From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook March 1999:

Expressing Oneself

by Helen Manson, RNET, edited from GLO Contact; via Northwest AR Mail Pouch

Ostomates have no problem meeting ostomates from other areas. What fun we all had at the Conference meeting each other and sharing our interests. Our interests were each other and our ostomies.

One of the sessions I attended was for "Spouses and Significant Others." WOW! Letting one know how one feels does not seem to be a priority. And our partners at times seem to feel they have been forgotten. I realized how important it is for the significant other of an ostomate to truly express their feelings and concerns.

The person with the ostomy is not the only one who needs professional counseling and understanding. The partner also needs help and assurance, and an understanding of what physical and mental changes have taken place in their stomal partner. The ostomate also needs to know the true feelings of their partner's reaction to them. All this takes time and understanding. Both partners must be included at all times when dealing with each other's feelings.

Listening to the comments from the group, it seemed to me that the ostomy was to blame for the stress between partners. One woman cried, "I am tired of cleaning his ostomy pouches." Another, "I am tired of changing his appliance, especially in the middle of the night." Still another, "I feel robbed of so much."

What do these outcries express? Lack of expressing oneself. My replies included, "Have you expressed your true feelings to your partner? Why are you changing the appliance at any time?" Amazingly, the answer came, "Oh, doesn't everyone?"

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Content last revised 1999-03-12