How To Resolve A Colostomy Mishap

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A couple of years ago, while working as a nursing assistant at a rehab center for the elderly and the infirm, I had a resident who was suffering from multiple sclerosis and was paralyzed from the neck down. I'll call him Tom. Afternoons with Tom involved reading him the sports page, doing "range-of-motion" exercises to keep his joints pliable, feeding and bathing him, and emptying his colostomy bag as needed.

Once a month, the ride service would show up at two o'clock PM and pick him up to bring him to his doctor's appointment. On one such day, the early afternoon went by with nothing interesting transpiring. We read the sports page and I got him dressed and lifted into his chair to wait for the ride service. While we were waiting, a nurse came in and changed his colostomy bag to a new one, as Tom had been experiencing lots of gas and loose stools lately, and he wanted the bag to be clean for his appointment.

The nurse pulled a new bag fresh from the box, attaching it to his skin with adhesive and clasping the end shut. The van arrived and he was on his way. Twenty-five minutes later he returned, pushed in the door by a flustered ride service driver.

"We need some help!" said the driver. I immediately noticed the scent of human excrement wafting through the door and a pained look on Tom's face.

"We have a slight problem here," said Tom.

Apparently, while picking up another client across town, the driver had moved Tom's chair a bit to make way for the new passenger, causing Tom to shift in his chair and squash his colostomy bag between his body and the wheelchair's arm. This caused the bag to burst and separate itself from the fresh adhesive seal the nurse had applied to his skin minutes earlier. Nobody realized that the man's colostomy bag had become unfixed until the van was filled with the scent of a particularly sloppy BM, which sprayed out of his side. The loose colostomy bag had deflected the glut, making a bigger mess than if there had been no bag at all. Considering the circumstances, the driver high-tailed it back to the rehab center to get rid of this unwelcome passenger.

A nurse came over, assessed the situation, and said, "Bring him to his room and get him cleaned-up."

We got to his room. Tom was already sitting in the sling that gets attached to the Hoyer-Lift to move him from his bed to his chair and back again, so the mess was satcheled in the sling, getting spread around so there was a dark reddish-brown stain from his knees to his chest.

I lifted him into bed and checked out the damage. With the sling now disconnected and limp at his sides, it no longer served as a levy to prevent a flood of shit from running everywhere; and so it did. It ran underneath his body, down his sides, and down between the sections of his air mattress.

A nurse came in after a few minutes to see how things were going, spraying unscented air-freshener everywhere. I don't remember what the stuff was called, but it really was unscented -- it smelled like water, and it really worked well. However, even hospital-grade air-freshener couldn't stand-up to a liter of fresh excrement smeared up and down the length of the bed and sloshing around inside the folds of an air-mattress.

I got my basin of hot, soapy water to the bedside, complete with a stack of fresh, clean wash-cloths. I put on a pair of gloves and got to work. I had to reach down into the folds of the air-mattress, about six inches down, and scoop handfuls of warm, runny, greasy shit out between the folds.

Agitating the puddle of shit made the smell worse. This stuff was fresh, and it smelled salty, somehow. Like, if you didn't know it was shit, you might think it was beef stroganoff or some kind of soup or casserole. (A woman across the hall said later that night that it smelled like Rice-a-Roni.)

The first stack of ten wash-cloths went directly into the garbage -- else I would have been there all day wringing the shit out of them and fetching clean, soapy water. Eventually, after twenty minutes or so, the exposed mattress was clean and wiped-down with disinfectant, as was most of the mess that covered Tom's mid-section. Now the trick was to clean up his back without re-soiling the mattress.

I requested help from another aide. He stood at the opposite side of the bed and reached over and grabbed Tom's opposite arm, pulling Tom's body towards him so he was lying on his side. Generally, cleaning-up someone who can't move themselves is a process of cleaning and re-cleaning the same area over and over, as each area tends to get re-soiled as you move and adjust the resident's position. Also, poop is greasy, and it sticks to skin, preferring to smear around rather than wipe off.

