What to do with an old poop sack (ie. ostomy bag)

In the morning, I get out of bed and start a few early chores, putting away dried dishes, getting bananas for Matt & I, taking supplement pills… Usually, I have a 1/2 full ostomy bag dangling from my abdomen (see earlier post, Energetically Challenged).

This morning I came back to bed chuckling about a poop story I had to tell to Matt:

Years ago, I was hiking with my good friend Dan. It was a beautiful day at Oregon Coast’s Saddle Mountain, and we were just heading down hill from the summit when a dog (don’t ask me what kind, kind of medium-sized), came trotting merrily up the path toward us. As he got closer, Dan and I noticed that around its neck was a sack of its own poop. Neither of us said anything, but stared as it trotted by completely oblivious to us. I think we were both thinking, “Huh, that seems kind of cruel”. The next moment, we saw the dog’s owner hiking up the path toward us and as he passed, he said,

“Don’t tell him, he doesn’t know.”

Dan and I busted up laughing the entire way down the hill. And that’s what the feeling of my bag’s fullness reminds me of, that happy pooch trotting up the path to the summit.

Well, I don’t feel happy with a full bag, but I guess that’s because *I KNOW*.

Early on, I went through a lot of ostomy bags. There’s a bit of a learning curve to get the ‘appliance exchange’ just right, plus I had a complication which caused the bags to unstick prematurely and need frequent replacement. Matt was doing all the changes. Bless him. He insisted that he wanted to be the nurse. Right away, I began noticing empty ostomy bags laying out in the dirt, baking in the sun.

I’ve got an unusual guy.

…Matt? What are my old bags doing in the dirt, baking in the sun? (I’ve known Matt long enough, I already knew the answer). Explanation: The sun kills everything, so the UV rays will sterilize any residue in the bag, and then we’ll just throw it in the trash.

Still, after a week or two, seeing a garden of these sun-baking poop bags in the dirt made me smile over my Nurse Matt.


Day 14 Post-Op, 4th day home.

Well, it’s Wednesday today, I came home from the hospital on Saturday, so it’s 4 days now that I’ve been back home. Although I am still not doing much, today is the first day I feel like a whole human being! I knew as soon as I woke up, because I felt crabby! Not because of any one legitimate thing, I just felt crabby. Then I realized that it was *precisely* because my body was feeling better that I could feel truly crabby rather than sick, or achy, or pitifully tired. Just run-of-the-mill crabby. That thought made me happy.

Doctor visit

The follow-up appointment with Dr. Childs went smooth as silk. Although I was fatigued as hell from the drive in to Santa Monica, and was holding back some aches and pains, she said everything looked healthy and was well on track to recovery. I asked about the back ache I had been suffering from since the first surgery; that was most likely due to how much time I spent on my back while in the hospital. I asked about a perpetual yawn feeling in my ears; that sounded like some kind of congestion. So nothing really unusual about the recent surgery and recovery to report. I’ll see her again in 2 weeks.

Out with the old…

Matt changed my illiostomy bag this morning. It was starting to stink, so it had to go. I had a sample from the hospital (my new shipment hasn’t arrived yet), so thank goodness for the back-up. The bags should last up to a week, just being emptied and flushed out occasionally. Each of these can easily be done in the toilet and in the shower, respectively.

I stood in the shower pulling away the stickum patch from my skin, cleaning, then letting the water run over my stoma. It’s really a nice looking stoma. I should enter a stoma beauty contest, at least my tummy looks nicer than some other stoma patients’ tummies.

Matt had prepared the space in the bedroom where he could work. I laid on the “operating table” (bed covered in sheets and towels). He analyzed my stoma, then disappeared for a few minutes, and had the new bag edited with the hole cut for my stoma to fit through. He turned on all the lights in the room, donned his glasses and went to work. We had a handy DVD from Hollister (the ostomy manufacturer) playing in the background. Matt peeled the backing from the sticky patch and I oriented the bag, then on it went! Just like that, and it was fresh and clean. Then “Phbpbpbpbp!” Excellent timing, the stoma had just started spitting again.

It’s not like I have muscles to hold in sounds and stools like a rectum does. So when I have to “go”, I “go”, irrespective of who’s around, where I am or what I have to say about it.

So when the stoma talks, no one’s around but Matt & I, and we just chuckle to each other because we both know the monumental journey I just went through to get to a sputtering stoma.

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