Archive for June, 2008

Ostomy Scissors

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I got one pair of scissors with my “intro package” from Hollister. But I have a “to go” supply kit and an “at home” kit, and only one pair of scissors. I checked with the supply company and they said another pair was $41 and that it wasn’t covered by my insurance. I wasn’t really interested in spending that much for a pair of scissors so I said no. I figured I would just buy a pair of fingernail scissors or something to use in a pinch.

I happened to mention it to my dad, who’s a vet. He said that they weren’t that much money to buy and that he could get me another pair. I took him up on the offer and he sent me a really nice pair of blunt-nosed surgical scissors. They were about $35, but they are very nice.

I just wanted to suggest to anyone looking for a pair of scissors that if their insurance doesn’t cover them, you might be able to find a vet or a doctor, and they could probably get you a pair of decent scisorrs for a reasonable price.

Another tip my dad gave me was to use my thumb and another finger besides my index finger and then use the index finger to guide the scissors where you want to cut.

New problem: weight gain

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

I’ve never been a heavy guy. In fact, it’s been almost impossible for me to gain much weight. Ever since I was little, I’ve been skinny. I’ve never been much over 135, despite being almost six feet tall. And over the last few years, even during the “good” times, I haven’t been able to get over 115. I would just get to that and plateau out, no matter how much I ate.

But now I’m pushing 150. It’s a new problem. I’m going to have to buy new clothes and start exercising soon. I might even have to start watching how much I eat, since I now seem to be able to eat as much as I want. What a difference!

My doctor said that rapid weight gain was one of the things that you had to watch out for after getting an ileostomy as it could cause problems, but I thought it would never be something I would have to worry about. I guess he was right. I’m not worried about it being a problem since it’s not wildly out of control, but it’s sort of a fun new problem to have since it was always more of a problem the other way.

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit…no longer

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

The nice thing about not having a colon is that eating beans isn’t a problem. I just thought of this the other day when we were having beans. They don’t have time to sit there and ferment. No farting. I’ve never had much of a problem with beans before, especially the last few years of having UC due to the transit time being so fast, but I just thought it was a funny thought.

Golfing once again

Monday, June 16th, 2008

It’s not been quite a decade since I’ve played golf, but it has been quite a while. It just wasn’t very workable with colitis for most of the time. Sometimes during a remission I could play, but even that wasn’t really possible in the last several years. That much walking without a bathroom anywhere around just wasn’t a good idea. Anyway, yesterday I broke the streak and went golfing. I actually had a lot of fun and the bathroom was the last thing on my mind, except of course when the port-a-potty was right behind the green and we were all joking about hitting it with someone inside. In fact I didn’t have any problems. And only once did I even notice my ostomy bag or my stoma. I just felt a little bit of a stretch (about the same as trying to crack my back when I’m a little stiff). Nothing to worry about. I was tickled pink. I used to love playing golf, and now I can do it again. Prices have gone up a bit (ok, a lot) since I last played, but my wife Chris is starting to get interested in trying it out, so I don’t think that will be a problem.

Sitting down to pee

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

This isn’t really an issue for women, but for a guy it might be something to listen to.

For the last several years of having UC, I was going to the bathroom often, so I would just sit down and any pee that I had stored up would come out. It wasn’t much as I was having a hard time absorbing water, but I got used to just sitting down to pee. Now that I have an ileostomy, I still sit down to pee almost always. It’s just easier that way. I can both pee and empty my bag, even if it’s not “full”. I guess it’s more “manly” to stand up, but at least I don’t get yelled at for leaving the seat up!

Hot flashes

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

I know it’s weird for a twenty-five year old male to have hot flashes. But a couple of weeks ago (about two months after my surgery), I started having these periods where I would just have to stop and wait for a minute while whatever mental thing it was passed. When it first started, these “episodes” were preceeded by my skin getting all read and hot. I thought they were quite weird but got used to them enough that I didn’t have to stop and wait them out. But they had me a bit concerned.

So the next time my mom and I were talking on the phone and she asked how I was, I said that I was doing well except for these little spells. I didn’t figure she would have any input, but she said “oh, that’s a hot flash”. I was sure it wasn’t, but the more I explained the symptoms, the more she said “that’s a hot flash”. So I guess I have more in common with middle aged woman than I thought.

Luckily the hot flashes only lasted about three days before whatever hormones were at work balanced out again. My hormones must have been (and still are) in a major state of flux since coming off the Prednisone and whatever else I was taking as well as just being so depleted.

Baby wipes

Monday, June 9th, 2008

This may seem like a weird post title, but since I have had my ostomy, I have used baby wipes during bag changes to clean up and dry everything before putting the new bag on. I have an awesome wife. She is very big on cloth diapering, so while she was making a set of cloth baby wipes for my daughter, she made me a set also.

I started out using several of them each time I changed my bag, but now I’m down to usually only using two. They work very well and we just toss them in the wash afterwards and they are ready to use again. It’s a very workable system.

And since we do have a baby around, there are plenty of disposable wipes for when we are traveling and it’s not workable to have a bunch of cloth wipes around. I took several of these and have them in a zip-top baggie for when we are traveling and I have to change the bag. This works very well also. Just use them to wipe everything off and then dry any wetness with a piece of TP and then I’m good to put the new bag back on.

It’s not the fanciest thing around, and I’m sure the medical supply companies have something else that you can buy to use, but this is a very easy and economical solution I have found for cleaning up while changing my bag.

Ostomy Bag Care

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I have had my ileosotomy for a little over three months now. I’m still experimenting with various things to try to figure out the best way to do things. I am going to be trying other types of bags, but out of the Hollister products I have tried, I have settled on the one piece model with the roll-up opening and a pre-cut hole. When I first started using these bags, I would work really hard to try to squeeze all of the contents out of the bag and through the tip so that I wouldn’t have to clean out the inside of the opening, but that was a pain and time consuming, as well as a bit messy at times.

I have since figured out a much better way. I still try to work everything out so that the bag is empty and all of the “air” is expelled, but I don’t work at the opening much. Then I take some toilet paper, fold it over a couple of times and slide it along the opening. This squeezes out some of the stuff that is left at the tip and also cleans off any that might have dripped over onto the outside.

Then I take another bit of toilet paper (about three squares of 2-ply toilet paper–1-ply vs. 2-ply will have to be another post some day) and fold it over and roll it up so it ends up being about the thickness of a cigarette. I hold open the opening and then use this roll to wipe along the insides of the opening. I usually grab in the middle and make two passes (one for each end). Then I can use the center of the roll to get anything that might have dripped over the edge.

It may not be the best system in the world, but until I find something better, it has proven to be the most workable. It gets the job done and keeps my hands clean and I don’t have to stick my fingers inside the bag to wipe it out.