A Changed Bag


A Changed Bag

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.

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Thank you for sharing about his (and your progress). It is great to hear he and your mom are able to return to some of the things they love to do. And thank you for sharing about something so intimate. I'm sure you have given others courage.


This post really resonated with me, Denise. I remember leafing through the \"what you can expect\" booklet the ostomy nurse gave me and thinking \"Yikes.\" I was worried that I would be too squeamish to clean the area or that I wouldn't cut the hole the right size or that I wouldn't adhere the bag correctly. I remember that I got used to the sight of the bag -- and so did my husband, to the extent that he didn't think twice if it was peeking out from the hem of his shirt. If we had company I would have to gently nudge him to cover up his bag before our \"non-bagger\" visitors caught sight of it and got grossed out. \r\n\r\nThe ostomy days are over, but Michael came home from his recent hospital stay with a new bag, his biliary drain. We have found that it's been a pretty easy adjustment because we already know all the tricks of the \"bag\" trade:) I can appreciate why you and your parents are grateful for what the bag has you. For me Michael's bag is symbolic of how I nearly lost him two weeks ago. Without his bag he would not be here.

Lillie Fuller

This is beautiful Denise. I am so very happy that life is getting back to normal for your parents and also for you. I imagine that no matter what you are doing or where you are at, that bag is always on your mind. This brings peace to all of you. Thank you for sharing.


Oh I feel for you so much. My husband doesn't have a ostomy bag but I have cleaned up plenty of nasty messes that is for sure.