I have to admit, coming out of the hospital I was dreading my first pouch change on my own. I kind of knew how to do it (the nurses taught me before I left but… it’s much different those first few times). I didn’t know what pouches worked for me yet, what system I was going to use (I was terrified of my pouch falling off while I was at school or something), I just wasn’t experienced and the entire thing was completely alien to me. I had done a ton of research before my surgery as far as pouch changes and some of the extras that make things much better (no sting barrier wipes, waterproof sure seals, what company had the highest ratings from the Youtubers that I was watching etc.) It’s still totally different when you’re preparing to walk into the bathroom and do it yourself.
Anyway I totally made my Dad help me the first few times at home (I have pretty amazing parents, love em to death). My old man is old school, from Africa and had never heard of an Ostomy before I was told that I needed one (when I explained it the first time he kind of freaked out). I was actually pleasantly surprised about his attitude when he was helping me, didn’t say anything about the smell or being grossed out or whatever; just put on some disposable medical gloves and took care of his son.
The first few times while we did it together it wasn’t too bad, I mean I had another person in the room helping me. I also had Home Health Care Nurses that came once a week to continue showing me how to properly put on an Ostomy pouch. I will say that I WAS STILL TERRIFIED OF CHANGING MY POUCH ON MY OWN. However I knew that I needed to do it myself, I couldn’t have my Dad or a Nurse help me everytime, it wasn’t feasible and I was almost 20 years old; I had to grow up and learn how to do it myself no matter how hard/scary it was.
My first time was actually kind of a surprise; my parents were both out and I was just hanging out at home playing Skyrim. I noticed on odd feeling on my stomach and I looked down and I had a small leak! I knew my parents wouldn’t be home for the rest of the day so it was either figure out how to change my bag by myself or leak all over the place for the rest of the day. I figure “Screw it, now’s as good a time as any to go for it!”
I went in the bathroom and quickly set up all my supplies, including a trash bag I wore around my waist to drop my used Ostomy pouch in (great trick that the nurses taught me so you never make a mess), once I was ready I took a deep breath and ripped my bag off. I followed the steps just like the nurses taught me, since I had my supplies already out (something I strongly suggest for even experienced Ostomates), I didn’t get anxious about having to find things. I also use pre-cut wafers (the part that sticks to your skin) so I didn’t have to deal with all the cutting. In all honesty that first time still took me about 25-30 minutes to do (making sure I did everything properly), but it wasn’t as bad as I thought J.
Really it wasn’t that bad, sure utterly terrifying at first but once the pouch comes off and you have to focus and put another one on the fear kind of goes away. Once I did it myself a few times it simply became a normal part of my routine. I found a great system that works for me and I didn’t have to change it for almost 3 years (when I had another surgery), even then all I had to do to make the same system work was make a few cutting alterations and it worked even better than before. Trust me, it’ll seem scary the first few times but you’ll get through it J. Much love and respect!