I’ve never really been a big fan of change. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I am cool with change that I make happen and have control over, but it’s the ‘things changing whether you like it or not’ that I’ve never liked too much. I’m kind of like that stereotypical elderly person in movies and TV shows who shakes their head while saying “kids these days…” or “back in my day…” except for my day is perhaps a year ago as opposed to several decades ago. And change is kind of like a telemarketer who you know is just doing their job but you can’t help but be a little annoyed that they are interrupting your time. I like my routines and change usually comes with a learning curve that requires me to adjust them.
On Monday I had my tube changed for the first time. The actual procedure was not a pleasant experience. Imagine you are drinking something with a straw and then a melted piece of ice or a piece of food that escaped the blender blades that is slightly bigger than the straw gets stuck in the bottom of it blocking the opening. Now imagine that piece of something being forced up the straw despite the fact that it’s a bit too big. And then imagine pushing it back down the straw. That’s basically what it’s like, except the piece of something is the tube and the straw it’s being forced through is the tract between the outside world and your insides.
Most feeding tubes are held in place with balloons. These balloons sit just inside the stoma to prevent the tube from falling out and they are inflated with water after insertion through a port on the outside end of the tube. Obviously to remove or place a tube the balloon is deflated, but even when deflated it is still slightly wider in diameter than the rest of the tube, hence the piece of something that gets forced through a straw. And oh yeah, this is done without any sedation, numbing or pain meds and you have to lie very still on a table while all this is happening. I would like to note, however, that the doctor and nurse with me for this procedure were beyond nice and gentle and made things as pleasant as possible.
So, like I said, not a pleasant experience! Well, that’s kind of like a lot of change. One of the reasons change comes about is because there is a problem in the way something is working. This something could be a medical device or it could be a car, a schedule, a job description, a relationship…anything really. Or maybe it’s just time to try something new, to see if there is a better, more efficient, less expensive or more balanced way of doing things. The actual change might be blunt, unpleasant, painful, unsettling, annoying, confusing…again, anything really.
And then there is the adjustment period, the learning curve. That’s currently where me and Lil’j 2.0 (yes, my feeding tube has a name…) are hanging out. It’s a different kind of tube than I had before which means different techniques for fastening, flushing, dressing the site, hooking up to feeds, adapting my wardrobe etc. As I said before, I tend to get set in my ways. It just so happens that it took about two months with the old tube for me to establish these ways and settle into a routine, which means I had about two weeks with this routine before the tube got changed. Now I have to figure out a new routine. My abdomen is also adjusting to this new tube. My abdominal muscles, very true to the rest of me, don’t really like change either. Two weeks after surgery they launched a very rowdy protest to my tube and started spasming leading to severe pain and a five day hospital stay. Three days after the tube change, they are angry at having been disrupted and are again protesting, albeit (and thankfully) with a little more class this time. It’s a learning curve for them, too.
While there are many aspects of this new tube that I don’t like, there are also a few good things. For one, it doesn’t need to be stitched in. It should also be less complicated and costly to fasten and dress. If I give it a chance, give it some time, I’m sure I will discover some more good things about it. I will probably discover some more negative aspects of it, too, but that’s just how life works.
What I need to do right now is give this change a chance. It’s too early for me to make up my mind ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ because I haven’t gone through the learning curve yet.
I think all change deserves some time. A change that immediately seems negative might turn out to be a good thing. The opposite is true of a change that immediately seems positive – it might not live up to its initial hype, but that’s okay. Maybe that realization will initiate necessary changes elsewhere. Or maybe it will lead to a connection with another person over a shared experience. Perhaps it will come with a large side order of life lessons that will come in handy at a later date. Or perhaps a change that is only a bit inconvenient to us is incredibly positive for someone else who really needs it. And, in the future, we might find ourselves on the other side of that situation, the one with the incredibly positive change in our lives at the inconvenience of someone else. Change is never all good, but it’s never all bad, either. If we spend our time looking at the bad that is all we will be able to see. But if we spend our time looking for the good, I really do think we will find it. Change promotes growth, openness and education, and these are all good things. These are all necessary things. Change is a necessary thing.
So I’m going to give this new tube a chance. And I’m going to make an effort to give all change a chance.
After all, just like that annoying telemarketer who calls right when you’ve just settled down at the end of a long day, it’s just doing its job.