A Changed Bag

Denise

A Changed Bag

Denise
prairie-679014_640When my mom and I received training in the hospital to change my dad's ostomy bag, I think we both thought, "We are in way over our head!!"

Since my dad's return home from the hospital about a month ago, my mom and I each have changed the bag twice. I changed my dad's bag twice because of leaks--once before bed and once on a Sunday afternoon. During the changes, we remained calm, with each of us taking on certain tasks. My mom cleans and dries the area while I cut the bag so it fits and then place it on my dad. My mom has since changed the bag because of an early morning leak and then to practice with the visiting nurse.

One of my mom's service clubs hosted a luncheon on Saturday that we both attended. My dad asked my mom to prepare a bag for him just in case he needed to change it during our absence. Although he had no problems while we were gone, we were thrilled that he wanted to be ready, just in case.

My dad played poker with his buddies on Friday afternoon. My parents attended a play on Sunday and then enjoyed dinner out with friends. They're getting ready to meet one of my nieces for lunch today and plan to make one of my nephew's baseball games this weekend. The return of routines brings with it a sense of normalcy. And, certainly the ability to plan gives a feeling of hope.

Before his operation, my dad shed tears of fear. Would he make it through the surgery? With the surgery behind him, I have yet to see him shed tears for what he's lost. For so many years, he was determined to keep his bladder. "I came into the world with it," he told my mom, "and I'm leaving with it."

He continues to focus on his well-being, walking up and down the stairs in the house and around the block in our neighborhood. While he has yet to change it, he cares for his bag, checking it and sometimes fussing over it.

We're grateful for what the bag, which seemed so scary, gives us--more days with my dad. I think my dad feels that same blessing, which is why the dreaded bag now seems like a godsend. Leaks and all.