This morning I had an appointment at the hospital with the stoma nurse. This time I saw Nita, one of the senior nurses, who had helped us so much in the early days before and after my surgery. She is so kind, helpful, friendly and efficient!
She said it was a good idea to keep an eye on me periodically, although I am doing so well and no longer need regular scheduled appointments. I told her the GP had diagnosed a hernia, and as soon as she looked at me on the examination couch, she confirmed this and said it was clearly visible.
We took Kermit’s bag off, and her first reaction was, “You’ve got textbook skin! Whatever you are doing, keep on doing it!” This was very encouraging!
She asked what I was using, and we got Kermit’s handbag out and spread out the stuff – adhesive removers, barrier wipes, etc. She was interested that I was using Trio flange extenders – she asked how I liked them, and I told her they were the best – so thin and flexible, and almost invisible once in place. She said that in the clinic they hadn’t been terribly impressed with Trio but I had to disagree and said I absolutely loved their stuff. She could see that my whole kit was clearly working well for me.
She asked if I’d be prepared to come in again if she called me, because they were preparing some kind of booklet about stoma care (for training purposes, I think) and they were hoping to have a series of photographs showing how bad/good skin could be, and my skin around Kermit was so good that we’d be used for the example of the best skin! So Kermit is going to be famous. When I told them on Camp Crappy (the stoma forum on Inspire) I had some very amusing replies about this, saying that if Kermit was asked to autograph the book, things might get a bit messy! Someone suggested that he could seek fame in other directions, for example “Maybe future gigs at stoma conventions, or guest appearances on Stomas Got Talent and Dancing With The Stomas?” Ha ha! I just hope all this fame doesn’t go to Kermit’s head.
We spoke a bit about Miss Piggy, and when I told her the hernia was Kermit’s new friend and was called Miss Piggy, she said, “That’s hilarious!” I said that the GP had agreed with me that the problem may have been caused by, or at least exacerbated by, the fact that I have to strain every time I pee, because of the nerve damage to my bladder from the chemo – I told her I was still retaining up to 20 percent which has to be forced out. She agreed with the GP’s assessment that there was less risk to my health in managing Miss Piggy with support, rather than going down the route of self-catheterisation with its high risk of infection. These things are a balancing act, and choosing the path of least risk. She said that Miss Piggy shouldn’t present me with too much of a problem and that adequate support was the way to go.
We moved on to talk about support in more detail. I told her the GP was happy to prescribe whatever support garments I needed, and she agreed – she also agreed with what one of her colleagues had said some time ago, that I could go online and approach the company myself – I said this would save them time and work. I said that I had already contacted CUI and that they would be phoning me with an appointment for someone to call at our home to measure and fit me properly. She said that at present the local rep was off sick, and that someone was having to come down from London, which meant that she needed to collect enough appointments to make the trip worthwhile, and she’d find somewhere to stay for a few days while she got round to everyone, so I may have to wait a bit longer than usual.
She said that they now had an arrangement with this company, CUI, and had regular clinics with their rep there at the hospital. My hubby said wouldn’t it be easier for me to come in to be seen, but Nita said it was fine for them to do it at home. I think this is better – it saves us the hassle of going out, and it also frees up their appointment slots for others, who may need additional support from the staff on hand in the clinic. Nita agreed.
As we left, Nita said it was so nice to see us guys again, and wished us well. I came away feeling very well cared for and affirmed.
Only occasional pain from Miss Piggy, and I am trying to be careful when coughing, lifting, etc.