If you know me, you know that I am environmentally conscious (to say the least). I recycle EVERYTHING! Clothes, cardboard boxes, even scrap paper- I can see the future usability in almost anything. In fact, if you live in my home town you may see me riding my bike and stopping to fill my basket with cans and bottles to recycle when I get home.
This is why it has been so hard for me to ask for plastic bags at the grocery store. I was always a bring-your-own-bag kind of girl, but since living with an ileostomy I have needed the plastic grocery sacks to use when I change my bagging system. It is a great, mess free trick that my ostomy nurse shared with me after my first surgery. I just tuck the bag into my waist band and throw all the trash into it as I change my wafer. The best part about it is that the bag is there to catch any output that may come unexpectedly. The “unruly bag change,” as I refer to it, is just a part of ostomy life and it is always better to be prepared when it comes to ostomies.
I don’t want to freak anyone out by showing a full bag change, but I do have some photos that will better help everyone understand what I am talking about when I say “I have to change my bag.”
First, I set out everything I need on the table. I know that some people lie down or stand up when changing their bag, because you want your abdomen to be as flat as possible when you stick the wafer to your body. I like to remove the old wafer then measure and cut the new one while sitting down, but I stand up to stick the new wafer on.
Supplies pictured left to right: 1. Band-aid, used to cover my laparoscopic incision site to keep the wafer from rubbing and irritating the site.
2. Medicated powder, used when needed on irritated skin under the wafer.
3. Anti-sting spray, used when needed to keep the wafer from irritating the skin.
4. Fresh Ostomy Bag
5. Ostomy Scissors, used to cut the wafer to fit my stoma.
6. Barrier Ring, used to get a secure seal around the stoma.
7. New Wafer
8. Ostomy Pen, used to trace cut out pattern on the new wafer.
9/10. Measuring Pattern/Tracing Pattern, used to measure my stoma (after surgery it shrinks dramatically and needs to be measured periodically to make sure the I get a good seal around my stoma.
11/12. Paper Towels/Gauze, used to wipe off any excess stickiness (or unruly output).
13. Adhesive Remover, helps get the old wafer off without pulling and hurting my skin (I love these things!).
14. A small dish a water, used to wet the paper towels and gauze when needed (I like to wet them as I go because I never know how many I will need).
Here I am modeling the plastic bag.