Following my recent stay in a mental hospital I am now temporarily staying at my parents. This throws up some issues of it’s own but when it comes to my ileostomy it comes with some spanners to throw in the works. Some of you maybe able to relate to these if you have stayed at family or friends at any point after your stoma surgery. For those that can’t relate maybe it is something to keep in mind for stays with family or friends in the future.
The first thing is trying to find somewhere easily accessible and private to store my supplies. Now of course everyone in the house or that comes to the house knows I have an ileostomy. Ultimately it isn’t an issue that I may need to take myself off to go to the toilet more frequently or that I may need extra time to change my bag. I don’t like the idea of keeping the bits and bobs in the bathroom but I have limited space in my bedroom which I share with my 5-year-old niece but that is another point. So, I constantly have to think ahead which at the moment is quite exhausting mentally and I don’t have much mental energy as it is!
So, I mentioned that I am sharing a room with my niece; we are sleeping in a bunk bed and most of my leaks happen during the night which is frustrating as I have to maneuver coming down from the top bunk in the dark with a sleeping child underneath and a dog on the floor isn’t easy! I also have to think about where the bedding or my clothes are, then popping them in the wash. By this point I have two different sized dogs pottering around under my feet and irritating each other! Then I have to take my rubbish outside and round the back of the house and trying to get the dogs back in and in their own rooms with as little barking as possible!
I am still waiting to hear about when I have my refashion surgery on my ileostomy; I still have access to my mail from the family home but my worry is where will I be to recover after my surgery. I most certainly wont be able to get in and out of a top bunk! Then there is having to relearn how to care for my new stoma and what products work or wont work as everything I have at the moment is convex and I probably will have to go back to a flat bag. There is also the worry of which hospital I will go to as the local hospital I prefer has been downsized and repurposed, the sister hospital is incredibly busy and also overstretched as it has become a regional hospital.
I have to decide whether it is worth changing the address with my delivery company or just leave it as it is and have Steven bring them when they arrive. I don’t want to have a surplus of supplies that I may not need in the coming months. Some delivery companies will deliver to temporary addresses if you get in touch with them and some even offer deliveries abroad if needed. I am finding a lot of these decisions to be annoying and requiring effort that I could be putting into other things. For instance, I am 20 miles away from my doctor’s surgery; now I don’t often need to see my GP and I can talk to them on the phone but I worry about should I change to a local one. But then when it comes to medication or prescriptions, I have medical teams I can get in touch with for that so I probably will leave it as it is for now.
The main thing that I need to focus on is my mental health right now and getting to a point where I can move forward and get better. These little spanners are weighing a lot heavier on my mind than they probably should be and things will probably fall into place as other areas in my life settle down although that could take months. I may need to get in touch with my stoma nurse and discuss some options as she is fantastic at being logical and down to earth.
If you find yourself in situations like I have whether they are just out of bad luck or things out of your control it may seem like the end of the world or frustrating depending on how you deal with things in your life. First of all, take a deep breath and calm your nerves down and make a list of the reasons that are causing you grief, then order them into levels of importance. From here you can start thinking of ways that can alleviate some of the stress; some maybe really quite simple but due to emotions running high you might not have thought about it sooner. Next make a list of anybody you may need to ring to help you such as delivery companies, stoma nurses or even friends and family. Work your way through the list making adjustments or making necessary phone calls or emails and then see what is left on your list. If there is anything else on the list look and see if they were linked to other items on there and maybe resolved in time. I have often found working like this to be not just beneficial for my physical health but my mental health too; which in turn makes life easier for those around me.