146. Awake for the Sunrise, and Ostomy Fun

A nurse in the hospital (after surgery) told me to empty the bag when it is one third full. That is equivalent to saying “Eat a third of the bowl of ice cream, and wrap the rest for later”, or in a less polite tone, “Poop a sixth of a bowel movement, then wipe, flush and walk away.”

The title should be in reverse.  I am awake for an ostomy blow out. The sunrise will be an added benefit, as it will appear long before I finish typing.

No worries on the ostomy bag failure, if you are sending empathy; the ramifications were minimal.

Sometimes there is too much air (gas) in the ostomy bag, making it fill like a balloon.  In the daytime, it is totally noticeable, mainly because I am awake.  Anyone would notice that a balloon was tucked in along the waistline of her pants.  When sleeping, it is different. 

Ostomy bags are flexible.  They move and adjust.  They are resilient and squishable without explosion, to a super high level of pressure really!  It is difficult to imagine the process of the design and experimentation in this field.  I am grateful for those who were in the bowel filled trenches, exploring new territory as necessity.

So, when sleeping, the ostomy bag can fill with gas or material, or more naturally both, and go unnoticed.  A nurse in the hospital (after surgery) told me to empty the bag when it is one third full.  That is equivalent to saying “Eat a third of the bowl of ice cream, and wrap the rest for later”, or in a less polite tone, “Poop a sixth of a bowel movement, then wipe, flush and walk away.”  

The feasibility and frequency required in that statement makes me ponder.  How, 20 year old medical assistant girl, would you know?  Do you have any personal experience whatsoever?  Once you were trained to attach and detach an ostomy bag (something a Kindergartner could do), were you also told to interview 100 users for experience related and situational knowledge?  Perhaps.  Doubtful.

Short story turned exceptionally long, I woke up.  I was aware that I needed to allow air to escape from the bag.  While in the process of cooperation, the circular tupperware seal against my body opened from the combined pressure of the air and my work to release it through the flange (yes, I definitely googled that.  The velcro closure is apparently called a flange).

It was not messy.  It just meant I went through the multi step process of changing out the entire set up, something that probably takes ten minutes, but I will exaggerate and say 20 because I was still half asleep.  For the record, I could have attempted to reattach the old bag (risking seal ooze, really not an option in my book), or I could have just replaced the bag alone in this particular case.  

But today was scheduled for a change anyhow.  I usually go for a new operation every third day, because the seal to my body degrades where there is a natural bend by my belly button. 

At any rate, the whole ostomy experience is no more trouble and no more mess than normal, youthful female endeavors.  Different challenges, but entirely similar ramifications.  And now I am awake (pun intended).

The dark, blue-gray skyline faded.  The shadows of the tree line became evident, and slowly the color of the branches brightened to hues of green and black. The tones of the heavens met the mental lethargy of society, as the rain pounded the rooftop and the winds whipped the chimes, music filling the morning air.  Blessed new day!

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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