Feeding Tubes

I am still on a Grey’s Anatomy kick, and tonight I watched the 3rd episode of season 10, titled “Everybody’s Crying Mercy.”

In this episode, the former chief of surgery, Dr. Weber, is recovering from major surgery.  He is not eating (he is having difficulty swallowing but does not want to admit it), and is losing weight.  As one of the interns says “he is starving before our eyes.”

However, he adamantly refuses the tube, and the doctors debate what to do.  The one doctor says that they should not do it because it can be “psychologically damaging” and “take away a man’s dignity.”

I definitely get that.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I have been tubed multiple times.  However, all of those times except for one were not because of noncompliance.  Once it was because of noncompliance, but the other times were because my messed up GI system simply made it too difficult to orally consume the calories needed for weight gain.

I’ve seen a lot of people, especially adolescents, that seem to regard getting a tube as a “status symbol” or seem to purposely restrict just to get a tube (especially if other patients have one).  However, I do not feel that way, and can very much relate to the above quotes.  Every time I have been tubed, I’ve felt like a failure.  Furthermore, getting calories through the tube is for some reason more psychologically traumatizing than eating/drinking them myself.  I realize I might be in the minority here, but it was just interesting to hear my thoughts articulated in this episode.

Can anyone else relate to this?


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