I felt compelled to write about my trach. What has brought this up? Well, when I went in to get my CT scan. I had to switch my steal trach to a plastic so that it wouldn’t shine on the CT scan. The nurse was fearful of my trach. And it had me concern. If a medical nurse is afraid of a trach then how does the average person feel about it? Many people have fear about the trach. I used to be one of them. It is scary. Because you think that you won’t be able to breathe without it in. That simply is not true. When I take it out. I am still able to breathe through my nose and I can smell for the moment. That it is usually the cat box since it is in the bathroom where I do my trach changes.
The truth is. It is simple to take out and to put back in. There is a knack to do it where it doesn’t hurt. I’ve learned it. I don’t trust others to take it out and put it back in. I do it myself. Yes, my breathing is compromised. I have to live with a trach for now. And while it is out I am able to breathe like I normally do.
If I were to talk to a trach patient. Whether they are new to it or have been living with it for a while. I would tell them don’t be afraid of it. Get to know it. Take one out look at the construction. See the simple tubing and the gentle curve. Play with it. I would also tell them to have the doctor show you how to take the trach out and put it back in. Or someone with experience to show you how it is done. And the first few times have someone be there while you do it. It does help. And to remember that you can still breathe through your nose. Just because the trach is out doesn’t mean that your ability to breathe has vanished. You can still breathe without it.
I believe the fear is emotional. It is because you are doing something that you are not used to doing. When I first had my trach. I was deeply afraid of it. I got out of the hospital. All I got was some pamphlets and how to clean around it. The only training I got about taking it out was a piece of paper that shows pictures of it. It looks so scary and complicated. I didn’t get the training of taking it out or putting back in person. I truly believe that every trach patient should be trained to take out their own trach and to put it back in the hospital. Before they are sent home. The first time I took it out and put it back in. I shook. I looked in the mirror and watched myself put the trach back in. I had to take a few deep breathes to calm my nerves. In fact, each time I had to do it. I had my caregiver in the bathroom with me as I changed it. I thought what if something goes wrong. The what ifs is what made my fear worse. The what ifs need to be thrown out the window. Don’t concentrate on them. Yes, you should have one plan for the just in case. But don’t concentrate on them. Don’t go over it in your mind a million times. For me, I made the choice to get to know my trach. I made the choice to learn how to put it back in. I wasn’t going to let my fear defeat me and cause me hide and tremble. It took me a good 6 months to feel confident enough in my abilities to change my own trach. I also made the choice to ask my ENT to show me how to put it back in and I made him watch me put it in the very first time.
Question for my readers, would you like me to showcase a video of me taking my trach out and putting it back in? If so let me know in the comments or write me a message and I will get it done. Or if you want someone to talk with about the fears and misgivings let me know too. I want to help you conquer the trach and live life freely without fear.