This is a picture of a urostomy bag. Pre- September I had never heard of such a thing. Had never heard the term. Never thought that people could live a normal life without a bladder. Why would it occur to me? To any of us? When people take a while in a public loo I have been less than patient huffing and puffing and wondering why they are taking so long. It never occurred to me that they might be sorting out 'a bag'.
I was told I was going to be a 'urostomate' the day before my operation. I was given a leaflet and a booklet and some sample bags. I was in such a daze I couldn't really take it in. I was too busy trying to absorb a few other facts- a 50% chance of not waking up, having a stroke, waking up permenantly disabled and not able to walk again- these were the things in my prayers. A urostomy bag didn't seem to be such a big deal.
I was also told I may have to have a colostomy too- but in the end I didn't need this. I was having dreadful trouble with my bladder. I knew it had to go and I was pleased to let it go. It was killing me- plain and simple.
Urine never stops coming and there is a clever pro- cedure where the urine can be channelled into what is known as a stoma. It's a clever little thing on the right hand side of the tummy. I am now too sure about how they do it, but my surgeon was called Mr Christmas. How sweet is that? Anyway, the urine comes out and is caught in the bag. There is no off switch.... so changing the bag can be quite tricky. It takes a while and to start with I really despaired of ever being able to do it. I need to clean the stoma, use stoma paste to help with leaks, cavilon protection to protect my skin...... it's pretty fiddly. But I have slowly got used to it. Other half is brilliant and a great help, but between us we can cover it. If anyone out there ever needs one, or knows someone who might in the future, really it is fine. It doesn't stop you doing anything- I can swim even, but haven't yet.
At night I have a night rack where a bigger bag is attached to the smaller one. The little bag drains into the big bag to save you getting up to empty the bag when you are asleep. It is lovely on winter nights- I never have to get up into the cold air. Also, I never have the urge ' to go' anymore... I just need to remember to empty the bag regularly through the day.
If they asked me if I wanted my bladder back I would now say no. Really I find it just fine.
I ring for supplies whenever I need them to a lovely company in Scotland and they are delivered next day. They couldn't be more helpful and informative. It's a competitive industry so they have to maintain high standards. It's impressive.
Sometimes the bag starts leaking. I have to have spares at all times. It happened tonight when I went up to my friend's for a drink. I sorted myself out in a flash and I was so proud of myself. Only a few months I never thought I was master it- now I doing it all in the blink of an eye.
I hope this post will raise awareness and perhaps give someone confidence in the future. Like anything- it takes a while. If it isn't your cup of tea all this- your probably didn't get to the end of the post. No more medical ones now for a while I promise XX