Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Feeding the Beast

I'm feeding solely by feeding tube these days.

There are two ways to do it: "bolus feeding" and "gravity feeding".

For bolus feeding, I stick a big 60cc syringe body in my feeding tube and then pour food into it. Usually Isosource 1.5 CAL. Sometimes Ensure. With bolus feeding I have to adjust the height at which I hold the syringe - the difference in height between the syringe and my stomach controls the flow rate. I'm supposed to let it flow at a very slow rate ("you should barely be able to see it move") to avoid bloating.

It takes about 10-15 minutes to get in an 8oz container of food that way.

With gravity feeding, I use an IV stand and bags that are similar to an IV drug bag but made for feeding (i.e. made much more cheaply - the lids won't even close). It has a drip chamber like an IV so you see the drip rate, and a valve that controls the drip rate. I put the fitting at the end of the hose in my feeding tube and adjust the drip rate and then I'm free to do other things (or sleep) while the food or fluids drip in.

Gravity feed is quite convenient.

I'm not really sure what drip rate I should use for food. I usually set it at about 3-4 drips per second. That's a pretty slow rate compared to if I were drinking the food, but it prevents any stomach bloating or discomfort.

It's not like I'm in a hurry to go anywhere.

One distinction between bolus feeding and gravity feeding will be important in the next post. With bolus feeding the entire feeding is essentially in my stomach simultaneously. But with gravity feeding at a slow drip rate I imagine there is never very much food in my stomach at any one time. I assume it leaves my stomach at a rate close to the input rate.

No comments:

Post a Comment