I placed clean towels over the exposed side of the cleaned mattress to minimize the mess and to prevent the shit running off Tom's thighs and back from completely destroying my progress. Five minutes and six washcloths later, Tom's back and left side were clean. Repeating the two-man technique described above, five minutes and six washcloths after that, Tom's right backside was clean. We got clean sheets under him, slipped a clean gown on him, covered him with fresh blankets, and were finally done after a total of forty-five minutes.

A nurse came in to fasten another colostomy bag to Tom's abdomen. We were done, and we hadn't died.

Froty-five minutes spent elbow-deep in another person's shit, trying to move and clean-up a 220-pound guy who can't move by himself. Forty-five minutes spent trying to clean-up a pool of shit, as well as the bed and the person in the bed at the same time, and then affixing new sheets and pads to the mattress WHILE it was occupied. As for the smell -- I couldn't even smell it anymore by the time we left, but residents down the hall were complaining about the odor half an hour later.

That was the day I began to think about quitting.

34 Comments on "How To Resolve A Colostomy Mishap"

Thunderbox's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Snowpea, you`re a braver person than me. This is real Heart of Darkness stuff, "the horror, the horror..."

I`d have bribed the driver to drop Tom off at the nearest carwash.

The voice of sanity

Uncle Crapper's picture
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...and I'm sure you did all of this in a manner giving Tom as much dignity as possible in this shituation. My hat is off to you, sir, and the tens of thousands like you who do this work every day, making far less than they're worth, just so people can live in the dignity they deserve.

BTW - this is much better than that existential shit you posted a couple of days ago.

CC's picture
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I hope there is special place in heaven for all the health care workers.This story should be shown to all the people who think they have to put up with alot of shit.

Logjam's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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Snowpea. Great story. But, my god, to quote Bette Davis, "What a dump!" Cleaning a guy and his bed WHILE he's in his bed? Are you kidding me? Why couldn't you have stripped him down then had a go at him while he was in the Hoyer-lift? No shower stall that you could roll a wheel chair into? Take him outside and hose him off? When you get gum on your shoe, do you try to clean it off with the other shoe?

Logjam

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Wow...flashback time. Thats precisely what I was faced with each day during my dad's final days. I wasn't blessed with any help, but fortunately, Dad only weighed about 170, so rolling him over wasn't too bad. I totally understand what you went through, Snowpea, although my Dad didn't have a colostomy, he was terribly incontinent, and those adult diapers aren't the blissful convenience I had envisioned for my own last days. All that said, taking care of Dad was one of, if not THE, most rewarding experiences of my life.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

prarie doggin's picture
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Snowpea, (you have my permission) if that ever happens to me, just wheel me up to the roof and push me off. I will thank you in advance.

Logjam's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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Since we seem to be in share mode, I'll share my final request -- that some caring snowpea wheel me out onto I-80 and face me east, bringing me eye-to-eye with prarie doggin heading west in his big, ol' semi, pedal to the metal. With my final breath, my teeth will be perfectly straight and I'll be "on the road, again."

Logjam

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Uh...no...you'll be on the grill again. Maybe you don't remember the last time you were on the grill, you did have quite a few Bartyles and James Wine Coolers, but your ass was blistered and scabby for weeks...and I threw away your butt donut several months ago.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

The Thunderous Crapper 63's picture
k 500+ points
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This is why I have a living will. In it I have stated if found to have ANY type of cancer in that area that I am to recieve absolutely NO colostomy bag whatsoever. If it kills me......IT KILLS ME! You can treat it if you want with chemo....NO BAG EVER. And if the pain becomes too much then I will simply draw a hot bath get into the tub slit my wrists and just bleed to death. Now I do NOT want you all to think I believe in suicide but I also do NOT want to NOT HAVE a quality of life which I think would be taken away with a colostomy. No thank you at that point I would want out. I wouldn't BLAME YOU AT ALL snowpea if you quit that day.....
_______
The Thunderous Crapper 63 Enjoying home toilet advantage since 2004!

