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Although our father could swallow food in small quantities, he was mainly fed through the ryles tube.  With repeated episodes of him yanking it out due to discomfort and given his chronic cold, we were advised to have a PEG tube inserted in his stomach.   

Apparently ryles tube is a temporary solution, not recommended for more than couple of months, if even that.   So we decided to have the PEG in place.  It's a fairly simple procedure, does not take more than 20 minutes.
There was a gastroenterologist in our hospital, whom I will hence forth refer to as Dr. G.  He seemed friendly and we zeroed on him to perform the procedure.  Dr. G, recommended that we get our father admitted a day before the procedure, then stay for another couple of days to monitor him.   Although the expenses for such a stay at this corporate hospital seemed daunting, we opted for it given it was for the greater good!

Incidentally in July 2010 we were admitted at the hospital for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).  Since we were already at the hospital, requested Dr. G to take a look at our father for the PEG insertion.   He asked for some tests, which we later learnt were redundant and pretty expensive. 

Since all doctors advised us to have the PEG once he was clear of the UTI, we went home with just the good old ryles tube.  

A month and half of no infection, we were recovering financially from the previous unexpected hospitalization, so decided to get the PEG inserted.   But there, UTI again.  Been there, done that, so we knew the drill, had the antibiotics from home.   All about our UTI days in the previous blog posts.

By October my sister was at her impatience best.  She wanted the PEG placed if possible in the next hour.  We talked about it all the time as if it was salvation itself. 

Dr. G asked us to bring our father for a check up.   He seemed unusually curt during the visit.  We were wondering what ever happened to his genial nature.   Dr. G said our father was too critical and he wanted an Anesthesiologist to clear our father for the surgery.  He made our father sound like the most chronically sick and terribly unstable patient to get a PEG ever.   

The thought of taking our father to another visit to the Anesthesiologist in the wheel chair and the logistics of it seemed exhausting.  But when Dr. G called up the Anesthesiologist, he was told the visit was unnecessary and it was sufficient for him to see our father just before the procedure.   Phew, relief.

Since Dr. G was travelling for a couple of days, we schedule the procedure tentatively for sometime in the middle of the week following our visit.   We got the required tests done, all good, all set for the PEG.  My sister was literally counting the days.

Dr. G gets back, I call him and he says with the procedure set for the next day, and that it was too soon to tell exactly at what time he would perform.   Didn’t understand why exactly it was too soon?  So call him the next day, the day of the scheduled procedure, Dr. G tells me he as some sort of flu, so, sorry it cannot be done.  He neither sounded apologetic nor nice about it, but it was more like a snarl.  

That was it.  My sister had it.  She called up Dr. G and demanded what did he mean by he had flu.  I thought it was pretty clear what he meant.  She asked him to somehow perform the procedure.   I couldn’t understand how he would do it, with being sick and all, neither did he.   She then suggested he recommend another doctor who would do it, and do it immediately.  

Dr. G recommended a name, say Dr. R, I spoke to him and we were on our way to the hospital in an hour.   Dr. R asked not too many questions about our father, barely looked at him, sedated him in, inserted the PEG and he was wheeled out.  I ask him if hospitalization was required for observation, he looks as if I asked him if we could move into his house.   He slowly nodded his head to indicate it was unnecessary. 

My sister made discreet enquires if Dr. G usually came in for PEG procedures.  We were told by the staff that he had never performed a PEG insertion.   Not wholly surprising given how fidgety he was, prescribing unwanted tests and acting like a nervous wreck.   

Such simple procedure and so much drama. 


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