Wear your most trusted ostomy appliances
We all see new products come out and want to try them, ending up with boxes of samples which in theory should be trialled and used for a good amount of time to ascertain if they are the right products for you. I am one for enjoying the ritual of getting something new to try and appreciating the packaging and work that has gone into it. When companies ring me I feel lucky to be given the opportunity to receive them. For a day out I always make sure I take my core products, the ones I have trusted and used again and again.
My love for Pelican Healthcare as a company and for their products started when Jake was born, and was solidified when I had my surgery with their excellent service and support when using their products. The release of the Pelican ModaVi has been enjoyed by so many of you, and it is wonderful to see your posts on social media making the most of its aesthetically pleasing style and excellent functional ability in equal measure.
Wear an outfit that makes you feel the most confident and secure. Take away the chance of your brain overthinking with worry and anxiety the best you can, so you can enjoy your day. Nothing ruins a day out more than waiting for something bad to happen. The first few day trips post surgery, I remember feeling the same, not fully trusting my new stoma that it would cooperate and behave on the day. For the days I’m not feeling 100% secure in this, I don’t eat big meals but eat little and often, and as little fibre as possible to avoid the chance of leaking from excessive output or having a blockage.
Pack with purpose
I was the first to overpack and say I NEEDED it. When it came to just my little one having a stoma, I used to take everything but the kitchen sink. It wasn’t until we settled into our new normal when leaving hospital that I slowly but surely learnt what I needed and what I was taking to make me feel better. For this I would say if you can and it makes you feel better take what you want. But I will say as soon as I packed more functionally, it was amazing how much easier getting around was and how much my back thanked me for it! Finding products that take up little space and can be recycled when out and about is my goal. The latest product release by Respond Healthcare, the 3 in 1 REFRESH, is an adhesive removed, barrier film and a fresh linen spray. This little can of gold removes two products from your stoma care kit which is singing to my ears!
Hydration is key as we all know and am reminded of on the daily. When asking my consultant how much water I need a day they gave me a guide of between 10 and 12 glasses a day, but said they can never give a true range as it is uncertain exactly how much is absorbed and the rate at which you drink also affects how well you absorb. With no large intestines who’s primary job is to absorb water it is even more critical for me to drink little and often, allowing the small intestines who’s had to take on my large intestines job, to do it at the best of its ability.
Ensure friends and family know of the key signs for dehydration or anything else that you are vulnerable of experiencing when leaving the house for a day. I know for me I go very tired, quiet, I feel drained and I look pale. My boys always say its easy to know as I don’t usually stop talking so being quiet is an easy signal to them! An increased thirst, dry mouth, dark or decreased urine output and stomach cramps can also be the bodies way of telling you. If your output has increased you are at risk of loosing essential electrolytes sodium and potassium. Diorylyte and sports drinks are quick ways to start replenishing what you may have lost. On a hot day when you are out in the sun you will perspire more causing more fluids to be lost, so ensure you bring the appropriate snacks and drinks to keep on top of it.
Do your research
Since having a baby ostomate I have always researched the places we are going first. I want to make sure there are suitable facilities that have the space to allow me to do bag chances and administer medication. The environment should have the space for me to prepare a clean sanitary area which in many cases they can’t possibly be unless people cleaned them every 30 minutes. I used to get so upset and frustrated when I used facilities that weren’t this way, and couldn’t understand why they can be advertised as disabled toilet yet weren’t useable. Now I ensure I know what I am walking into before hand and take mats that I can lay down if needed. Puppy training pads are great for this but is not the most environmentally friendly solution so a wipeable table cloth cut down to size would be a great alternative. Make sure to follow the Be The Change campaign with Pelican Healthcare and Respond Healthcare where we are working hard to change signage to be inclusive of all disabilities and needs, invisible or not. It is signage like this that make accessing these facilities less triggering for those of us with an invisible illness, that have experienced negativity and ignorance from others.
It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, accidents still happen that are out of our control for anyone out there, but I hope these tips can help alleviate any anxiety that you may have to help towards having the best days out!
Take care, Rach
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