AHHHHHEMMMMMMMMMM JUST CLEARING MY THROAT!! ;)

prarie doggin's picture
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Sorry LJ, can't help you. Don't drive 'em any more. Just manage a bunch of them. I do however have some fecal-alc-eyed hillbillies that will do the job. I'll just tell them to look for the country music hatin', Nascar hatin', married outside his immediate family (oh and can't hurt to mention the full set of straight teeth) guy in a wheel chair on I80. I'm sure there will be a race to get to you.

Hieronymous Bowels's picture
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Hey pd, not all truckers marry their cousins...some of 'em marry those little mexican girls they bring back across the border with them.

Yo quiero Gordita.

prarie doggin's picture
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Only if they are at least 11 years old and have their brothers permission.

Bilgepump's picture
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Um..."ocho" means 11, right?

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

Logjam's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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Ocho, I think, is the new 16. Prarie, you got it mostly right, but not about the country music. Uh, "On the road, again?"

Logjam

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
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The driver did not tell the truth. That day,unknown to dietary, the residents had conspired to have a treat at White Castle. Poor Tom ordered a sack of sliders and did not anticipate his other "sack" would not hold the
burgers and the onion chips.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Snowpea, I liked your "existential shit".

And this is good, too.

It's all good.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Disgusting! But a good story. It brought back my memories of the time my grandpa shit himself and I was the only one home to deal with it.

He was a good sport and tried to stay quiet, but after the long, drawn-out fart I knew he'd done it. I finally hoisted him to the bathroom and cleaned him up, since there was shit all up and down his back, ass, and legs.

Then I asked him to sit quietly while I cleaned the couch. That took a while because his liqui-shit got all down in the cracks and wrinkles (fucking faux leather). I actually resorted to scooping some of it out of the cracks with my bare fingers!

Finally (after a preliminary hand wash and a few wretches) I was able to hoist him back up and lead him back to his couch. Then I quietly headed to the bathroom to clean under my fingernails.

It really wasn't as disgusting as his spit cup. He died of congestive heart failure and he'd cough up the snot and blood in this cup until it was full to the brim. I usually got someone else to take care of that, reminding them that I was usually the one who changed his diapers and scooped shit out of couches with my bare hands.

I think the worst part about the whole thing was not the grossness but the fact that my grandpa was always such an independent man now reduced to diaper changes and spit cups. Fortunately, he did not suffer too long in that condition. My family and I took care of him for a month or so and then he died. I was happy to see his dignity return in death.

You did a good job there, Snowpea and Bilgepump. Having just a short taste of this sort of thing gives you a real appreciation for those who do it much longer.

_______
Born right the first time.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Colostomy girl's picture
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im 15 and i too have a colostomy bag and NEVER in my 2 years have i experienced such a poo outburst...but when i did my mum was on hand to clear it up or my best friend at school...so thanks you 2!! and well done tom!

Bonycells's picture
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My uncle had a colostomy bag for about a year or so after his operation to remove some cancer from his lower intestines. He has had several accidents while I have been here but fortunately I haven't had to help my aunt with the cleanups directly. I have put up with the smell and the mess in the bathroom though. He always thought it was funny to see how full he could get his poop bag before it would pop loose as he patted on it and then go to empty it. Several times the seal clip would fall off the bag and a couple of times it came unglued as they sometimes do.

One day after a visit to the Dr. he came home wearing hospital surgical gowns. He had let poop flow down inside his pants and filled his shoes. That really embarrassed him and he's been better since. He wore a stretchy girdle to help keep it glued in place. That seemed to work well until he had it removed. He had the Hershey squirts for quite a while until his bowels started acting right again.

Now he has a pee bag that comes out of his back. They nicked one of the ureters from a kidney to his bladder when they reversed the colostomy. The problem now is that he can't seem to empty it on his own without making a mess all over the toilet, seat and lid. It's the main bathroom so I have to use it too. I bought a couple of canisters of 75 disinfectant wipes and put one in the bathroom. He has yet to use the wipes from it. The lid is usually left up with the seat down. I think he leaves the seat down and sprays the urine all over on purpose. He's 79 and getting worse in his carelessness everyday. I complained to my aunt yesterday and I think I'm going to start a daily chart on how badly he's emptied his pee bag and how many times I have to clean up after him.

