in babies or elderly people, but sometimes younger people like teens and kids need NG tubes, too
NG is short for “nasogastric.” “Naso” means nose and “gastric” means stomach, so an NG tube is a thin, soft tube (looks sort of like a thin IV line) that carries food and medicine into the stomach through the nose. It’s used when a person can’t take food or medicine through the mouth.
People most often see NG tubes in babies or elderly people, but sometimes younger people like teens and kids need NG tubes, too. There are many different medical reasons why someone would need one, ranging from stomach blockages to failure to thrive and dozens of things in between. While we understand that we need this and it will b’ezras Hashem help us, many of us also see it as adding insult to injury: Not only do we have a health issue, now we also have to have this really uncomfortable, unpleasant looking thing too.
It is extremely uncomfortable when the tube is put in place (“passed through”) as most times the doctors will do it when you are awake, not under general anesthesia. To add to the fun (not!), it takes time to get used to having the tube at the back of your throat, so it’s also common for people to speak a little funny when it’s in place.
An NG tube can only be in place for 90 days max, and after that it must be changed, or a PEG (a flexible feeding tube inserted into the stomach, usually more permanent) is put in.
Yes, we can be very self-conscious about it, so please don’t stare! I’m already feeling uncomfortable, and stares just make me feel worse. Believe me, beneath my “medical face” is a person with feelings just like you, who does normal stuff like everyone else. Needing this tube doesn’t make me weird or strange. I’m the same as you!
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Thanks to TK and to FF!
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 928)
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