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Who changes their system (wafer/bag) by themselves? Or do you have help- spouse, nurse, etc


I can change my system by myself,  however, if my stoma is active I have a real hard time. The only time I change myself is if I'm out of town. Otherwise. My wife helps me every day we do a change. We've developed a great system with powder, crusting, rings, etc that work amazing for me. My wife's the greatest on the planet in what she does for me...I FORGOT TO MENTION A COUPLE THINGS. FIRST, I HAD A SPINAL ACCIDENT 2  1/2 YEARS AGO SO I NEED THE HELP CHANGING AND IVE NEVER HAD ODOR FROM MY STOMA. 

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All by my lonesome. They put one on me in the hospital and I've changed mine ever since. Had a couple home visit nurses help a couple times when I first came home from surgery but they made me do it. 


Me even when I had surgery on my right hand and could only use my left hand which I have very little feeling in from a stroke years ago I managed just fine, as soon as I take my bag of my stoma it's always active whatever I do beforehand. I've always been very independent with everything in life including changing bags I don't like anyone helping me  


That is very nice of your wife. But it is always a good idea to do most of your changes yourself..unless you are disabled. Changing your bag is equal to wiping your butt a private smelly activity. I have been changing my own bag for all these 30 plus years..


I've been changing it myself ever since the surgery. My grandmother had an ileostomy so I wasn't completely new to all of this. My fiance has offered to help me (he is very sweet). I may show him someday. We won't be "young" forever!


Me, myself and I. It's not always easy, especially if it's an emergency change due to a leak and my stoma is active. It's like calming an angry alligator! I know that my husband would step in if needed but that hasn't been the case so far. I say whatever works and it sounds like you and your wife have a system.

Reply to Maried

Unfortunately,  I forgot to mention that I am disabled.  I had a spinal accident 2 1/2 years ago. My illeostomy has had zero odor in all the time I've had my stoma. Thank god!!!


I mostly change my own appliance, today my visiting stoma/wound nurse did it for me today as it was time for her to inspect my stoma after the fixing of the prolapse. I find that other than a stoma/wound nurse that most do not know what they are doing, and would rather change it myself as those that don't know the small tricks almost always leads to appliance failure within 48 hours. I did the change before todays 8 days ago and was very lucky that it lasted that long, although my skin is very happy that it lasted that long after it being changed almost daily during my last hospital visit. 

Reply to eefyjig

Eefy, unfortunately I'm disabled due to a spinal accident  2 1/2 years ago so I need help changing. I'm 58 years old so my life drastically changed after my accident.  I played amateur golf tournaments and was active playing basketball. Those days have ended. I had to retire and have had alot of other health issues all due to my accident.  Before that happened I was never sick a day in my life!!! Thanks for your reply and thanks for the other helpful replies you given me to my queries 


How do you mange to change when you are out of town?..your wife it pretty cool.


No one has ever touched mine except when I was unconscious in theatre.

Reply to jalrein

Jalrein, I can't imagine the depth of life changes that you've gone through and had to deal. Having an ostomy is plenty itself and that's something we all go through here, but you have even more you have to deal with.  I'm inspired by your marriage. That's what it's all about, being there for each other in your relationship as life throws curveballs at us.


Hi Jalrein i do my changes myself, i had resection surgery 4yrs. ago and the surgeon not the nurse changed it for me which felt weird to me but he wanted to check out the new stoma and to make sure all the places that were stitched were healing properly. My wife has watched me do a change but thats about it.


Jalrein, I do all my own, but the main think is to always do it in the morning when its still asleep. Don't wake it up.


Jalrein, I've always changed it myself since coming home from hospital. Honestly, it was a lot of trial and error at first. The seal would fail within 48 hours and it was frustrating. Now, I use a concave pouch and banana peels due to protrusion (doc says that's normal for some people (?)) and use a small foldable mirror on the bathroom counter to see the underside of my stoma and bag but I make it work. I've not had any emergency in public so not sure how everything will play out if it happens. 


I 've  had my ileostomy  for nearly 60 years....since I w as a teen of 15...   An Aunt of mine had the surgery, and she assured me that " I wouldn't have to touch it",   my mother could change it for me...   Hmmm   a very hands on / 4th year  medical studeent  on m y doctor's service,  changed that immediately...   He told me it was m y  new " butt" my body, my responsibility..    He set me straight...and helped me out learning  how to manage it..    The was  1965 before the days of stoma therapists..   I also had  very supportive student nurses ( accross different  shifts) who leaarned along with me and  were a  great support..    So when I got out of t he hospital, I was independent...   At  the time  I was in a back brace, an d  had to change in bed..   I just set up all m y supplies, and managed to cope...   It was much easier  a year later  when the osteoporosis/  resolved  itself and I got out of  the back  brace...    The only other time I could have used some help  ( but my then husband/  who also had an ileostomy refused to help)   was in my  9th month of pregnancy, and my stoma was  under  my " not so big "  belly...   We set up a  hangin g mirror, on the toilet, and I w as able to see...    Back  t hen,  ostomates  use to visit newby patients, to help them learn to manage on their own..   I did that for a long time,e specially with  kids and teens....     I did it one handed for a  year when I  I had carpal  tunnel in my right hand..   And  I managed the one handed act again this year, when I had to have thumb surgery...    Some t hings are a challenge,   b ut I've been changing independently now for 60 yeaars....thanks  to t hat first young dr...    Best of luck to all...

Reply to Maried

I do the same as when she helps. The wafers are cut by my wife and I take more than enough with me. I lie on my back in bed and make the change.  I try not to eat the night before and I eat marshmallows and peanut butter 3 hours before change to slow output....


Yes, my mom helped me when I first got it. It sounds silly but I was terrified of it at first, and I was also very sick and weak from cancer. But once I took charge I've never looked back. Now I could change the whole appliance in my sleep. 


Changing your wafer/bag is easy.

One item that is a must for me are hydrocolloid extending tapes and hydrocolloid protective sheets.

As an ostomy patient you should change your appliance yourself.

Organization is key.

I put my supplies for a week or so of changes in a plastic tool box.

It holds my scissors; marking pens; wafers; pouches; tapes; seals; deodorant; etc.

Be independent.  It may not be a pleasant thing to do...but you can do it.

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