As I write the start of this I am currently sat in the waiting area of the stoma clinic waiting for my turn with the nurse.
I was doing ok on the old coping scale, really good in fact then I picked up a copy of ‘IA Journal’ (Iliostomy association). All quite good and informative so far, and then there was an article by a lovely woman who had a temporary stoma which ended up being permanent.
‘Ah’ I thought, will that be me? You see her story was very familiar to mine. I put down the journal. Trying desperately to dispel the negative thoughts from my head I picked up the one newspaper that was amongst the various medical aids pamphlets.
The front page was devoted to Bill Turnbill, poor Bill I know how he feels.
One thing that anyone with cancer will tell you is that you cant escape it. No matter how hard you try there is always a reminder lurking somewhere, whether its the endless adds for Cancer Research or MacMillan that put you ‘back in the room’ with realisation of your situation. I feel churlish saying this as both organisations further the cause, and through curative research/extended care make lives better for many thousands each year.
My god, 5 weeks ago today I was having my op. 5 weeks ago we drove up in the car on the Sunday and discussed my funeral arrangements in the event that I didn’t make it through the op.What the hell is this all about?, at the beginning of December we were looking forward to Christmas and I was thinking about the work challenges and things I wanted to achieve in 2018.
Thankfully my spell of maudlin was soon interrupted by this lovely little face popping around the door to the Stoma clinic – “Simon”
With that I clicked into bright and breezy mode and preceded into the beautifully stocked and laid out treatment room. I like this room, lots of neatly labelled cupboards with the various contents bulleted on the labels. Various posters of ‘stoma misdemeanours adorned the free spaces of wall, free spaces that didn’t have those plastic storage bins on them that would look equally at home in the back of a BT van (and my garage).
I didn’t know what quite to expect from today, of course the lovely lady would want to look at Little Simon, and I was assuming that she was going to measure him, I was not to be disappointed.
“How do we want to do this?” I enquired, I mean I’m independent don’t you know. This enquiry was not entirely unfounded as I was to learn that some people who have yet to come to terms with the stoma will just lay down and let the nurse remove the bag and do ‘what ever she has to do’. I wasn’t having any of that.
Before the delightful lady had time to put on a disposable apron and gloves I had commenced the process of removal the old bag at the sink as was in full flow withe cleaning routine of little Simon.
“Let em have a quick look a minute she said” – as she got down with her eye level almost level with little Simon. Suddenly the unguarded little Simon was staring her in the face.
She is either brave,experienced or lives dangerously I thought. You are a better man than I am Gunga Din. (Another phrase that will shortly be disbanded in to the PC dustbin of history)
Thankfully and fortunately the viewing passed without a messy ending.
“Mmmmm does it hurt at all?”
“Yeh, I wanted to talk to you about that”
“Have a look you have a slight prolapse, which looks a bit angry”
Ordinarily this would be a cause for concern for most individuals, but for me (who had convinced himself that gangrene had set in) this was a sigh of relief.
“Il give you an interface ring to take up the prolapse, and you are over estimating your girth”
Schoolboy tittering breaks out with me , discretion is the better part of valour and my thought of ‘Men overstimulation their girth, that would never happen’ stayed as a thought without the neurones converting it into speech.
Truth be told I was worried that cutting the stoma aperture too small would strangulate Little Simon.
“You want it tight, you see if there’s a gap the faecal matter will get to your skin and you don’t want that, you’ll get nappy rash”
We fitted the new (correctly sized) bag and sat down for a whole hour and discussed ‘poo’ .
How is this possible? I mean what is there to say? – well , loads actually. Jane was brilliant , I don’t think she was prepared for University Challenge but I certainly got my monies worth, and came away with some new toys to play with.
My discussion about getting back on my bike prompted the receipt of several variants of ‘bag supports’. Resembling something akin to a primitive women’s panty liner strap it is nevertheless a vital pieces of kit that gives that added assurance when undertaking exercise and prevents one from being expelled from the gym for spraying other fee paying customers in excrement.
My self congratulatory fitness achievement was slapped around the chops firmly today on getting to the clinic. Doing the ‘stairs’ option as opposed to the lift I walked the 6 flights to the floor where the stoma clinic was housed, this route which I had undertaken many times before without event was on this occasion more challenging. On reaching the 6 floor there was a distinct pause, collecting of breath, before moving on.
Anaerobic exercise it is for me then. I will need all the lung and heart capacity I can get get before I start chemo. Another entry for my boo of chores.
Tomorrow… It’s enema time