Day 10 – ‘Show and tell’

I’m back! ….. (a collective moan sweeps across tinternet.) ‘But we prefer the ghost writer’ so do I, she’s much better at it than I am. Just to make sure she didn’t get ideas above her station I sent her to the launderette today to clean my smalls

Yesterday was going to happen it was just a matter of time, but when it did it was swift and uncompromising. Without dwelling too much on it it’s worth reflecting on why for others to gain a greater understanding of what to expect.

So….. contributing factors that may lead to physical & emotional burnout:

  • Continued lack of little or no sleep
  • Body adjusting to complete removal of fentanyl (cold turkey)
  • Sudden realisation of magnitude of surgery
  • Coming to terms with both the physical and psychological effects of having a stoma
  • A digestive system that is still coming back to life/adjusting continually around the clock
  • Anxiety and mild depression
  • Back ground pain as a result of the surgery

This manifested itself in me going to shutdown mode, it was like ‘somebody had removed the batteries’ and I became moribund (both physically and emotionally). ‘Black black it’s all black!’ That sort of thing.

Thankfully that morning the pain team visited me and we jointly discussed a different pain relief strategy that would get me through the night. With the absence of the beloved fentanyl and my detailed explanation of ‘where it hurts’ we decided on a radical change of direction towards Buscopan muscle relaxant and a top up of Oramorph as required.

That revised strategy led to a sound night sleep (save for the emptying of my stoma bag at 04:00 and a cheeky pee whilst we are at it)

I tell you you haven’t lived until you have emptied a stoma bag down the loo in the middle of the night 😶.

Footnote on reading this aloud to Mrs C “Obviously never had a period before!” Touché

I have been blessed, hold on I hate that phrase, it’s so overused these days don’t you think? “I am so blessed to have nice teeth” or ” I’m so blessed to have xxxx (enter something equally banal) , so where was I , I have been ‘fortunate’ to have been visited by friends, colleagues & family over the last few days, all of whom have lifted our spirits, taken the p!ss and come bearing gifts from around the world.

Mike Puckett who knows me too well brought ‘some chianti and fava beans’ . this is a reference that those familiar with the classic ‘Silence of the lambs’ will recognise, for those they don’t I AM NOT going to explain it, it’s before the watershed.

Christopher , who not only has been steadfastly visiting nearly every day, but also given Ali the break she needs as well.

On leaving the hospital I am starting up my own business selling wholesale jelly babies, oh yes. In fact I have looked them up on the commodities market and they trade very well again gilts or pork bellies

As we stand I am looking at being discharged on Saturday, this is fantastic, I feel ok about it (yesterday would have been a different view), and there have been various milestones for me to demonstrate before this becomes possible. Some of those have gradually happened anyway:- washing unaided, walking without support, free of all venflon and other paraphernalia.

The biggie for me was ‘ability to change stoma bag without assistance’ – I can tell you I would make any excuse under the sun to avoid this one. Look, having a bit of your intestine coming out through your side is well, just plain freaky. Then you have to clean it free of poo, pop it into a new bag and jobs a goodun for another 2 days (you still have to empty it 4-5 times a day) .

I got rumbled, they new I was stalling , I knew I was stalling . Stoma nurse finally caught me today though…

“I don’t think we have seen you change your stoma yet have we Mr Cowls?” “Ummmmmm no, no you haven’t”, “I’ll come round and check it in an hour, that ok?” It was the push I needed, I went straight back to my room and fashioned a new stoma bag based around the current size of my stoma.

There was a tangible sense of nervousness as I awaited the Stoma nurse at 4 o clock.

On the dot she arrived, In anticipation I laid on the bed offering by unclothed belly for her to see. Like something out of Crufts I was judged, pulling and prodding she eventually broke the silence with “yep, that’s good, very good, will give you 10/10”.

How smug and euphoric was I , another string to my bow- ‘fitter of stomas’.

And that’s it, just the obligatory ultrasound scan of my legs tomorrow and we are homeward bound on Saturday.


The layers of an onion …..


Day 11 – ‘Anne Widdecombe saves the day’


  1. Liam

    Well I am coming down to armada on Monday so if you are settled and are up for a visit it would be great to see you? If not no problem another day. You don’t get off that easy!

    • Simon

      Liam, that sounds good. We’ll converse more on on day just in case anything occurs

      • Liam

        Roger that. Will call you on Monday. Look forward to it if all is well. Don’t feel obliged though.

  2. Tracey HoneyC

    Wow that’s amazing Simon – I’m sure you will recover better at home, in your own bed etc with Florence nightingale at your side xx well done you 🌟

  3. Rosemary and Francis Polglase

    Good to read your update today….just knew you would not be down for long….and what an aim for the weekend a discharge from hospital….especially to be home for a certain birthday (shhh no one has seen I’ve written that)…lots of love to you and your tower of strength wife xx

  4. Pauline williams

    Glad to hear your black sense of humour has returned. It was missed although Ali was a brilliant ghost writer. Just a query, do they call it a stoma because it comes out of your stoma-ch? Answers on a post card please. When you are home and settled I’ll pop down and meet you properly, we’ve only actually met once in tavistock market, unfortunately I was with a dog at the time so it will be nice to see you without the presence of the defriended one! Ali will explain if you dont already know.

    Safe journey home, we’ll put a welcome to Devon sign up for you. Big hugs to Ali. Xx

    • Simon

      Hi Pauline, stoma is the term for any artificial opening made in the body, I.e tracheostomy stoma. Would be great to see you when we get home x

  5. Karen Johnson

    Yay, he’s back in the room 🙂
    Good to hear you’ve been give bail mate. Considering what you’ve been through I think you’re Superman……..I know how you like Lycra so you’ve probably got the outfit 😏

    Rest up, a day at a time.


  6. Karen Anderton

    Ah you DEFINITELY need to write a book! You are making such amazing progress. I have to say though – I for one will never be able to look at Anne Widdicombe without thinking of you now…! 🤣😆😯 Keep ‘up’ the good work Mr C xxx

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