Monday, November 8, 2010

Tube feeding in public is just a question of practice

It's been 12 days of continuous tube feedings, and on 10 of those days I have been tube feeding in public to some extent.

I have come to the following decision - it's all a question of practice. I leave hooked up for work in the morning and leave work hooked up to my pump in the afternoon, having to take the subway and tram each way and therefore getting lots of practice in tube feeding in public. After 10 days I have managed to forget that I am hooked up and feel surprised when I see someone staring at me, until I remember that I have a tube running from my backpack to my belly.

But mostly people don't stare, as there is no reason to stare. If I feel strong and secure in what I am doing and "wear" my tube proudly, it won't be less obvious to everyone else.

I asked one of my clinical psychology instructors what to reply if one of the doctors or nurses at the hospital I work at see me with my tube and ask me, if I had a feeding tube. He told me to reply: "Yes, don't you?".
And that's the point - our tubes are our way of eating and getting nutrition - that's our normal. Just because other people don't need tubes to eat and keep themselves nourished does not make us any less normal.

So don't be hesitant to feed in public. This is your normal and you have a right to your normal!


oleyfriends said...

You go girl!

Roz at the Oley Foundation

Anonymous said...

I'm hooked up 23 hours a day and I forget about it too. My friends, family, and co-workers are used to it, but in public places I notice people staring too. I wear mine proudly and if people ask me about it, I briefly give them an explanation and act like it's no big deal. I work at a hospital too, and coincidentally on an oncology unit with a lot of patients that have tubes, so it's often reassuring to them if they see it because they see that I can work and do normal activities with it.