Fears about the PEG feeding tube

If someone is afraid of a feeding tube, I can absolutely understand that. I felt the same way at the time. Looking back, however, these fears were completely unjustified. That’s why I think it’s all the more important to address those fears here.

Fear of the unknown

Today I am a professional when it comes to PEG feeding tubes. Things were different back then, of course. The first doctor who wanted to give me a feeding tube hardly explained the procedure at all. When the subject came up again in the rehabilitation clinic, they made a lot more effort. (I will go into more detail about these different procedures elsewhere). Nevertheless, the PEG was a great unknown for me at the time. And people are often afraid of the unknown. That’s human nature. But you can easily counteract this, especially nowadays. By informing yourself. On the internet in general or, of course, here on this blog. Below I have linked a few of my posts that are particularly important before your first PEG placement so that you know roughly what to expect:

  • How a PEG feeding tube is placed
  • My first PEG feeding tube: an experience report
  • PEG feeding tube and oral eating

Fear of pain

Even though I’ve had to endure a good number of those in my life, I’m absolutely not a fan of pain. Maybe because I’ve had to bear so much. I can do it if I have to, but I really hate doing it. I’m probably not the only one. Here’s the bad news: a newly placed PEG causes pain in the first few days. More on this in this article. At this point, however, I can tell you that this pain will stop pretty soon.

Fear of surgery

The placement of a PEG is a surgical procedure. And a surgical procedure is always associated with risks. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided. Especially if, like me for example, you have to be careful with anaesthesia anyway because of your underlying disease. However, PEG placement is also a very common procedure. Those who carry out this procedure are professionals and know what they are doing. In this respect, they are not angry if you point out your own particularities. On the contrary, they are often even grateful. After all, nobody knows you better than you do.

Fear of the future

At the time, I was terrified (more on this elsewhere) that the PEG tube would be the beginning of the end. It was very clear in my head: First I would have to be artificially fed, then I would have to be artificially ventilated and then it would all be over anyway. Although they couldn’t take away my fear of the future completely at the time, they made a great effort to alleviate it and provided me with a psychologist. And that was a good thing. Because if you can talk to someone uninvolved, you often realise very quickly that many of your fears are only plausible in your own head.

Why fear at all

The PEG was not the end, but rather the beginning. I was finally supplied with enough calories and nutrients. Without effort and without the risk of aspiration. Overall, I felt much better very quickly. Of course, living with a PEG means a lot of changes. But not only is it all manageable, you also receive support. And pretty soon you ask yourself why you were afraid at all.