Where Your Short-Term Memory Totally Breaks and You Forget Everything You Just Read

So, this is the post that dare not speak its name: Oscar. Or more specifically, Oscar the Pouch. I'm going to give you the general rundown, then we will never speak of it again.

The surgery I had took out my rectum, forming an alternative reservoir out of the last stretch of my colon. I think this is referred to as a j-pouch, but it also refers to surgeries that take out the whole colon, so I won't use that term here.

The new plumbing is pretty bruised, so they reroute my business for that to heal (and during chemo, since apparently the trots are epic) via an ileostomy, which is like the better known colostomy, but it comes off of the end of my small intestine.

So yeah, I have a shitbag hanging off of the right part of my stomach. It's about as foul as it sounds, but fortunately I didn't cry the moment I saw it, probably because I had tortured myself with pictures of stomas prior to surgery.

Right, so a stoma is the external opening of my internal guts. What they do is they pull my intestine out of my stomach, then turn it back on itself like a turtleneck, stitching it to my abdomen.

Once the old bag is taken off (a pretty foul and painful process), I clean up the area, cut a a hole in the wafer (which is like a gasket) to size, caulk the wafer, put it over the stoma (aka Oscar), then snap a new bag on the wafer.

During the whole process, I have to hold gauze over Oscar's face so he doesn't get too...chatty (ileostomies are constantly running).

It's disgusting, I hate it, I can't wait until it's gone, but it helped to save my life and will probably save me some stress during chemo.

I've only changed the bag on my own once, and that was under the supervision of a home visiting nurse, who was super nice and knew just the right things to say. Example:

"You are doing a great job, you're doing this exactly right..."
"How did you know I was an approval-seeking perfectionist?"
She also said that she knew I was going to be ok when I would waive her off, telling her to let me do something myself.
"You know how many people tell me to let them do it themselves? None."
So yeah, that felt good and totally boosted my confidence about This Whole Thing. Feeling like a hostage to potential leaks pretty much sucks.

So Oscar--everybody, everybody--Oscar.

Now let's all do the socially polite thing and pretend that this conversation never. Happened.


Anonymous said...

What conversation? Who's Oscar?

A. said...

what? did you say something?

Sugarmouth O'Riordan said...

Huh? Who are you guys? Where am I?