An ostomy bag (or a newborn) doesn’t have to invoke fear! 

I’m stressed! My daughter’s due date for our first grandchild is tomorrow! Will the labor go ok? Will the baby be ok? What sort of world will this little one come into? Will he like me? How does “grandpa” sound? What will he call me?

My wife and I had four children and I don’t recall being as nervous for any of those deliveries! I’m a doctor, and yet, all of this business seems very foreign! I feel like I’m sitting on my hands and really have no control over any of it!

I’m familiar with urology. It’s my “neck of the woods.” I’ve advised friends of friends, family of family, and complete strangers, sometimes on the phone in some remote location, about kidney stones, urinary infections, and prostate cancer. It’s what I do.

Fear of the unknown no more! 

When we encounter something completely foreign, stress is a common response. Stress prompts the release of hormones in our bodies to help us “flee or fight.” They don’t make us feel warm and fuzzy.

Nurses as caregivers encounter foreign situations all the time. Patients vomit, bleed, poop, yell out in pain, and have incisions in all sorts of places. They have gauze dressings on nether parts of their bodies saturated with “God knows what.” They sometimes even come back from surgery with ostomies. Nurses overcome with stress due to lack of experience aren’t much help.

Recently in Muskegon, the WannaWearOne/Resilience Campaign allowed Muskegon Community College nursing students to experience ostomy life. They applied stoma appliances, filled the ostomy bags with water or chocolate pudding, and either concealed their experiment or revealed it to interested family and friends. They met at the end of the three-day trial and discussed their experiences. It’s doubtful that any of them will run, gag, or even turn up their noses at any ostomate they encounter after this cool opportunity. Credit Pat Camp, RN with her educational efforts!

This first grandchild’s entrance into the world makes me nervous! I hope my stress hormones don’t make me feel faint or cause me to have to run off to the bathroom in the middle of the excitement. I do have a little “dad” experience, and I hope it serves me well.

By Dr. Joseph Salisz, MD A Urologist with an ostomy

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