About 10 years ago, George Foley, now an 80 year old retired firefighter, began having difficulty swallowing. After undergoing several tests and meeting with a neurologist, physicians deemed George’s inability to swallow as a medical mystery. They recommended that he begin meeting with a speech therapist to strengthen his throat muscles. Unfortunately, the therapy did not work and George started to rely on nutrition shakes for nourishment which caused him to become malnourished and gradually over time he lost weight. He often thought about getting a feeding tube but admits, “I felt like feeding tubes were for folks in nursing homes and hospitals.”
In January 2012, George was admitted to the intensive care unit after having several bouts of aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when food and liquid make their way into the lungs rather than down the esophagus and into the stomach. It was at this time that his primary care physician recommended George consider a feeding tube for nourishment.
Finding the Right Feeding Tube
George’s gastroenterologist recommended a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube, but one of George’s six daughters, a special needs teacher was familiar with the MIC-KEY* Low-Profile Gastrostomy Feeding Tube through one of her students. She suggested that George consider the MIC-KEY* tube, and after visiting the Oley Foundation website and reading about other adults with feeding tubes, George knew he wanted a low-profile tube that would allow for him to stay mobile and active. Fortunately, another one of his daughters is a nurse who was able to find a physician that could fit George with a MIC-KEY* tube.
Living an Active Lifestyle
George has had his MIC-KEY* tube since February 2012 and finds cleaning and maintaining the tube to be very straight forward. He rinses water down the tube before and after feeding and also uses the tube for all of his medications. The low profile feature of the tube has allowed for him to remain active and spend time with his wife Betty and his 13 grandchildren.
“I didn’t realize you could be as mobile as everyone else while using a feeding tube,” said George. “I have no restrictions at all. I do just about everything. I garden, go swimming, take the grandkids out on the boat and fix things around the house. I do everything but make money these days,” he jokes.