How often have members of ostomy groups said that having an ostomy is no worse than wearing false teeth? Non-ostomates often laugh at this and can’t believe that we are being honest.
False teeth? Everyone dreads the day that teeth must go and an expensive set of “false choppers” replaces them. But think of false teeth as the equivalent to that “awful surgery?” Never!
Well, before folks feel so sorry for us ostomates, let’s look at the similarities. Everyone would prefer to keep his own teeth—or his own colon or bladder. Wearers of false teeth try to pretend their teeth are real—many ostomates hide their surgery. A big problem is keeping false teeth in place—same way with ostomy appliances. No one wants the “click” of teeth to be heard—ostomies may gurgle audibly.
After a few months, false teeth are supposed to feel like a natural part of you—also true of your ostomy appliance. As one grows and changes, a set of false teeth may have to be changed—and appliances may have to be changed due to weight gain/loss or stoma retraction.
False teeth are expensive—but so is ostomy surgery. False teeth must be worn all the time—ostomates wear appliances, or at least tiny pads, all the time. Many products are sold to keep false teeth clean and odor-free—the same is true for ostomy equipment. Let’s say that false teeth are a necessary evil, a little nuisance in the mouth—at the opposite end of the tract may be the nuisance of a stoma needing an ostomy appliance or pad.
So the next time a distressed family member says a relative will “have his life ruined” by having an ostomy, ask whether someone who has all his teeth suddenly knocked out has a ruined life. If we could think of ostomies with the same calm humor with which we view false teeth, wouldn’t everybody see them for what they really are? Not really worse than false teeth.
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