Living with a Colostomy, meets Every Day Carry.

About three weeks ago, I underwent an elective sigmoid colectomy, a surgical procedure to have part of my colon removed to relieve some chronic pain problems and to prevent further complications of diverticular disease which I unusually have at such a young age, the surgery didn’t go as well as we’d all hoped and I an ostomy, via the Hartmanns procedure resulting in what you may know as a Colostomy!

What happens when an EDC’er has a Colostomy? As it turns out, he find’s a bag that fits the bill and keeps everything organized, along with matching moral patch!

Stomabag-Front

I use a Hazard 4 ‘Reveille’ as my toiletries bag when I’m away from home, and I figured it’d also make a great bag for keeping ostomy supplies to hand!

Stomabag-open

 

I was given a free bag in my ‘colostomy welcome kit’ from the hospital, but it was so small I really wonder how anyone keeps the needed supplies in there, besides the bare essentials for an emergency, however if you’re frequently on the road and changing your bag away from home, it’s hardly enough to do it all comfortably.

Stomabag-Contents

 

In the Reveille, I’ve got more than enough to last me a day of bag-changing in comfort, in fact, I could probably put the extra colostomy pouches in and survive a week+ with this bag keeping my supplies to hand.

  • Coloplast Convext Closed Pouches
  • Disposal bags
  • Brava Lubrecating Deodorant
  • Huggies ‘Pure’ Wet Wipes
  • Brava Adhesive Remover Spray
  • 3M Cavilon
  • Hand Towel (for protecting clothes during a change)
  • Non-purfumed Deodorizing Spray

You can find out more about the Hazard 4 ‘Reveille’ by clicking here

*UPDATE* I’ve found the zip-pulls are a but of a hassle, especially if I’m trying to do something with one hand. Since all the zippers have corners to go around it’s also a bit harder again! To spice up the look of the bag and make the zippers easier I’ve made some paracord pulls using a ‘Celtic Button’ knot. It’s now much easier!

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How my tweets ended up posted around Royal Derby Hospital

In November/December 2013 I spent a grand sum of 4 weeks in the Royal Derby Hospital, on various wards and units and I noticed a reoccurring theme… Computer workstations weren’t being locked.

This didn’t just include the workstations at nurses stations, but portable workstations on castors used for electronic medical records, and on the medicine rounds throughout the day.

At first it didn’t really phase me at all, as there was always a nurse or a doctor in the bay while these workstations we’re around, but around the second week something really rubbed me the wrong way… A doctor had just come to see me to discuss some recent results which, as most results are now at the RDH, were digital, so she brought along a laptop workstation on castors, and discussed the results that she’d got up on the screen with me. Once she was done, and I was reassured, she wheeled the workstation into the middle of the bay, and then walked off…

A few minutes passed and eventually I got curious, I wonder if she locked that workstation, I climbed out of bed, and painfully walked up to the computer and there in plain sight, was a comprehensive list of all my digital medical records, medications, and x-ray CT images. In utter shock that anyone walking past could see these notes I promptly posted these three tweets, mentioning @DerbyHospitals.

Given about half an hour, I got an unexpected reply back from @DerbyHospitals asking what ward I was on, I replied giving them a ward number, expecting nothing amazing to come of it, maybe someone gets a slap on the wrist, but amazingly, another half an hour later, a nurse came to my bed and asked me if I’d welcome a visit from the Head of Information Governance, and a representative of the Medical Director for the hospital.

In just one hour after posting a tweet, I was having a conversation with people who could make a direct difference in the running of the hospital, I was amazed. I gladly recounted my experience to these two lovely women, who where extremely apologetic, and seemed quite taken off guard that I wasn’t sat there threatening to sue, or shouting about at how terrible the hospital was. All I asked for, was that they sent a memo out, or gave some training and advice to staff about how serious leaving a workstation unlocked is, because I wanted for the Royal Derby Hospital is to improve their already great service. I wasn’t interested in punishing anyone, or getting people in trouble, I refused to give names and descriptions of people I’d seen leaving stations unlocked and if they wanted to do an investigation, they can, but without any help from me.