Well back to the poop. Anyway as a father of two boys I learned in a hurry that boys will be boys and that as men get older they are more like boys all the time. When they had poop accidents I used to just tell them to climb into the shower and pull off their clothes and I'd help them wash off the poop from their bodies with the hand held shower massage. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to clean up poop. Within 5 minutes most messes are cleaned up and 5 minutes after that the boys are freshly showered too, all clean and sweet smelling to boot!

I have even had to do this myself on occasion. One time when I was living somewhere else I had to go and was squeezing my knees tightly together and looking for the house key. It was nowhere to be found so I went to the front door and had to take out the storm door window in order to gain entry into the house. As I was trying to hammer the metal tabs that held the storm door window into place I all of a sudden let loose in my jeans. It was very wet and warm, all the way down to my socks and up to my belt too.

I finished pulling the window out of the door which seemed to take forever and finally made it onto the porch. After jiggling the front door knob for another 5 minutes it finally unlocked and let me in. Boy was I glad that I knew how to do that. I waddled to the bathroom and climbed right into the tub. I removed my shoes and then rinsed them off and set them on the floor. Then I removed my pants and socks, washed off my belt, rinsed off my socks, rinsed off my pants and underwear with the hand held shower and then after taking off my shirt I could finally take a shower. What a mess but the hand held shower saved the day.

After an enema I was cleaned up pretty good and that usually ends the squirts for me.

Obese people should have a hand held shower that will reach to the toilet that can be used to spray off your backside while you are sitting on the toilet. I know when I was my heaviest I couldn't even reach to wipe because of my arthritis and the constriction from being so fat. For me that was 310 lbs. I just can't imagine what 400 lb. people do to wipe after crapping. I know that most/some don't even try and wind up just walking around smelling like an unflushed toilet all day. That is sick. They need to get a hand held shower with a 10 foot hose if need be and after setting the water temp turn off the flow for a few seconds, position the hand held shower head between your legs pointing up at your perineal area and then restart the flow. Work your way back as far as you need to go and flush out all that poop from your bung hole and then sideways to cleanse the cheeks. If it has enough pressure you can usually clean out the rectum too with a couple of squirts and then after expelling that rinse off again and then you just have to dry off with a towel. I've always wanted to get a shower wash soap attachment that puts suds into the shower head but they aren't that easy to find. I know Amway or Shaklee made one a long time ago that worked pretty good but it broke on me and I haven't found another one since. Dry off with a towel or just step into the shower for a through cleaning if you have the time.

One thing that I use here at my aunt and uncle's place a lot is a plant waterer that hooks up to the sink faucet that works almost as well as the hand held shower massage. This works well when I become impacted and can't poop cause it's so dry from all of the pain meds. that I have to take. I heated the long watering wand over the stove and bent it to a 90 degree angle to allow insertion while on the toilet. The stream is not too high to cause any damage as long as I don't squeeze too tightly while sitting taking in the warm water. This helped a lot and worked equally well for diarrhea too. Of course now I take a stool softener each day that I don't have a bowel movement and that helps a lot with the impaction, a full derby as my grandfather's Dr. always called it. As everyone gets older their bowels seem to dry up and then the poop gets impacted. This is a real bung hole expander and I have had rectal bleeding from this too. The water stings a little on a fresh tear but seems to help sooth it after a while. Now when I get the urge to go I usually head to the bathroom immediately or risk making a poop ball inside that is the size of a tennis ball or even a softball at times.

This causes another problem too. The toilet won't flush properly. I have come to the conclusion that I need to break up the ball or large log or both combined before flushing to prevent having to plunge unsuccessfully for a day or so. With 3 of us in the house and the only other toilet in the basement, I use the toilet brush to break it up first then flush. It smells terrible but once I have flushed 2 or three times it's generally a clean flush and the bowl is shiny too!

