The 4hrs until the consultant visited felt like eternity. It was a sunny morning, the dawn of a new day and new year, and a beautiful ‘Crownhill Sunrise’. When the consultant arrived, he smiled but looked worried. When I explained how it felt, in between gagging, he said it sounded like my body was indeed beginning to reject the NG tube (I felt quite smug that I’d diagnosed myself at 4am in the morning!!) but he said he wanted to keep the tube in for another 24hrs until my own consultant had seen me the next day ( I had a whole team of consultants and Dr’s but my consultant authorised everything). I couldn’t bare the thought of having to spend 24hrs gagging and wretching but what choice did I have. All I could do was keep still and move as little as possible because every movement caused me to choke or gag. I was exhausted and looked out the window across to the moors, shedding a tear.
My nurse came in to ask what had happened and she was just as disappointed as me. I had grown close to this particular person – we got on well and she’d helped me during some significant times during my time on the ward. As we were talking the consultant burst into the bay, with a skip in his step and announced proudly “I’ve spoken to Mr **** and we’ve agreed to take your NG tube out”!! He went onto say that the tube was of no use to me anymore and asked the nurse to remove it!! I was speechless! The nurse went away and returned quite quickly, to remove the tube. I suddenly became very scared. The NG tube had been part of me for so long and although I was looking forward to it being removed, I began to worry about fluids leaking from my oesophagus. But I had every faith in my team and I knew they wouldn’t do something to cause me further harm. My nurse asked me to stand up and revealed that despite me thinking that the tube was stitched into my nose, it in fact wasn’t’! The stitch was removed at an earlier time, that I have no recollection of and the tube had been sitting lose. She said I’d done very well not to pull it out!
She was brilliant – so calm, so professional and whilst I was waiting for her to remove it, I realised that she’d sneakily already begung and before I knew it, the tube had gone!! We both cried!!! She told me that she was so pleased to be the nurse on duty that day, to be with me on yet another momentous day and to be the one to remove the first of many tubes. I was in tears because I suddenly realised that this was it – this was the start of my recovery.
After the excitement settled down, I was helped to wash my hair, minus the NG tube. I felt free!! The nurse found me a hair dryer and despite my hair looking like something from Fraggle Rock, I felt so much more human. I took a photo and sent it to my family….it took a while for them to notice the difference! I video called my parents and daughter and we all jumped for joy.
It was a day to remember and it marked the beginning of my journey home.