Sunday, January 29, 2012


     Accidents can happen when you have a colostomy bag, especially if the adhesive bothers your skin, which was Wayne’s problem.  Even paper tape caused his skin to break out into a rash.  You can imagine how it could itch with tape in a large circle, holding a colostomy bag in place.  He scratched and sometimes picked at the adhesive, which broke the seal, and a mess resulted.
     Another problem is that sometimes you get a bad tube of adhesive.  One day the nurse called from the dialysis center to tell me to come over to the hospital and bring the supplies to change Wayne’s colostomy.  It had come loose and he was a mess.  The colostomy nurse was out and they needed help fast.  Of course, they didn’t want everything to be contaminated in the center.  I took all the new products that I needed, including a complete change of clothes for him.  He was embarrassed, but the nurses at the center only called him Stinky for a little while.  They had a good sense of humor and turned it into a little joke.  I’ll bet the rest of the patients in the center were glad to see me come to the rescue.  It didn’t smell very good in there, but I brought my deodorizer and saved the day.
     It isn’t fun and games, but it helps when you can laugh at an unfortunate situation.  The nurses in the dialysis center are a great bunch and they have to cope with a lot of strange problems.  Some of the patients get agitated during dialysis and the staff has to deal with the situation, sometimes by medicating the patients.  After all, they are forced to sit or lay on a gurney for three to four hours while keeping their arm still.  It isn’t easy.  Dialysis affects people differently, so the nursing staff has to be on the lookout for all types of behavior.
     They try to make it as pleasant as possible, by having a television in front of each patient with earphones so that the other people aren’t disturbed.  But it is a long time to stay still. Some of the patients simply sleep through the whole procedure...that
is the best way.  Whatever way they handle it, it is not fun for them.  However, the nurses always deal with every situation with a smile.
     Wayne was doing pretty well, but he hated his colostomy bag.  He asked the doctor if he could have it reversed. We conferred with two other doctors and decided to get the job done.  In June, he was preparing for the surgery when we had a terrible accident with the colostomy.  Wayne had to go in for a colonoscopy before having his colostomy reversed.  He was required to drink a nasty solution, Colyte, to clean out his intestines so that they could do the colonoscopy.  He hated it.  It tasted horrible, and besides that, he was required to drink a gallon of it.  Well, we thought at least he didn’t have to worry about sitting on the commode for hours.
     All was well until an hour after he started to drink the solution.  I was waiting patiently for my job to begin, when he yelled for help.  His colostomy was leaking, and boy was it leaking.  All over the bed, his clothes, the floor, and it wouldn’t stop because of the medication.  I have never had such a mess in my life.  It was hard to try to change the bag, when the solution wouldn’t stop running out of the tube.  I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t see.  But, then he stopped drinking the solution and there was a break.  I hurried to change the bag. It was a race and I was laughing all the time.  It reminded me of I I Love Lucy, when she was trying to wrap chocolates and the conveyor belt kept speeding up.  What a mess!  We have laughed about his incident many times, especially when we are telling our friends about my adventures in caregiving.  At least we can still laugh about it.

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