Well, crap. I'm so sorry he's having such a tough time. I know my oncologist told me it would be a few weeks from now before I would get my taste back. I feel like I have a thread or something in the back of my throat and I can't get it and honestly, there are some food textures that I just can't eat either. I instantly feel like I'll throw up. My husband claims I've reverted to 5th grade, because whenever I'm having trouble eating, I can usually get down about half of a plain hamburger (and I mean nothing on it), peanut butter or a slice of cheese pizza.
I think I know what the J-tube is. When I had surgery for the abdominal blockage back in October, the surgeon also put in my port and, just as a precaution, put in a feeding tube, in case I had trouble eating after the surgery or during chemo. I think that was a J-tube. I used mine once. It was a disaster - a funny disaster - because the surgeon told me I could just squirt stuff in with the big plastic syringe I used to flush it with water every night. What he didn't tell me was that you have to do it super slowly and basically let it drip in. Well, I squirted a whole can of Ensure at one time. I can't stand the taste of Ensure, so I figured, well, I'll get the calories without the taste this way. Putting a whole can into the tube in about 5 minutes made for a very uncomfortable afternoon!
I can -- and do -- sypathize with the insurance/work issue too. Our health insurance is through my work, as my husband is self employed. And, being self-employed, his income can vary wildly, so my steady salary is what makes the house payment. So many times in the last 6 months, I've wanted to apply for our disability retirement program, but my health insurance costs would go up (I'd pay the employer portion) at the same time my income would be cut to 60% of what I earn now (for the first year and then 40% after that). So, I've felt stuck continuing to work, which I muddled through as best I could. Fortunately, I have a nice boss, who lost a sister-in-law to breast cancer, so she has been very good to work with, but I, too, feel like that won't last forever. I had to have so many files reassigned (I work for a federal agency, so all my cases are inhouse). Fortunately, I have a few really nice colleagues who stepped in and helped out. But again, I can't rely on that forever.
The other thing about them is that I found it very uncomfortable - they inflate a balloon in your abdomen to keep the darn thing in place and every time I bent or twisted, I felt it. Plus, I'd tuck the tube in a pants pocket and forget it was there, so when I would take my pants down, I'd yank it. Ouch. Still, if I couldn't get nutrition any other way, I'd have it put in again.
Anyway, I've rambled enough. Sending you a virtual hug!