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NG tube

Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2012

My mom in still in the hospital after first chemo on Friday. Not tolerating it well, w/ nausea and vomitting. Seemed to be better yesterday, taking sips of liquid. Overnight, I don't know why, but they put a nasogastric tube in to suction out all secretions in her stomach. I cannot get anymore details than that. My mother will not let the doctors talk to me and give me info - she says she wants my father to, and when I talk to my father he is yelling and screaming at me "I DON"T KNOW!" when I ask him questions, such as "why the tube", "what did they say" etc... My father is losing it. He told me to NOT come to the hospital because he feels I might upset my mother if she sees me get upset - and I am to NOT call him. He said he will call me whenever he knows something - he is w/ her now at the hospital. I asked him to go find the nurse, and he said he couldn't track her down - I suggested he go to the nsg station and ask to speak to the doctor regarding his wifes condition, and he yelled "I'm not doing that" and slammed the phone down. I could not make it through my day at work because I am terrified of what is or isn't going on. I am at home, alone, w/ no info, no answers, and instructions to not call or visit my mother. My sister is in NH and I have been calling and texting her all day, and she has not returned any of it.
Is my mother dying right now? Or is this just a bad reaction to chemo that she will get through? Is an NG tube to suction out her stomach mean something really bad, or could it just be a set back? I know nobody here can tell me where my mom is in her disease, but if anybody could talk to me about an NG tube maybe that will help me understand things.
Again, I'm sorry for being a pest, and being so needy. I hate it that I get so emotional, and that I need people to talk to to get me through. I just don't know what to do.

Posts: 93
Joined: Oct 2012

I am so sorry your dad and family are alienating you from the Dr's and getting the answers you so desperately need. Not telling you isn't helping you and certainly let's your mind go to dark places. If your mom is throwing up she may have a bowel obstruction. I had an NG tube a few weeks ago when I had my bowel obstruction. They insert it thru the nose and into your stomach to drain the contents. It should help her from vomiting and make her feel better. Her obstruction could be caused by food blocking the colon or by cancer infiltrating the wall of the colon. If they noticed a particular area thet was blocked in the X-ray she had done the other day, they would normally do a bowel resection or try to get the obstruction moving. Hard to say without knowing what they saw on the X-ray.
I am not sure what you should do. Obviously your dad isn't sharing any info with you and he isn't dealing with the situation very well. If it were me I would calmly call the DR at the hospital or the one in Boston that is overseeing her treatment. Either that or I would go to the hospital and try to talk to your mom without upsetting her. I am not sure what others on this board feel you should do. I don't think letting your mind go wild is good for you at all. You don't need that stress and your mom doesn't need to see you all worked up. I hope someone will trust that you can handle the truth regarding your moms condition so you can help her and your dad get through this together. I am so sorry this is working out this way. Please try not to over think this or fear the worst. You need all the facts. Please keep us posted. Good luck to you. I feel so badly for you and your mom and family. Sending positive thoughts and energy to all of you. <3 Michele

poopergirl14052's picture
Posts: 1185
Joined: Nov 2010

..so you don't aspirate and to heal the stomach and intestines. Your Momis not dying but very.sick. Demand she gets her nausea meds before chemo and offered through out the day. Until very.recently I have never vomited on chemo..been on for three years. I hope this helps. They wouldn't take my tube out until I passed gas as I had bowel resection also..hope this gives you and your family some peace..Val

Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1311
Joined: Jul 2012

Hello Carol,
I agree with Michele.
Your mom is very sick and your father is 80 years old and both are under a lot of stress. They may not be thinking rationally. You are an adult and they can not stop you from calling or meeting the doctor in Cape Cod or in Boston (or their admins) and inquiring about your mom's treatment and current condition.
Try to stay calm and positive. Best of luck to you.

Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2012

thank u everybody for your thoughtful replies.
The doctors and nurses will not tell me anything - only my father is allowed info at this point. When I called today and spoke to the nurse all she would say is that my mother was stable - and that legally, she couldn't tell me anything else. I did not go to the hospital today because my father explicitly asked me not to come, saying my mother needed her rest. I asked him to please keep me informed of how she was doing as the day went on, and what the doctors said, and he said he would call me. That was almost 8 hours ago, and my phone has not rung - nor has my sister returned any of my calls/texts. I am consoled by those who have explained to me here why they had the ng tube, and am hopeful it is just a set back, something that my mother can move beyond. I am taking a klonopin and going to bed. My family wants to deal w/ this w/ their heads in the sand, and that is very difficult for me to do. I want to know things - I work in the medical field, and I think it is so important to have somebody advocating for you when you are too sick to do it for yourself. Oh well. Thank u all for your replies. I will try to remain optomistic as I wait for word on my mother.

Posts: 93
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Carol,
How did today go? Any update on your mom after the NG tube was inserted? Hopefully this gave her some relief. I am hoping you were able to see your mom today and maybe were able to get some answers from your family or the Drs. Hope everything is going in a positive direction.

Please let us know how she is doing and how you are doing..... Love and light! Michele

abrub's picture
Posts: 1843
Joined: Mar 2010

because my bowels shut down. I didn't have an obstruction, but all that I was going through just made the normal activity that moves food through the bowels stop. If bowels aren't moving ("ileus") or there is a blockage, an NG tube is used to keep the stomach empty. Even with no food, you still swallow saliva and mucous, and something has to empty the stomach out.

An NG tube is miserable to have. It's uncomfortable and frustrating. But it serves a purpose. When your mother's digestive tract settles (and they'll know that when she passes gas) they'll be able to remove it.

I'm sorry your dad is unable to be cooperative right now. He is in over his head, and doesn't know how to cope. Questions that make him think or consider the worst are terrifying him. I'm also sorry that he won't share what is going on - there's a very good chance he doesn't understand. However, the staff may only share information with authorized family members, so you are definitely between a rock and a hard place.

Visit your mom. Stay calm. Reassure her, and then see if she'll share with you what is going on.


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