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Me and My Button
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I am in my seventies and I have to travel sixty-five miles to get to the hospital to get a new button [low-profile G-tube] put in. I have become very comfortable with the button. We have been trying to get as much wear out of a button as possible so I don’t have to go to the hospital as many times. For me, a span of four and a half months is the maximum length of time before the button has to be replaced.

 

I know how the button works and I am familiar with taking the water in and out of the balloon. I have, on occasion, replaced my own tube when it has come out.*

 

I have to take some medicines that are difficult to administer through a tube. When the medicine is in pill form, you (or your caregiver) should crush it very fine** and mix it with water of the proper temperature. If you have trouble getting it through your tube, try backing it out with the syringe and putting it through again. If this doesn’t work, disconnect and see where the problem is. Usually it is near or at the point of insertion into the button. Try to dislodge the obstruction and try again.

 

A mortar and pestle works well for crushing the pills into powder form. These come in various sizes, from small to very large. I would recommend one that is big enough to do the job, but not too big for the work at hand. You may have to look, but they are out there.

 

—Michael Brady

 

 

Editor’s notes:

*Whether you can replace your own tube depends in part on the kind of tube you have. You should discuss this with your clinician. Also, if you have been trained to replace your tube, you can ask for an extra replacement tube to have on hand should the need arise.

 

**There are some medications that should not be crushed. Please discuss with your clinician. Additional information on giving medications by tube is available by clicking here or by calling (518) 262-5079 / (800) 776-OLEY to request the article “Drug Administration through Feeding Tubes.”

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This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.

 

Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 

 

This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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