Well a couple of days later still on the ward, and I notice a poster had sprung up on the wall by the nurses station, mentioning some of my tweets (although, only the ones where I exemplified the Information Governance team on their excellent response time). Never the less, I wasn’t ignored, they actually went and did something about my ‘complaint’. I ended up visiting a number of wards around the hospital afterwards, and every single ward had one of these posters at the nurses station.

I wonder if they’re still up there! I’m not planning on visiting another ward at RDH for a while but if you do, keep your eye out, I’d love to know if they’re still up on the notice boards!

 

 

Don’t wish me a happy St. Georges Day…

Depending how well you know me, you might be familiar with how much I dislike people flying the Union Flag or the flag of St. George, and on this day of the year, how much I dislike Saint George.

First of all, I don’t like the above because I’m somewhat of a self-proclaimed anti-nationalist, not because I hate my country but because of the bad rep that nationalists give the whole notion of nationalism (i.e. BNP, EDL) and because I feel that these days we really should be looking at the bigger picture: world-wide communities. I prefer to call myself a citizen of the EU rather than a Citizen of the UK.

Anyway, back on the topic at hand, the venerated Saint George, a patron saint of many countries not just England, and venerated for what I’d consider, some not very saintly things. According to Wikipedia Saint George was venerated by the Crusaders best known for their work in ‘armed pilgrimages’ in the name of the Roman Catholic Church. However, Saint Georges ‘saintly’ act is in defying the Romans and the Roman gods by professing his Christian Faith… fair enough.

What’s better, is that Saint George has no ties to England at all, other than the fact that King Edward III promoted the code of chivalry and Saint George was seen to embody those ‘knightly’ values. England just adopted which ever Saint they liked the most really, though he certainly has more about him than the previous patron of England, Edward the Confessor.

If I did feel some need to rally behind the banner of a patron saint, I guess the ‘right’ thing to do would be to rally behind the saint of my home nationality, Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. This morning my colleagues and I compared Saint David to Saint George since none of us really knew anything about Saint David, we decided to do a quick web search to see what made him so deserving of being a Saint.

Turns out that Saint David is more fact than fiction, and a large amount is known about him and he certainly has ties to Wales, being a native. His re-known is also much more Saintly and realistic than Georges denouncing of the Romans, David (or Dewi as us Welsh might call him) was known for teaching, preaching and founding monastic settlements across Wales.

Miracles attributed to Saint David? Making a small hill, none of this slaying a dragon rubbish, Dewi made a hill, something Wales isn’t in short supply of either.

I apologize if I sneer or snarl at you if you wish me a happy Saint Davids day today…

Buddhism and Death

The coming weekend marks another anniversary of the passing of my father, which will as usual pass by quietly but not unnoticed.

My father passed when I was 9, but a farther passing at any age is bound to really smash your world into pieces and make you feel completely lost. Certainly so, already psychosocial professionals have attributed my father’s death and the event’s following it to the unstable world that is my mental health.

There’s no right way to deal with bereavement, and as a Buddhist I quite often get asked how a Buddhist deals with death, normally fought with questions of re-incarnation. The more interesting thing about death and Buddhism is that it’s actually embraced, Buddhists are encouraged to meditate on death.

 “A broken pot of earth, ah, who can piece again?
So too, to mourn the dead is nought but labor vain.
No friends’ lament can touch the ashes of the dead.
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.”

An excellent text on Buddhism and Death written by V.F. Gunaratna is available at Access to Insight. If you really want to know how Buddhists deal with death, give it a ready. It’s a bit heavy but have patience, it’s quite enlightening! Buddhist Reflections on Death

 

Keybase.io – wonderful ‘frontend’ to GPG and I have invites!

Thanks to a good friend I got an invite to the Keybase.io alpha, and I’ve been given 8 invites by the admins.

The concept is great, a much more user friendly interface to encryption and its completely compatible with GPG.

They also have a really nice way of verifying you twitter account, github account and domains belong to you by pairing it with your GPG key.

I really hope Keybase catches on and ‘popularises’ GPG, I’d love to see some integration with smart phones, hell maybe even a SMS application for being truely paranoid.

Here’s a link to my Keybase profile and if you’d like an invite, drop me a comment on here or tweet me.