Archive for November, 2008

My latest check up

Monday, November 24th, 2008

On Thursday I went back to OHSU to have my first real check up. I met with the surgeon about 3 months ago, but he didn’t do much besides just talk with me and make sure everything was going well. So on Thursday I went back and got a “flex sig” (flexible sigmoidoscopy).

One aspect of the procedure that was great was that I had NO prep to do. I didn’t have to starve myself or not drink or take that terrible stuff that gives you wild diarrhea. Nothing. Just showed up, answered the pre-procedure questions and went in to get scoped out.

But I must say that besides that benefit, it still wasn’t a really pleasant experience for me. It’s been about 9 months since my surgery and my rectum is just now starting to calm down. So having a hose stuck up there and a bunch of air pumped in just didn’t make me smile. I did get to watch, which was cool, but my rectum still looks pretty bad, which made sense to me.

The doctor took some biopsies to make sure there’s nothing pre-cancerous going on, but as he was in there trying to get them he was explaining what was there to me. I guess I have virtually none of the normal lining that should be there. It’s totally flat other than a rare bump. Those bumps I guess are called “pseudo-polyps”, though he said they were really the few places of my colon (rectum) that were even close to normal. And he ripped one or two of them off for the biopsies so I have that much less “normal” lining.

I can totally see why things moved through so fast and why there was so much blood for so long. There was nothing left to slow anything down or to absorb anything. And pretty much the whole surface was covered with worn away spots/ulcers. The slightest touch and they started bleeding again.

Oh well, unless the biopsies come back with a problem (which I doubt), I’m going to stick with the bag. At some point in the future I might decide to have the “reversal”, but for now, I think it’s smarter to just continue doing really well with the bag than go back to the uncertainty of having a pouch created out of a rectum that still looks really beat up.

So hopefully that’s the last I have to worry about doctors for the next 6 months until my next check up (just an office visit). But it will be interesting to get the results of the biopsies now that I have been awake to see what the rest of my colon looked like.

Getting filter wet

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I don’t really have much of a problem with gas and the bags that I like don’t come with filters (to let the gas escape out), so this hasn’t been too much of an issue lately. But when I was playing around with different bags and trying out various brands and styles, I discovered a very useful fact that I figured I should reiterate.

If you have a bag with filters, make sure they don’t get wet. That pretty much ends their life as a filter and you might as well not have them.

I’m not sure what they are made from, but once it gets wet, that seems to be the end of it. Luckily most of the bags that I got with filters came with little stickers to put on over them to keep the water out while bathing. But I hadn’t used filters much and often forgot to cover them up, so after about a day of use, the filter was no more.

So a word to the wise, if you have a size/brand that you like that has filters make sure you cover them up when you are getting wet.

Designing Toilets

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few days now, but we are visiting family in Eastern Oregon now and my wife mentioning the cold toilet seat just pushed me over the edge.

I would like to file a formal complaint that the people that design toilets don’t know what they are doing. Sure they usually work fairly well and sometimes they have fancy features like “auto flush”, but come on. There’s so much more that could be done to make the toilet a more pleasure fixture in a house.

It seems obvious to me that the people that design toilets never had any kind of digestive problems nor were they big “toilet readers”.

Here are some of the problems that I see with toilets and some ideas about them:

  • They get cold–We can heat floors in the dead of winter, but we can’t figure out how to make a toilet seat that doesn’t freeze you. The best alternative out there is a plastic one, but those often get scratched up and gross. I’m sure there are materials out there that are “warmer” and resistent to wear and tear.
  • Some have too much water in the bowl and some have too little. The former can causes splashes and the latter can cause things put in the toilet not to be flushed down (especially when combined with a weak flush mechanism). This latter one is more of a problem for me now with my being “re-plumbed” and emptying in the front.
  • They are usually too weak to conserve water or so strong they splash.
  • Generally speaking, they aren’t all that pleasant to sit on.
  • They are a real pain to clean–has anyone ever really stuck there head in to make sure that under the ring around the bowl is really clean?

That isn’t to say there aren’t ANY good toilets out there. I have seen a few. But they are very rare. I would think that a device that every human in the industrialized world uses should be better designed. I guess the companies that make them figure they have the market cornered. I’m sure there are ways to design the bowl to still keep the aesthetics and physics associated with the current designs on the outside and the inside to allow minimal water to flow around the entire bowl without splashing. And I’m sure there are more ergonomic designs for the seat.

Anyway, I’m just putting that out there as someone who has spent more than his fair share of time running for and sitting on toilets.