Colostomy crash course for me. In 2013 I had a perf colon, emergency surgery removal of 1/3 of my colon & a temporary colostomy. The hospital in VA setup a bag that attached to a wafer & had to be emptied and cleaned. Initially I developed a blister under the wafer. Thankfully someone else with a colostomy recommended using witch hazel on my skin when I changed the wafer. Wow what a relief, no more blistering. When I got back to Jacksonville I received sample bags from suppliers and found a disposable bag. Another thankful find! Not only did it hold up to the FL heat (I think it was something called an active lifestyle bag) but it didn’t leak and when I was out all I had to do is remove/dispose of the soiled bag and slip on a new one. Definitely made life easier and more livable. I just couldn’t understand once I found the desposible bag why a hospital wouldn’t start with this type of bag instead of dealing with the risk of spreading germs using a reusable bag. Of course the most obvious thing is the inability to “plan” when a bag would become full. Again disposable bag to the rescue. Two other items that I couldn’t do without are the little wipes, one helps remove the sticky to get the wafer off and the other is a skin protector you rub on before applying the wafer.
I also found out my insurance company specifically excluded ostomy supplies. Of course this is totally illogical since it’s not like you can just not use them. I did call the supplier who initially told me it was covered when I ordered my first month of supplies. The supplier told me they have a special phone number and website to use to get the supplies for a lower price if insurance didn’t cover them. So, please do NOT rely on the supplier, contact your insurance company. I also googled and contacted several ostomy manufacturing companies either via their website or toll free number. I received some wonderful samples of different types of bags, carrying pouches (similar to a makeup bag), scissors to trim etc. They were quite generous with the freebies they sent and it helped to see what was available not to mention to have a handy little supply kit to keep in the car.
My ostomy was reversed by the wonderful doctors at Mayo Jax after 6 months. I sure did learn a lot in a short time. In 2017 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis so either a jpouch or colostomy will probably be in my future.