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|Tube Feeding Tips: Traveling|
When I first had a tube, it went into my nose and down to the stomach. I used it all of the time with a feeding bag and it sufficed for everyday feeding. When I went to the hospital for hyperbarics, I took the bag along and I would find a room I could use for feeding. This was a daily event until the doctor said I was healed and didn’t need hyperbarics anymore.
Later, when I was going for a checkup, my wife and I would stop and get a meal at a fast food place for my wife. Then we would pull into an area off the beaten path and I would take a pole that I carried in the van, put the bag on it, and sit at the back of the van with my wife and feed. When I was finished, I would use water from a large container that I carried to rinse the bag and tubes and everything was fine.
As a matter of fact, we would also travel to various malls and shop. When lunchtime would come I would get my wife a meal and we would go to the van. At one mall there was an outside place that had a pole permanently in place that had a hook on it we used. At other times we would ride around and do the same thing at roadside covered tables.
One day I was home feeding and something went wrong. I didn’t want to throw the formula away so I poured it into a big glass and used the syringe to feed. That was how the feeding bag got relegated to the home. It was time to get a low-profile feeding tube put in, and I started to use the syringe more frequently. We started to go to restaurants and I started ordering a glass of water and an empty glass. We find ourselves at restaurants quite frequently.
Now this may seem to be enough adventure, but every year the family goes to the Outer Banks for vacation and I use this method of eating on the way down, when we go out to eat, and on the way back. It is no problem because the van has room to carry several cases of liquid nutrition. We have been many places, like the Thomas Jefferson home and Myrtle Beach.
It gets sticky when you are flying someplace. On a trip to Disney World with two of our daughters and their families, I stopped after getting off the plane and before arriving at the motel and got my necessary nutrition at Wal-Mart. I had a large bag that I could put on like a belt [a fanny pack] and had the meal with me.
Another time one of my daughters invited us to go along to the Grand Canyon. That was too good to turn down, so we flew to Phoenix. I got enough nutrition to go to the canyon and made many stops between there and Lake Powell. We also toured the Gulf Coast on a trip to Mississippi, and later to Pensacola, Florida.
We decided to take a cruise with another of our daughters and her husband. I can’t say enough about the service on these cruises and they provided me with nutrition for the whole time. It certainly was different, especially our stopover in Belize. They had some pyramids and we ate in a small town. Another stop was Key West. We had a magnificent time, and I had my lunch in a famous bar/restaurant.
We made another trip with our fourth daughter who needed a ride to Vermont to see her sister-in-law. It was apparent we were going to be there for several days, so we decided to head north and visit Montreal. We had a good time and took a tour of the city. Afterward I was walking and found a way to get down under the city. I had several of my meals at restaurants in this part of the city.
What do you do when it is time for you to eat but you will not get home for several hours and you don’t have your formula? It happened to me. I took my wife into a fast food restaurant and ordered a glass of water and a vanilla milkshake. When it came it was thick, so I got a pint of milk and stirred it in. When it was a proper thinness that I could get it in the syringe, I fed that way. The glass of water was very handy to get the shake through the tube and to clean out the tube and syringe.
It doesn’t matter where you are and what the native language is. You can always get a meal, even if it is one you carry yourself, because you can always order a glass of water and an empty glass. I just hope you get the idea that you don’t have to stay home any more.
One more tip: When staying at a motel or other strange place, be sure you include an “S” shaped hook, as you may use it to hang your bag from the curtain rod in the room. Or you can do as I started to do, and just use the syringe.
Editor’s note: Bolus feeding (using a syringe) isn’t an option for everyone, nor can everyone with a g-tube tolerate milkshakes. Please consult with your health care provider before making changes to your feeding regimen.
LifelineLetter, September/October 2012
Further Advice on Traveling with Tube Feeding
I read with interest the article in the latest Oley newsletter about traveling with a feeding tube [“Tube Talk,” September/October 2012]. I’ve never used a bag except in skilled nursing, and I hated it. Traveling is much easier using gravity feed syringes, 8 oz cans of formula, and bottled water. If one has a faraway destination in mind those things can be shipped ahead. For shorter jaunts of a week or less everything can be carried in your vehicle with the supplies diminishing from day to day.
LifelineLetter, November/December 2012