As for pooping in bed or on the couch a Wet Vac or a Bissel rug and upholstery cleaner is a much needed device for not having to actually scoop poop up off of things. Why do the work that a tool like this is made to do in the first place?

I hope this helps out some of you. It has saved my butt many times. ;-) And I'm quite sure I'll have to do it again and again as I get older too.

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Bony, I think you have managed to address just about every single thread on the site in one post. No worms, little white things, or strange colored poop, but damn near everything else. I am awed.
_______

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

Bonycells's picture
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Well, Bilgepump, I've been saving it all up inside. I do have some personal preferences on ways to use toilet paper, saving techniques to use less sheets, stuff like that but I wasn't sure where to post it. I do hate breakthrough wiping with inferior paper which is why I have been leaning toward bidet style cleanup after pooping. I haven't found the best choice in toilet paper as compared to price so I felt for now that I should have left that out of the post. Thanks for being in awe. I will start saving up for my next post.

Rump Dumplin's picture
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Yikes! Good story. I used to be a CNA and I saw a lot of stuff, but that is horrible! I would have puked while scooping the warm stool out of the cracks of that air mattress. It sounds like you did a great job holding it together, though. KUDOS! Speaking from experience, I can say that you simply do NOT get paid enough for what you do!

_______
Holy Foaming Pipe-Snakes, Batman!

Holy Foaming Pipe-Snakes, Batman!

Blind Mullet's picture
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A note for The Thunderous Crapper-
Dude, please do NOT think about ending your life rather than get a colostomy bag.
I thought that way too, until I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and told that it was either go the bag route, or die.
I've had the life-saving surgery and the bag for about 6 months now, and believe me, its not so bad after all. I still do all the stuff I used to, including motorcycle riding and restoring old cars. And its a whole lot better than the alternative.
Plus, it has its advantages, like I can eat super-hot chili meals without fear of a burnt out o-ring (the stoma has no nerve-endings in it), also I can sneak the gas buildup out of the bag, and it leaves a stench that just hangs in the air. Sort of SBDs on-demand.

...and I just dig being alive.
_______
The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Blind Mullet......Your attitude is inspirational. I have a few problems, one of which requires me to insert a urinary catheter several times a day. The first insertion was the hardest because I was going where I had never gone before. After a few times it is easy and you are no longer hesitant when it comes time to stick a plastic tube up your willie. Life is great and I still enjoy it immensely. I have a travel kit which includes a sterile catheter and a tube of lube which I carry on trips that will be of several hours duration. SBDs on demand sound like good entertainment to me.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Dildo Baggins's picture
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What a hilarias story. Too bad Tom is paralized from the neck down...you couldn't even give him a hand-job to make him feel better._______
Here I sit, my cheeks a flexin' , trying to give birth to another Texan!!

Look out for Number 1, but don't step in Number2

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Actually...... many quadriplegics get boners, have sex, and can feel wang sensation very well. According to one of my best friend, who is paralyzed from the chest down, the higher up the injury to the spine, the better chances that the wang responds. Imagine that!


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

fellow PAW's picture
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OMG! that SUCKED! im a nurse aid too and have to change colostomy bags. ugh. stinks worse than the most unholy stink ever in the whole world. ugh. so gross and i feel your pain. i hope it never happens to me. and as i side note. shaving cream (yes its crazy the regular mens stuff dont get fancy) will get poop off quick,easy and leaves a nice clean smell in its place.

lauren54's picture
l 100+ points
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My father had colon cancer that spread to his liver and some other vital organs. My family tells me he had two colostomy bags. Thank god I couldn't see the way he went, because I wouldn't have liked to have being described to me the way in which he had to be cleaned up if god forbid something similar happened to him. However all that aside I am no stranger to shituations both inflicted on myself and those I cared about. The ones in which I was the shitter aren't really worth telling because being blind it would be difficult to describe them in a way that would be well interesting to you folks. However, shituations involving people that are unable to move now, there is something that I can identify with. My friend Jessica who I told you about in a post on the forum was the shitter in several of them and I don't know how she coped. I'm almost glad she was too far gone to realize what was happening to her in as much the same way as I'm glad that my father may he rest in peace never knew what was happening to him. "I'll shit when I please, not when you tell me to." Nelson Mandela

Everything comes down to poo.

