99 10 Week Anniversary

The relationship that I have with my bowel movements surpasses that of the young boy in the poop phase of his existence. I know the color, consistency, the effects of what I have ingested, the odor, and more. And ‘the two of us’ are up close and personal on a very regular basis.

Party!  I am 10 weeks beyond colon surgery.  The ostomy is functioning well, and healed neatly.  And an anniversary gift arrived in the mail, a one month supply of ostomy supplies!  Hurray for me.  It’s like winning on the Price Is Right.  

There are so many supplies, and several options.  Some of the items in the box are foreign to me.  Some have extra, mysterious details.  Since I have spent very little time researching the situation, I don’t know what to ask, or how to decipher the idiosyncrasies of the products.  

Since the wound is still working itself out, I get to visit the post surgery nurse every week or two.  We’ll sort it out.

This is what I know:  

1-Do NOT use lemon as a scent for the ostomy bag.  Peppermint or clove, ok, but definitely not lemon.  If you think the bathroom odors can’t get any worse, think again.  Just add lemon to the toilet bowl and be ready to run for the hills.

It appears that the pores of each cell of plastic in the ostomy bag wear down a bit over time, or maybe the nose gets better as the days pass, but there is an odor.  I am particularly sensitive to scents, so this is a double edged sword.  Or, two scents for the price of one.

2-Plastic ostomy bags don’t puncture.  Everything around is testing their integrity, but they don’t explode, and they do not get holes. Dogs, cats, flying circus knives… no worries.

3-Surgical binders, those elastic girdle things, serve a double function.  Although ostomy bags don’t fail, there are many other ways that a bowel blow out might arise.  This is not to spark fear into those with an ostomy future, because honestly, it just isn’t that common… but… it does happen.  And a wound binder keeps “things” contained.  Ugh.

4-Pectin rings (the round doughnut shaped attachments that stick to the skin like glue and keeps the bag in place) are both amazing and FRUSTRATING. I have no idea how they discovered the adherent quality of pectin.  Or that it can be in a solid form, or used as a pliable mini doughnut. I am both grateful and horrified.

I am horrified when the loop doesn’t adhere well. It can cause a mini leak, where bowel just lightly touches the skin around the ostomy (colon outlet), burning the bejeebers out of it.  It can also cause a full on escape of bowel matter, made worse by the pressure of the wound binder.   And that’s a mess no one wants to imagine.  Again, don’t live in fear of this.  It would be like fearing tigers, yet visiting the zoo. 

5-A person should remember to close the velcro at the end of the bag.  Seems self explanatory.  There’s just so much going on in life.  I forget things.  Don’t forget the velcro.  (I will spare you that story.)

The bags arrive in the box with the velcro open.  Is that supposed to be funny?  

6-I like to empty the bag when I notice that it isn’t lightweight or small anymore.  Some people have bags that they remove and throw away once or twice a day (poop stays with the bag).  Hmm.  Thoughts? 

I am thinking of the garbage can at the end of the week, and I am going to stick with emptying a bag into the toilet!

7-Gas still happens.  It inflates the bag like a balloon.  Cost to benefit anal-ysis:  The sound is more like the Minnions and their raspberries.  The scent is contained, or virtually contained.  See number 1.

8-The relationship that I have with my bowel movements surpasses that of the young boy in the poop phase of his existence.  I know the color, consistency, the effects of what I have ingested, the odor, and more.  And ‘the two of us’ are up close and personal on a very regular basis.  

Speaking of that, nature calls.  Time to put the facts into action.

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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