It's Okay. Oops, It's Not. Ah, Yes It Is

Denise
beach-677785_640We're closing out my dad's first week home. Just when I think we're doing okay, we hit a snag.

Visiting nurses come regularly to help my dad manage his ostomy bag as well as to train us on how to change it. My mom and I watch closely as the nurse shows us what to do; my dad won't look.

Yesterday, we had our follow-up appointment with the surgeon. Before we left the house, my dad noticed his bag had leaked. When we got to the doctor's office, it leaked again so the resident changed the bag.

The surgeon prescribed a diuretic for my dad, whose feet are still swollen. Both the surgeon and the resident talked about the diuretic. I made a mental note to remind my dad he will have to change his bag more often after he takes the diuretic. (Of course, it would have been great if either the surgeon or resident had reminded him.)

But I completely forgot. I wanted to attend my niece's first track meet so focused on leaving on time to make her meet.

At about 8 p.m. last night, my mom called to me to help--my dad's bag had leaked. Actually, it had flooded. We called his visiting nurse to ask for help. After getting my dad cleaned up, it looked like the leaking had stopped. My dad didn't realize how quickly his bag would fill after taking the diuretic so didn't empty it until it began to just flood.

The nurse said she would come out if it was still leaking. I poked and prodded the bag, with the nurse's prompting, as my dad laid on the couch. It seemed all was okay so we decided to just call her in the morning if the bag leaked at night.

Sure enough, the bag leaked throughout the night so my parents had a long, restless night. The nurse arrived at about 8 this morning and used a different bag which seems to work better. She explained that once the bag leaks, it will continue to leak. I'm not sure why she didn't explain this to us last night because she really should have just come last night. Oh, well, now we know.

When the nurse arrived this morning, my dad had just finished a shower. I could hear him talking to her in the bathroom: "Okay, I'm going to look at this thing." So, for the first time, he looked at his stoma, the new hole which removes the urine from his body.

He then moved into the bedroom, readying for the bag change. He laid on the bed and then asked me for a mirror. He held the mirror to look at the stoma and watched the nurse make the change. As she prepared the supplies, he held a paper towel over the stoma to collect the urine. In essence, helped.

It was a long night but the morning brought a breakthrough. My dad finally made peace with his enemy.

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