Friday, 28 January 2011

It's the bladder post- you thought I forgot?

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


Bragger said...

I love your positive outlook. And I'm glad you have managed to cope with your situation. You are my hero!

Renie Burghardt said...

Well, I learned quite a lot from this post. Urostomy bag. Interesting. And you are handling it so well, which is a very good thing. I think one can get used to anything new and unfamiliar, if one has to. Living life is the most important thing. Bless you, dear Jo!



Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, Jo. This is such a positive post on a NOT positive situation.
I am so proud of you, how far you have come and how much you have acclimated yourself to your new life. It just shows, that we can DO anything we need to do.
You give me (and others) hope....little (or big) implications in life can be lived through.
The best to you and your lovely family.

Jacqueline said...

I absolutely admire your positive attitude and sharing how well you can adapt. This was so uplifting for me. Give yourself a hug from me to you!!!

karen gerstenberger said...

You are very brave, resilient, adaptable, and have been through so much. I'm grateful that the stoma and the bags are working well for you. Thank you for your willingness to share all of this - it will certainly help someone else. You would be a wonderful teacher or advocate, if you ever decided to do so. With clarity and gratitude, you make it seem so do-able!

Maggie May said...

Many thanks for writing this post. I think it helps to know what might. or might not be lurking in the future for us.
I am glad that you are getting the hang of it and it has given you the freedom to do what you want.
As you say..... it is by far better than the alternative and completely liveable with.
Hope you don't have to pay a ,assive amount for the bags though.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

Lovely positive post. As a nurse I looked after urostomy Pts but never heard from them after they went home. Very glad you're keeping well. It sounds like everyday is better than the last health wise now. Your strength is inspirational.

Irritatingly Optimistic said...

You learn something every day!

I loved how you said you'd not want to have your bladder back - it sounds like a new gadget that everyone should have to make life much easier! I know I have to watch how much I drink when out doing a lot of driving or I could get caught short. This would be a great solution.

I will now be much more patient in the ladies loo too.

Lakeland Jo said...

It's ok Maggie. I get every single bit of stoma stuff I need free on prescription. I don't pay for anything. If I did it would be a huge amount every month I fear. I just love our NHS

Lakeland Jo said...

Folks thanks so much for all your kind and encouraging remarks XX

Bernie said...

Wonderful informative post and I am so glad to read you are doing so well and have mastered this life saving device. Good for you, you are an inspiration.....:-)Hugs

Snowdrop said...

Very educational. My Nan had a colostomy and a catheter. (not sure if that's spelt correctly. I remember as a kid how scary this all seemed and couldn't imagine as a much younger adult what i'd do if this occurred.

I guess procedures have changed (that was in the 70's (not so young adult!!!)) but education hasn't. Well done for being a leading light.