Kim Schranghamer recently asked the following question to her fellow HPN consumers:

What does everyone say when a child asks, "What's that?".

That’s how I get fed, through an IV. It’s not as much fun as eating food, but I feel better about it.  Michelle

It depends on the person. I told my eight-year-old niece that my stomach wasn’t working very well, so I needed medicine in an IV to keep me healthy.  Anna

When asked if it was oxygen, I smiled and replied, “Yes, I breathe through my gills!”. Why do some people think that oxygen goes under your shirt, and not through your nose?  Barbara

When adults ask, I refer to my line as a permanent IV. Truthfully, EVERYONE thinks it’s oxygen! I have my HPN in a cute backpack, so it does an excellent job of helping me to keep a low profile. When it comes time to explain what it’s for, I explain that I don’t eat or drink and that my nutrition goes right into my line. Then, that response is often followed by them asking what I eat, to which I simply say, “Think of me like a hummingbird. Nothing but sugar and water in small, tiny quantities.”  Andrea

I just say I’m a robot, and that I have tubes and wires to help me eat.  Jane

I'm a pediatrician, so kids aren't afraid to ask me. I usually tell them that my tummy doesn't work well so I have to pump it into my body. They usually don't ask why.  Danielle

I tell adults "It's how I eat", or I explain to little kids that I eat a different way. A lot of airport security people don't see my tube at first and have to check my bags. SURPRISE! It's attached! They usually don't ask questions and I just tell them what it is.

It's even harder to get people to understand when you can actually "eat". I tell them I don't absorb food and that IV feeding is my expensive "hobby".  Paula

I say it's for my medicine. Keep the explanation simple.  Megan

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