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|Tube Talk: Tube Feeding Bridge|
Tube Talk: Tube Feeding Bridge
My biggest problems with my G-tube have been leaking and extreme soreness around the tube entrance site, in addition to dry mouth at night that keeps waking me up so I cannot get a good night’s sleep. I have had a G-tube for thirteen years, and it doesn’t look like this is going to change. While dry mouth is still a problem, I have solved the tube problem with a plastic device. The solution works for me, and I hope it can help others.
Over the years I have tried many topical salves and creams to treat the skin around my G-tube site, as well as pads to keep the skin dry. The only thing that helped was to keep a dry pad around the G-tube. Because it was easily accessible, I used paper toweling. I would fold a section into a 2-inch square, then cut or tear it about ¾ of the way through and slide it under the G-tube stopper, up against the skin. In addition, at nighttime in bed after my daily food had settled down, I would loosen up the stopper on the G-tube to let air in around the G-tube site to promote healing and ease the soreness.
I decided there needed to be a way to prevent the skin from becoming raw by keeping it exposed to the air and therefore dry. Finding no product available for this purpose, I came up with the idea of a support bridge using plastic, which I could shape and bend with the tools available to me and which was comfortable against the skin and easy to keep clean. I experimented with different designs and this final design has worked best for me. (A larger image is available at www.oley.org.) It keeps the G-tube off of my skin, allowing the skin in the area to remain exposed to the air and therefore dry.
—Bruce Farwell, Sammamish, WA
LifelineLetter, May/June 2015