The day was full of excitement and anxiety. I was hoping for nothing out of the ordinary--only smooth sailing, and drama free. But as anyone who works in TV production or has ALS knows, that's wishful thinking.
I was on location at a local yoga studio, shooting a promo video for our national Yoga Day for ALS campaign. The entire concept, 25 yogi volunteers, film crew and one caregiver were collected on a warm muggy Saturday afternoon to help me execute a creative vision.
The previous month emailing with the director, yoga instructor/studio owner had felt great. I love producing; it's usually equal parts creative mind and logistics. What's more, I'd organized the entire production via emails I wrote with my eyes!
If you think that's impressive, just wait until you hear what happened next...
Right before leaving my house, my feeding tube appeared to be clogged. It worked with no issue earlier when I consumed a breakfast smoothie. However, when it came time for morning medications of crushed pills, nothing would go into my stomach.
This had happened before and usually resolved itself so I wasn't very concerned. But to be safe, I texted a close friend whose husband, Paul, is a GI department physician's assistant at a local hospital. Coincidentally, that close friend was also going to be at the video shoot, and her husband met me at the yoga studio.
While 20 yogis stood in place in the studio and the crew organized shots, I was in the lobby getting a tune up. Paul, the PA was like Anthony Edwards character on the TV drama ER, only shorter and with more hair.
A quick side note about my feeding tube. It's called a Mic Key button. It is nearly flush with my stomach. Think of a gas cap on your car--that is one end of the tube, and the other is about three inches long and goes directly into my stomach. The tube fits perfectly into a track in my stomach sort of like the Holland tunnel of my tummy.
The only tricky thing about this little gastric gadget is there's a tiny water balloon on end that acts as an anchor so it doesn't pop out. Paul confidently explained he was going to deflate the balloon to determine the problem. Since I was sidetracked and thinking about the shoot, I agreed without realizing how CRAZY it sounded.
Before I knew what happened, Paul was holding my feeding tube in front of my face! This meant I had an open tunnel in my stomach. He explained as long as we got it back in within 15-20 minutes, it was not a problem!
Paul quickly found the clog, and fixed it with a paper clip and water. The problem occurred when it was time to get the feeding tube back into my body. Picture trying to get a piece of cooked spaghetti into a keyhole... Paul asked our mutual nurse friend to run to the store and buy some KY jelly!
I'm ghost white at this point. Oh, and all the yogis are on a break. Nothing to see here!
Soon enough, the lube was in the building to help! The real help was Paul using a blow pop from the yoga studio reception desk to give the feeding tube some stiffness. With that, as easy as Paul removed it, my feeding tube was back in business!
Ohhhh yeah, the video shoot, unlike my body went perfectly, well take a look for yourself!
Watch the finished product:
Learn more about Yoga Day for ALS!