Archive for the 'ostomy bags' Category

Ostomy Bags, How to Reduce Wear Time

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I figured I’d take the opposite tack with this post since I don’t have everything figured out about how to extend wear time, but I have figured some things that seem to reduce the number of days each of my bags lasts.

First off, I should start out with reiterating that I use one-piece bags for a number of reasons, but basically because I like them better and have had better success with them.

So here’s my list of not-to-dos if I want my bag to last longer:

1) Let the bag fill completely with gas. Basically this builds up the pressure and the seal is going to be the weakest link, so even if it doesn’t cause a blow out or a leak, it can weaken the seals hold by letting the liquids start to get under.

2) Wear tight clothing across the bag. This seems to happen to me more when I wear jeans than anything else, but if I wear my jeans and belt too tight, the contents of the bag are trapped at the top and seem to wear away at the seal and so the bag doesn’t last as many days.

3) Play with my 1 1/2 year old daughter a bunch. This one isn’t something I’m willing to avoid, but I’ve noticed that when my wife and daughter are away visiting family or I go out of town for business, my bags tend to last longer. I can only assume this is because my daughter loves to jump on my lap and be held and that these pull on my clothes and thus pull on the bag and weaken the seal.

4) Get a bad batch of bags. This one isn’t really avoidable since you don’t know you get a bad batch until you get them. I’ve read online that you can usually call up the company and get them to replace the batch of bags for free, but I haven’t tried this yet, since I have only experienced this twice. The first time I had no clue and I’m just now figuring out that this last batch is in fact not holding up well.

5) Extreme sports. I went white water rafting and basically had my bag fall off so that I was holding it on for the last part of the trip. That wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but since then I’ve learned that there’s water proof tape and I’ve come up with some other ideas, so I’m definitely not planning to let this be a stop to me having fun.

I’m sure I’ll learn more ways to screw up with my bags and to make the wear out faster, but I think those are the main ones I have come up with so far.

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.

“Bionic Colon”

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

My wife was talking with her friend a while back about me having another kidney stone (hopefully just a hold over from the Prednisone) and he said something that I just found to be hilarious. He asked her something like “isn’t he like bionic more info

elimination man?” I thought that was great. I’ve humorously used “prosthetic colon” before about my ostomy bag, but I think I might switch to having a “bionic colon”. It probably doesn’t fit as precisely with the dictionary definitions, but it just sounds cool!

Stocking up on ostomy supplies

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Since I have already maxed out my insurance deductible and out-of-pocket expense limit with my first hospital stay in January and then my surgery in February, my insurance is now paying for everything else that happens this year. And that includes my ostomy supplies. So I have decided to stock up. I still haven’t fully figured out what is the “be all, end all” bag for me, but right now I am using a one-piece, pre-cut bag, so each month I order the maximum number that I can, along with the paste and skin prep wipes.

My reason for doing this is that I’m not all that excited about paying for the supplies next year. I’m not necessarily poor, but I don’t want to waste my money buying ostomy supplies if I don’t need to.

My insurance plan lets me get 20 bags per month and 2 tubes of paste and some number of skin preps. But I am frugal with bag changes and try to make each bag last as long as it can before I change it. (I’ll have to actually track it, but I figure it’s about 4-5 days between changes). So I end up using less than half of my bags, and I just put them away so that I can use them later. They don’t technically expire for something like five years.

And I asked one of the representatives at my supply company if the paste expired and she said that as long as I don’t open it, it should be good for a long time. So even though I have only gone through one whole bottle of paste since my surgery in late February, I keep getting those too and just putting them aside.

Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll have all of my supplies for all of next year and will be able to make it through the whole year without having to buy any supplies.

Balloon Bag Alarm Clock

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

I woke up this morning with my bag about to start leaking. This has only really happened a couple of times before, but now I have a system that works pretty well as long as I follow it.

While I sleep, my bag usually starts to fill up with gas. Some days it’s faster than others. And it seems to happen even if I use a filtered (vented) bag since I am laying down and the contents of the bag often sit right in front of the filter. The bag sometimes fills up with gas during the day also, but I try to follow the same principle: empty it before the pressure starts to pull at the seal too much.

So basically I have a “ballon bag alarm clock”. When it gets too full of air, I go to the bathroom and empty it out. This usually works out just right as it’s about time to wake up anyway. But if I ignore it for too long, the air pressure builds up and starts to pull at the seal, which is what happened this morning.

As long as I follow that simple idea, I usually get several days of wear, but if I ignore the bag for too long and let the pressure build up, disaster looms just up ahead 🙂

Another Ostomy Scissors Source

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

My wife is a very dedicated “urban homesteader”. She’s cooking and raising animals and doing a great job at it. And one of the incidental effects of this is that she was at the farm supply store (Wilco where we live) looking at castration supplies for her goats. Being a guy, the topic of castration isn’t my favorite topic, but she had read my previous post on ostomy scissors, so she told me about the blunt nosed scissors there as a possible option.

I went in myself later in the week to buy something else and checked it out, and they look like a very viable pair of ostomy scissors, though I haven’t tried them. They weren’t curved, but they were only $7.99. So if anyone is looking for another pair of affordable ostomy scissors, the farm store might be a place to look at.

Farm supply store


Castration supplies section

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.

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.