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
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Regardless of the verashity of this story, one musct count their blessings to be able to use a stool and not a bag.

Anal_girl's picture
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This is why I had my ileostomy reversed and just DEAL with the colonic dysmotility. My will also states NO OSTOMY UNDER ANY CERCUMSTANCES!! If I die, I die but I do not believe in removing what god gave me:)

Deja Poo's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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If anybody deserves 72 virgins to greet and serve them in the after-life, it would be you, snowpea. Great story.
_______
Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Deja ... I would prefer by far to be met and serviced in the afterlife by 72 seasoned and somewhat aggressive sluts and strumpets. Give me experience over purity.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

snowpea's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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fellow PAW: Kudos to another assistant!

I hope everyone realizes that despite my description of the smell and work involved in cleaning-up a paraplegic with a burst colostomy bag, the intention of my story wasn't necessarily to convey how disgusting another person's shit is, (and by extension, our own, after all, we are all "other people" to anyone else). But also how humiliating it must be to lose control of this bodily function.

Most of us worry about cutting a fart in the elevator, or having our bowels gurgle loudly during an office meeting, but when it's end game, and all bets are off, this is small poo-tatos..

Twice, as an N.A., while the person I was cleaning-up went on and on, face beet red, frustration mounting and apologizing for the smell in the room while I was cleaning their excrement from them, I managed to cut a fart of my own, saying: "There. Now we don't know wether it was you or me."

This IMMEDIATELY put these people at ease, usually causing some laughter and reflection. after all, I was right. Shit is shit. I fart and shit too. Not in a colostomy or iliostomy bag, (and colostomy bags smell worse than iliostomy bags), but I have the benefit of (mostly) deciding the time and place.

They felt what ANY of us would feel: They felt embarrassed. They felt ashamed and frustrated that their bodies weren't working the way they wanted them to; The way they were told as toddlers that their bodies were supposed to work. Oftentimes, their families, children and grandchildren, were visiting, and they would wait outside as we cleaned them up.

If you are fortunate to live long enough, this is what awaits most of us: Perfect strangers tending to your most basic needs and wiping-up your shit and other bodily fluids from your bed and body.

Tom took it all is stride. He was a good friend, he was my best friend there. He loved sports. I once asked him over dinner what he missed most about being mobile, and he said: "Taking showers whenever I want." -and he wasn't talking about clean-the-shit-off-yourself showers. He meant the long, hot, Tuesday-night showers you take after dinner in the middle of January with that seasonal Lavender soap they sell, for no other reason other than to feel your muscles relax from the cold, hot water running down your back, knowing that your significant other was making popcorn in the kitchen and getting the t.v. warmed-up for that episode of "american Idol" or whatever.

"Tom" is real, as are the events described, and my experience and time with him goes beyond this story.

His poop stunk, just like mine.

Anonymous's picture
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In this story the guy was paralyzed and did not know he had a leak, nor could he change it on his own. Most people with an ostomy who have a leak notice it and change it on their own within minutes. I understand people who feel they'd rather die than get a bag, and that is their decision. Most people feel that way and have the freedom to continue feeling that way so long as they are not faced with an illness which really forces their hand. But as someone with an ostomy it is hard to constantly see that. People are basically saying "An ostomy is so disgusting that we'd rather die than have one." Ostomies and people with ostomies are not disgusting. We are just like everyone else, and nobody knows the ostomy is there unless we want to tell them. It is a bit exhausting trying to combat all the misinformation and stigma surrounding ostomies, but it is something that is important, not just for our own self-esteem, but also to educate people so that they don't give up and die because of the negative crap they hear from people who know nothing about what is like to live with an ostomy.