Colostomy Mishap: A Lesson in Humor and Resilience

Past Member

I had surgery on January 3, resulting in a permanent colostomy. I knew it would be the likely outcome of the surgery and so was prepared and accepting.

Upon discharge from the hospital, a nurse shared with me a list of my meds and instructions, etc. New on the list was to take a dose of Miralax "daily." Nurse indicated this was standard for someone with a new colostomy. I asked what time of the day. The nurse didn't know but said that if someone is constipated, well, you take it in the evening. So I did. I got away with that for two nights at home.

I woke up on the third morning at home absolutely swimming in waste. My pouch was packed so tight it was like a sausage, and the side and top had blown out, allowing the flood to continue unabated as I slept. OH my, when I awoke and became aware of what had happened... I didn't cry or scream, I simply muttered "oh sh*t." My husband said the same. Luckily, I'd fallen asleep with my full-length robe on and it served as a sort of containment system. Obviously, I can sleep through anything.

What to do? Seven days out of surgery, swimming in sewage, in pain and exhausted. With the help of a few beach towel wraps, I got to the bathroom and there used a dustpan and spatula to scrape as much waste as I could into a triple trash bag. Then I got in the shower with the nightclothes I was wearing and took an hour shower to first rinse and remove the clothing, remove the flange, and wash myself 20 times.

I let the clothing drain for a while then handed my husband the gift of a trash bag full of the clothing and simply said "pre-wash cycle, hot water and bleach for a month." God bless him! And then I managed to get a flange and pouch on and scrub every inch of the bathroom with every bathroom chemical available.

Clean and in clean clothes, I felt like I was in shock. I was! But we got through it and it taught me I can get through anything.

As it turns out, that Miralax is to be taken in the morning. As I go along, the dosage is reduced until the consistency of my put put is the right stuff.

And I threw out the dustpan and spatula, and my bathroom has never been cleaner.

And if you don't laugh at things like this, you'll certainly lose your mind... what's left of it.


I've never been told to take Miralax after surgery. Oh, and when the bag gets that full, I tell people it's like a Qdoba burrito on your side. (If you have ever eaten at a Qdoba)

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Past Member

Yes, it is better to laugh about these things than cry. When I first had my surgery, I would cry every time I had to change it. But now it is just part of the routine. :)


Hi It's in the bag now (love your handle!), First of all, welcome to the site and the world of ostomates. You have quite the story, and not the best way to start things out! I love your attitude and sense of humor, something we all need to cope at the beginning at least! I have never heard of taking a laxative as a standard procedure after a colostomy, but it may have something to do with how your bowels functioned (or didn't) pre-surgery. I had a similar experience to yours shortly after my first surgery, a terrible blowout that resulted in me waking up in a huge lake of feces. In my case, I think it was a defective pouch I was wearing. While you get used to things and try out different products to see which ones work best for you, you might try sleeping with a towel or some kind of absorbent material under you. I bought a box of those blue and white pads they use in the hospital, and it gave me peace of mind and prevented me from destroying a couple more sets of sheets. Once you find a system you can trust, you won't need it anymore.

Good luck,



I lived on Miralax before surgery and it's what I took to clean my system out right before surgery. As you found out, it works quite well. Give your husband a kiss for being a trooper and enjoy the rest of the day. You probably won't have to empty your bag for a day or two now. You said to laugh with you on this.

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Past Member

Thank you all so much for laughing with me! It's the best medicine. And I appreciate the important teaching tidbits tossed in. Truly.

I did learn that the Miralax was because I insisted on leaving the hospital 2 days early, as my med/surg floor had filled with Covid patients and I am immunosuppressed. I'd not had a stoma BM yet but had been farting like a sailor. The surgeon wanted to make sure I produced stool so prescribed the Miralax dose for each morning for a while. I'm lowering the dose bit by bit. That stuff gives me clean out PTSD.

I do sleep on a pad and I've never had a Qdoba burrito but have an image in my head of what the result would be if I'd have had one at any time in the last 20 years.

I will be around with many questions and more laughs and appreciate everyone here.

Reply to Anonymous

Best of luck, there are worse things in life.

I've had my permanent ostomy bag for 4 1/2 years now and have a flood about every 6 - 8 weeks. No fun, but my wife and I laugh at it.

My leaks are the result of the stoma being next to a small valley in my tummy. It's a weak spot and nothing seems to hold it back: extra 3M tape, the extra crescent-shaped barriers.

Nothing works. We are going to try a different brand of bag and barrier.

Got cancer and then the bag at 73, so all those years of the easy life.

Newbie Dana

Knobby, have you tried using StomaShield from Cost Medical? It goes between your body and the barrier. It is about 6" in diameter, very thin and flexible, with a good grip on the skin, and it gives a smooth surface for the barrier flange to adhere to. I don't use those, but I use their AquaShield, which goes over the flange and extends out a few inches along your body, keeping the edges of the flange from lifting up. Call them to order; I think they have been having some issues with their online cart.

Newbie Dana

I've been there with the poopy-lake too. Ya gotta laugh. I have only taken Miralax once and it gave me such horrendous gas that I was in bed in pain for almost a day. I am so glad it didn't do that for you, although your experience with it was ... memorable!