1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Medical issues and character development question!!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Mar 27, 2012.

    EDIT: Please change the title to "Medical issues and character development question!!"

    Okay, before we begin, I have a small confession to make: I have a G-tube, had it since I was a baby. I don't use it anymore (haven't since I was 7), but it's still there. There was one attempt to get it removed, but it failed. I don't like taking my shirt off at the beach or when I'm swimming, because I don't want to have anyone but family see it.

    I was thinking of writing about a character who has a G-tube, and who feels very self-consious about what the world would think should they find out. When we meet this character, he/she has a box of gauze pads, tape, and scissors. Unbeknownst to the main protag, this person's G-tube is slowly falling apart and is about to fall out. This person is afraid of what will happen should that day ever come.

    My question is two-fold, and yes, they're going to sound very stupid:

    #1- This character is a man (let's call him Larry for now.) Now, it could help that he feels that men aren't supposed to have body issues (he's not super macho or anything), but is it at all realistic for a young man to have a fear of showing his buds something like a G-tube? To the point where he'll lie about why he has gauze pads, tape, and scissors in his room?

    #2- This is more of a medical/scientific question: Is it possible for a G-tube to fall out? What would happen then? Would Larry be in any immediate medical danger?
     
  2. Ultermarto
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    Ultermarto Member

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    *looks up G-tube*

    A feeding tube? Yes my little brother had one. But his went up his nostril, so I don't understand what you mean when you say 'hide it'. Does this G-tube feed through the stomach or anything?

    Anyway, answering Question 1. Absolutely. I know firsthand that having physiological issues is not something you want to talk about, even with close friends.
    Question 2. Eh? If this is feeding into his stomach then I suppose he'd bleed. Not to mention the stomach acid, which probably wouldn't 'leak out' or anything, but it would sure as hell sting. He'd have to get to a hospital and get it fixed, but I think such a small hole has a good chance of healing over by itself.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I'm only familiar with the G-tube that is in the abdomen (my dad has one) so I'm going to assume that's what you're talking about since it makes sense that taking off your shirt would expose it. First it's absolutely realistic for someone (man or women) to be embarassed about having a medical device like a feeding tube. You said you, yourself are, so it stand to reason that others might be too, especially if it was a younger man. Something like a G-tube could be considered a sign of weakness in their mind. And with that thought, anything that pointed towards having the G-tube (gauze pads, tape...) would be something to hide and it would completely reasonable to lie about why something like that was in your room.

    Second, I'm not sure exactly about a G-tube falling out but it can become displaced and infected. In any of those instances Larry could be in immediate medical danger.

    Since you have a G-tube, it gives you the perfect opportunity to talk to your doctor and find out any questions you have that would relate to writing your book. I'm guessing you could even just call the nurse and get your questions answered without having to go in (but next time you have the flu make sure you ask). :)
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, that!

    it makes much more sense to be asking the medical questions of your doctor [or on a website devoted to that issue] than of a bunch of writers, most of whom wouldn't even know what a g-tube is...
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Generally, gastrostomy tube removal is simple and shouldn't lead to any problems with the site. Tube "falling out" you have to ask yourself why did a healed site suddenly fail. Is there infection, blockage, patient yanking it out by themselves etc. But since you have one already, I am sure your gastroenterologist would be more than happy to talk to you about it :)
     

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