Out of the Bag: Broken bones

stephanie hughes out of the bag colostomy ileostomy crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog stolen colon

It has been more than 5 weeks since I broke my wrist while riding my bike. (Read how it happened HERE) I actually have another appointment with the orthopedic tomorrow and I am praying that the cast will come off!

At this point, my arm feels really good, but dealing with the cast has been a major pain. I have a difficult time fitting my arm through any of my winter clothes; it gets very hot when I’m working out; my hand has become so dry due the weather and I’m not able to put lotion on much of it. But this cast is nothing compared to the splint I had on for the first week after I broke my wrist.

stephanie hughes splint broken arm radius ulna bones stolen colon crohns ostomy blogHere’s a picture I took that week that I had it on. You can’t even tell from this picture, though, how obtrusive this thing was. It wrapped around my elbow and extended all the way passed my knuckles.  I could hardly do anything with it on. Once I had it wrapped around my arm, one of my first thoughts was, “how am I going to deal with my ostomy with this on?”

The accident happened on Saturday and thankfully I had just put on a new bag on Friday. I was praying the whole week that the bag would last until I got the split off. But even then, I didn’t know how I would deal with the daily issues or with changing the bag once I had the cast on. (And yes, the bag did last me a whole week and I was able to get the splint off on Thursday… honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t lasted.)

I had to be very careful with emptying the bag that first week. I had very little use of my right hand/arm and you really do need two hands to empty the bag. Basically, I used my right hand to keep the bag in place while using the left to push out the contents. Cleaning the end was a bit more precarious and I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t make a mess at times, but it was doable.

Once I got the cast on the next week, things were a bit easier. I had more control over my fingers and could move my elbow, too. Getting everything out with only one hand is still a bit difficult, but I can manage. The bigger issue was once the bag change came up. I don’t order pre-cut bags because the ones I have tried hadn’t fit quite right, so I still have to cut the opening every time. Now, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing most things with my left hand, but even after more than a month, I still can’t figure out how to use scissors with my left hand. I can’t line up the blade correctly or something like that and it just doesn’t work.

So that first time I had to change it, I had my husband cut the opening. Bless his heart, it was a pretty jagged opening. I was able to use my right hand just a little bit to smooth it out some, but I decided to do it myself from them on. It was still difficult because I could close the scissors with my right hand but I couldn’t open them. I would have to open with my left hand and close with my right for each cut. (Frustrating!) But now I’m to the point where I can do it all with my right hand.

Outside of the cutting, it really hasn’t been that difficult to change the bag. It took a little time to get accustomed to using my left hand to clean the area and put on the paste, but I have that under control now. I do like to cup my hands over the bag right after I put it on to help it adhere better, and that’s hard to do with one hand, but not a big deal.

So all in all, it has taken some getting used to and been annoying, but taking care of my ostomy has still been manageable with a broken wrist. Although, I can’t express how excited I am at the prospect of getting this thing off my arm tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

3 thoughts on “Out of the Bag: Broken bones

  1. Molly

    I have to admit the expression on your face in the picture above made me laugh. I will say a little prayer your cast comes off!


  2. Aaron Dennis

    I never thought about that, but yea it would totally be a PITA if I lost the use of a hand. I’m sure like you I’d figure it out but I can imagine the anxiety the first time trying.


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