Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy
When I woke up with my trach I have to admit that I was scared to death. I wasn’t able to talk. I wasn’t able to move well. I had tubes coming out of my chest and throat. I couldn’t communicate. I was overwhelmed. I was scared. I was ashamed. Mainly, I just felt depleted.
Taking care of a trach is no easy feat. With all the complications that come with trach care it is a wonder I am as sane as I am now. At the moment when I was being discharged from the hospital I felt a big sense of dread. I was not sure I would be able to take care of myself as I once had. I didn’t know if I would be able to handle emergency situations. I am a single woman who had a cat and no way of being understood properly on the phone. I didn’t know what my options were or even how to change my own trach. I was not prepared as I would have liked to have been. All I got when I left the hospital was a bunch of charts showing me what my trach was and how to clean it. There was nothing on how to take the trach out and replace it. There wasn’t anything on what to do if your stoma collapses. And most certainly there wasn’t anything on all the emotions that were streaming in. When I got home from the hospital I broke down in front of my sister and sister in law. The calamity of the situation I was in was enormous. I had new tools to learn to use again. The suction machine was the most terrifying. A suction machine is a device that sucks out the mucus and gunk out of the tube with a long catherder. I had to stick this long tube down into my trach to suck mucus out every 3 to 4 hours depending on how much I was making. It was not fun making yourself choke in order to suck gunk out so you can breathe. The challenges were endless. Somehow I made it through. It was not easy. The emotions were there. I wish when I got out of the hospital there was more information on how to deal with the emotions, the changes, and even how to change the trach safely. I had to learn from my ENT here in Vancouver and I am thankful he allowed me to do it. It took me a good 6 months before I started feeling comfortable in taking my trach out and put a new one in. I had to talk to myself saying this will be okay. I can do this. I’m not a freak. It is strange inserting a tube into your own throat.
I think that is why I want to share my own experiences in my book, and even to help those who have trachs be able to receive the emotional support that is needed for life altering changes such as having a trach.
What got me through it was Jesus. I started journaling and reading my bible. I started praying through things. I even started listening. I did go to counseling where I was greeted with wonderment as they tried to figure out if I would be able to have counseling because of my communication style. I had to fight. I don’t want anyone to have to fight to get the help they need or even be told they can’t get help or they don’t know how to help you. That makes things worse. I hope you understand, if you have a trach that you are still valuable. That your emotions do need to tend to by understanding individuals and in time I hope to have a database or guide written up in how to get counseling. Not only does the medical aspect of taking care of a trach need to be cared for but also the emotional well-being of the one who has the trach and the caretakers who are involved. That is my goal. That is my big desire.