I’m not talking about the show that catapulted Kirsty and Phil to fame, turning them both into household names. Nor am I referring to the area in which we choose to settle and make home.
That said, the importance of location was first brought to my attention in precisely that context over a decade ago. Once upon a time, in a very distant memory, I lived in London. I can remember the frequency with which I heard the phrases: Location, location, location and it’s all about the postcode. Neither of which made any sense to me. Never having been driven by conventional aspirations or materialistic desires, I couldn’t comprehend why people were so willing to choose a shoe-box in a sought-after area, over a lovely home just a little further out.
Living in Keighley these days, with a postcode that begins with the letters BD, those are still my sentiments.
That’s right, Nelly is looking to move from my face to an altogether less overlooked spot. He is looking for more privacy.
Or, at least, I am.
I think the time has come for Nelly to be a little more concealed. You could say that I am beginning to understand the significance of location, location, location.
Tough Decision To Make
I first wrote about the possibility of swapping my NG tube for a more discreet PEG before new year.
Initially, the move was delayed as a result of my own indecision. I had my first appointment at the PEG clinic at the end of last year, and I was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing.
What’s The Big Deal?
My dietician was the only familiar face in a consulting room filled with medical professionals. Along with her, there were two consultants, three nurse practitioners and a student doctor. It is fair to say that Lovelyman and I were a little taken aback when we walked into the room and saw so many faces. Then when the consultants began playing out a double-act resembling Laurel and Hardy, it was all a bit much.
What followed was an enormous amount of information about my choices and the benefits versus risks that each option posed. I found myself having a sort of outer-body experience, not for the first time in my life, considering something that I never imagined I would.
This thing, this tube, this…Nelly, that I had anticipated having for a couple of months at most, was suddenly being spoken about as something permanent. That wasn’t in the plan. That’s not how it was meant to go.
In the moment, it was all just too much for me to take in, and I don’t mind telling you all that I came a little bit unstuck.
Yes, I cried.
What was even worse, was that I was left feeling more uncertain about what to do than when I had walked in. The only difference was that I now knew the potential dangers of choosing the relocation option.
Fortunately, my lovely dietician sensed our anxiety, and ushered us into a smaller room for a private debrief with her before we left. Just us and her.
As if reading my mind, Lovelyman asked the question I’d been too frightened to voice. How long will I actually be keeping Nelly?
In some ways, this was what I had been finding most difficult. The permanence that a surgical PEG implied. The fixed addition of a tube puncturing my flesh and protruding through my stomach wall (sorry to any squeamish readers!) somehow seemed harder to grasp than the sight of myself with Nelly sticking out of my nose.
It’s illogical, I know, and I can’t really put into words why it filled me with so much fear. All I can tell you, is that it did.
Honesty Is Best
As always, I was comforted by my dietician’s honesty. She explained that there really wasn’t a fixed plan in terms of duration. I have, apparently, exceeded the expectations of the whole IBD team with how well I have responded to the NG tube, and how long I have tolerated it for.
She explained that if I were ten years younger, with less of a run of chronic activity under my belt, she might be willing to consider removing the tube altogether and letting me see how I fared. As it stands, having taken this long to bring me to a stable point, neither she nor my consultant are keen to take any chances.
When put like that, how can I really argue?
Somehow, after that, it was easy to make my decision. Whilst I haven’t let Nelly hold me back – in some ways, you could argue that he’s actually spurred me on – there is one thing I haven’t been able to do since his arrival.
There has been an acting-shaped hole in my life for far too long. There is a severe lack of casting calls put out for people with NG tubes ready fitted. At least if I opt for relocation, I have the opportunity of opening that door again.
So now I wait. I was actually scheduled to have the procedure next week, just in time to have an elephant-free face for my nephew’s barmitzvah. I had psyched myself up, and was keeping the nerves in check by sharing the news with nobody but Lovelyman, Mum and my sisters. I had followed doctors’ orders and cleared three days following the procedure, to take it easy and allow myself time to heal. I had begun to fantasise about being able to put makeup onto both sides of my face again – not that I wear much anyway, but it’s the little things.
To cut a long story short, I was looking forward to it. In a weird, anxiety-laden way, I was excited.
Two days ago, I had a call from the hospital. Sorry, Emma. I’m afraid the re-positioning can’t go ahead when we planned, because the consultants are both on leave. The rest of the team aren’t happy for it to be carried out without a senior consultant present, just in case there are any complications.
I suddenly understand how it must feel to be gazumped. To be ready to move, with everything boxed up and labelled, and plans for where you’ll put everything in the new home, then have the rug pulled from under you at the last second.
So now I go back to waiting. I know that in the grand scheme of things, after almost fifteen months on my face, another few weeks won’t really matter. Before I know it, Nelly will have a new home to settle into, and I will have to get used to my face as it was before.
It’s amazing how adaptable we are really. I never imagined I’d cope with an NG tube, and look how that’s turned out. I have come to the conclusion that I may not like the idea of permanence with regards to tube-feeding, but I do like the idea of being as well as I can be. At the moment, that means Nelly has to stick around some more.
So, cheers to relocating Nelly. Let’s hope he can pack up his trunk soon.