Feeding my Need for Better Health

An update to last week’s article.

Last week, I talked about my recent medical appointment and how most doctors and nurses I’ve encountered don’t take the time to read my medical file and aren’t prepared when I roll in. Many often look like a deer in the headlights or quickly dismiss me. That should NEVER happen.

I don’t care how busy they are. As patients, we’re there because we need medical attention or have questions and concerns about our health or our loved ones.

That’s the end of my rant about our healthcare system for now.

I’m happy that my most recent medical appointment was very positive. On October 19th, I had an appointment to get a new feeding tube. After MONTHS of phone calls, doctor visits, and delays, it finally happened. The best part was that everything went smoothly, and the procedure only took about five minutes.

Previous feeding tube changes have taken two and a half hours. Back then, I’d have to be transferred to a bed, given an IV, and sedated. After all that, I’d be taken to the OR, then to the recovery room for another hour, and sent home.

That was then. So, what changed?

Well, to put it simply, I wasn’t given an IV or sedation, and they could do the entire procedure without needing to transfer me to a bed. I parked my chair near where a bed would be; the nurse asked me the standard questions and took my blood pressure and my O2 stats.

A few minutes later, the doctor explained the procedure and the different feeding tubes I was getting. Once she was done explaining everything, she made sure I understood and was ready.

She pulled the old tube out, put in the new one, and tested it to ensure it worked. The nurse put gauze because some blood came out. That was it.

Since I wasn’t given sedation, it hurt a little bit when they pulled out the old tube, but not much, given the situation. It was a little strange seeing the old tube being pulled out and the semi-grossness of it. I won’t go into details, but it was not pretty yet, oddly fascinating.

If you’re interested in learning more about feeding tubes, go to https://oley.org/page/ChoosingTheRightTube

The type of feeding tube that I use is called a Gastrostomy tube or G tube. My new feeding tube has a balloon at the end of it, which stays inflated inside my stomach. For the most part, it’s easier to use than the previous one,

My old feeding tube had a clamp attached to it and two different ports to insert food and medication. My new tube is also much shorter. The only downside is that I’ll typically need to change it every six months. Also, if the balloon breaks before the time is up, I must go to the ER ASAP to have it replaced.

Yes, that is a significant downside, but everything else about the new tube is excellent. So, it is what it is.

Right now, I’m just happy that I have a new feeding tube and can roll on with my life. Hopefully, that was my last medical appointment and hospital visit for a while.

Anyway, after my appointment, I treated myself to a Kettle Corn Latte at Second Cup; after all of that, I had about 90 minutes before my scheduled pick-up time for Para Transpo. I called to see if I could get a ride sooner than 12:30. They said they’d be there at 11. They never showed.

I also called a cab, but the cab company said it’d be 40 minutes. Luckily, a wheelchair-accessible cab was sitting outside, and the driver agreed to take me home. I was back home by 11:30. So I saved myself almost 90 minutes of waiting around for Para Transpo and an hour for a cab.

As I’ve mentioned countless times before, Ottawa’s public transit system is horrible, especially for people with disabilities. Para Transpo continues to be an absolute nightmare, and Ottawa desperately needs more wheelchair-accessible cabs. There also needs to be a joint effort to include ALL people with disabilities.

Some PWD CAN use cabs, and others CAN use Para Transpo, conventional buses, and LRT when it works.

Like able-bodied people, people with disabilities use different forms of transportation; therefore, all forms of transportation should be readily available and wheelchair accessible. That should also include ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. It should be mandatory for these companies to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles for their customers.

People with disabilities in Ottawa should be able to book a ride through their computer or phone. Then, we’d wait a few minutes, and the wheelchair-accessible van would arrive to take us.

Ba da bing badda boom.