Being told you have to get a colostomy procedure can be life-changing and nerve-racking. Leading up to the procedure, you may be feeling nervous, but good news, you are in good hands, and the doctors know what they are doing. Yes, it is a scary experience getting surgery, but most of the time, surgeries are done while the patient is under anesthesia so that you will feel nothing. Waking up in a room you do not remember entering is generally how anesthesia works. Following your procedure, you can’t eat much, but you can suck on some ice chips and drink water. Within two to five days, you will be eating like normal.
Following your colostomy surgery, the first thing you will notice is the grossly colored swollen stoma. Stomas are usually a light red to pink color, but after the procedure, it will be bruised, black, brown, and purple. Within a few weeks, you will see the actual color of the stoma, the pink-red coloring, and the swelling reducing. These are signs the stoma is healing correctly, and you will have nothing to worry about. The pouch you see over the stoma when you awake in the hospital is not going to be the one you will have at home; it is just there in case. The pouch is used to catch and hold any stool from your body into it.
When you wake up in the hospital, you will have a two to five-day stay depending on the kind of colostomy you got. Your visit might be longer if the procedure was done as a last-minute emergency. During this time, doctors will teach you how to treat the stoma and how to take care of yourself in the future. You will also learn how to monitor your pouch, the removal process, and how to drain and clean it. Your caregiver will also show you how to clean your stoma. This is usually done with warm water patting or lightly rubbing the area. To dry it, pat it with a dry towel, and leave it to air dry.
Before going home, be sure to speak to your caregiver or another professional who can help you try out the equipment you will be using in the future. What works best can vary from patient to patient and depending on what kind of colostomy procedure was done, the size of the stoma, their height and weight, any abnormalities on the skin, skin flaps or folds, and even the abdomen shape. The requirements of care you need to do may be different than some other colostomy patients you meet.
After getting a colostomy, there are some life changes that take place but nothing life-ending, if anything, life-saving. The need for an ostomy procedure is a life-saving procedure, oddly enough. It allows the patient to have proper bowel movements when they could not before. The stoma needs to be kept clean and taken care of so no infections will occur. The patient will also need to monitor their skin under the pouch, so no rashes form, or a breakout happens. It does not seem to be that big of a deal having to clean the stoma every day, and it can be done in the shower even. As scary as an ostomy procedure can seem, the end result is a better life for that patient.