Friday, April 10, 2009

The Baum Years Part Four - How Many Cans Of Nutritional Feed Can You Fit Into One Hari?

So we have established that Hari is rather fond of food - of various varieties.

There are times when she will not eat as much as usual due to being unwell - but aren't we all like that?

Despite being a foodie she continued to be very slow to grow and gain weight - and if she was unwell she was pretty good at losing weight.

As ever my repeated statements that there had to be a medical reason for her lack of growth were ignored.
As ever most illnesses and admissions were blamed on me - accompanied by the usual false allegations that I did not feed her enough.

On one memorable occasion they poured huge amounts of a nutritional feed down her tube in order to 'prove' that she could gain weight. They were basically abusing her by force feeding her to an extent that was totally unacceptable. Of course she could gain weight if she was over loaded with feeds but she could not realistically be expected to sustain this rate of weight gain or that rate of force feeding.

The effect of the force feeding at this rate on Hari was intolerable. She was bloated and rigid from hips to neck. The effects of the force feeding were further complicated by constipation for which no relief was offered.

So - they were pouring excessive amounts of feed down her tube but refusing to relieve her constipation - of course she is going to weigh more!

(We would like to suggest a scientific trial to prove this hypothesis. We suggest a carefully selected sample of doctors should be force fed continuous and copious amounts of nutritional feeds - say at a rate of four gallons a day. Before starting the trial the doctors should have corks superglued into their bums to ensure that no bowel movements are possible. Then weigh each member of the sample four times a day. The suggested duration of the initial trial would be four weeks - see how they like it!)

I arrived on the ward one morning to be told by a student nurse that she had started to feed Hari via her NG tube but had given up as Hari had vomited straight away. My initial reaction to this was not one of surprise. I said that she had obviously got to the point where she simply could not take any more of this regime. The student nurse agreed and gave the impression that the nursing staff had been expecting this.

I noticed that Hari's NG tube was stained and decided to change it. Then I discovered the real reason for the 'vomiting'.

The tube had already been partly removed - hopefully by accident (Hari could have done this herself) -and the end of the tube had simply been dangling in her throat (instead of being in her stomach) - resulting in her choking and, fortunately, coughing up the feed that the student nurse had been pouring down the tube.

Now then - the NG tube has to be aspirated and tested before each feed to ensure that it is still in place in the stomach. Clearly the student nurse had not aspirated and tested the tube location prior to starting the feed. Fortunately this had not resulted in the feed entering Hari's lungs - but this was more luck than judgement.

I thought about this for a while. The only appropriate decision was to take Hari home. I could not risk a repeat of this incident with the tube and Hari had clearly had enough of the abuse that was being inflicted on her.

I did complain about this incident and the result was that the Sister who had been on duty on the ward that day never spoke to us again!

It took Hari a while to begin eating voluntarily again - she was so uncomfortable as a result of the force feeding that she needed time to recover.

Now then - you would have thought that armed with their 'proof' that Hari could gain weight the docs would have immediately sent social services to remove her from my care - especially as I had taken her home without their permission (we just left without telling them!) - but this didn't happen.

Could that be because they knew that they were in the wrong in their latest abuse of Hari - and because they knew that there was a medical reason for Hari's lack of growth?

But I am still saving that story for later!

(We'll get there eventually!)

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