Should you bother with a PEG – let alone a tracheostomy?
For heaven’s sake – why is this even an issue?!? OF COURSE you should have a gastrostomy and then ventilation. And you should have them earlier rather than later. It’s called survival. What’s more, play your cards right and you’ll not only Survive but also Thrive.
The wonderful thing about a PEG is that, having had it, you can carry on eating and drinking normally for as long as you are still able. But you, and those who care about you, have the immense comfort of knowing you are fully prepared for when you struggle to swallow. Or gag on food.
The wonderful thing about non-invasive and later invasive ventilation (a tracheostomy) is it stops you suffocating to death.
I’ve heard what, to me, seem the most ridiculous reasons that people put off even just having a PEG. And then they find they’ve left it too late because they can’t breathe well enough when they’re lying down, so the anaesthetist says it isn’t safe to have even the minor procedure of a gastrostomy.
The problem with delaying is that when you’re lying flat your diaphragm doesn’t really work to help you breathe, so your lungs only inflate using the tiny muscles between your ribs – called intercostals. If these muscles have become too weak, you can’t breathe well enough when lying on an operating table in O.R.
That is not the time to commit to a New Year’s resolution to Avoid Procrastination.