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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hokey-Pokey

I'm feeling all hazy and yucky and nauseated and exhausted from too much pain and from the new meds. I am not sure which med is causing the side effects or if it's just pain and lack of sleep! I'm having trouble sleeping from pain and so my brain is just so shot right now. Hopefully my body will adjust and pull out of this very soon.

However... today was a major milestone in the life of this ostomate.

In June 2011, eight months ago this week, I had surgery to remove my anus (it was sort of like coring an apple - left a 10 cm long, 8 cm deep gaping hole). I was not closed up, but left open to heal from the inside out. I was attached to a WoundVAC for 80 days, underwent dressing changes and wound care three times a week for months, and have been daily caring for the wound on my own, including chemically burning the wound, since late November.

Because of the various dressings and bandages and restrictions, I was supposed to keep the wound area dry. This meant that showers were sort of like doing the Hokey-Pokey. "You put your right arm in, you put your right arm out..." Eventually, I was allowed to shower on the days that I went to wound care. This was three days a week, but it was in the hottest summer Texas has ever seen and my car's AC doesn't really work and believe me, I wanted to shower a whole lot more than I got to. ;) But it was okay - I just didn't get to feel "all the way" clean as often as I wanted to.

The other factor here is that I have Squirt, my ileostomy. You can, of course, shower with an ileostomy appliance. It's not a problem at all, just takes it a little while to get dry if you get the appliance really wet. But on the day that I change my appliance (which is now only every 7-14 days, which is really, really good), I like to be able to take off my appliance and shower without anything on my belly. It feels really good and gets the skin completely clean.

Of course, when I had an open wound, showering without my bag was completely out of the question. Squirt inevitably might "go off" in the shower, and that would be terrible to get waste in my wound. So, for 8 months, I've been unable to shower without my appliance.

Until today! My wound is so almost closed up that it's barely even a wound at all. I got ready to change my appliance and decided I could take a shower. As I stood under the faucet with the water running down my bare belly for the first time in 8 months, with the Hokey-Pokey tune going through my head, I thought:

That's what it's all about.

Hannah ;)

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