From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook July 2003:

Some of the Best Basic Ostomy Hints

via Austin (TX) Austi-Mate

Don't behave as if having an ostomy makes you less of a person or some freak of nature. There are lots of us and most of us are glad to be alive!

Build a support system of people to answer questions when you have a problem. Consider our ETs and your officers who are listed on the back page.

Don't play the dangerous game of making your appliance last by over taping or putting off a change. There aren't any prizes given for the longest wear time except accidents!

Don't wait until you see the bottom of your supply box before ordering more. Always count on delays in shipping, holidays, etc. when calculating what is needed.

Zip-lock sandwich bags are useful and odor proof for disposal of used ostomy pouches.

Don't get hung up on odors. There are some great sprays and some internal deodorants... Remember: everybody creates some odors in the bathroom. Don't feel you are an exception.

Hydration and electrolyte balance is of vital importance. Be sure to drink enough fluids to maintain good hydration [ileostomates, especially--Ed.].

Read and learn all you can about ostomies. You never know when you may find an opportunity to educate someone about the life-saving surgery that has extended so many lives. Learn to be matter of fact about this and never embarrassed. Few folks get out of this life without some medical problems and unpleasant situations with which to cope. You may be amazed at how people will admire your adaptability and courage.

In the beginning after surgery, almost everyone experiences some depression. If you fit into this category, you are certainly not alone. But it need not be a lasting condition. Try something as simple as walking... long walks. If the depression seems to linger, don't be afraid or ashamed to seek help. There is help out there!

The bottom line is: We are alive!! In other times, in other countries, we might not be. Medicine and techniques today have given us an opportunity to experience this second chance. It is certainly an opportunity worth accepting and exploring. The most important part of you as a human being has not changed. You are still the SAME you. Never forget to actively celebrate LIFE and all it has to offer.

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Content last revised 2003-07-14