What day is it?

Although I am aging, I don’t think I have any measurable dementia yet (given my selective hearing, my housemates in quarantine, wife, and daughter, may believe otherwise…). The days are sort of blending together. Is it Monday or Tuesday? Does the garbage go out tonight? Can we eat fish out of the freezer two days in a row? Wait, what did we eat yesterday?

Because the days seem to come and go without the usual reminders, I’m having a hard time sticking to a 4 day schedule for stoma appliance changes. If I change a day early, my supplies may not last until the next order, and they certainly aren’t cheap! If I change a day late, I run the risk of a Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction”! Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night with that sick feeling that your wafer just released and there is something warm oozing down your flank? Of course, that means a dash out of bed, dismantle the sheets, all lights on, find and cut the wafer, line up the appliance components, quick shower, “ain’t nobody gonna get enough sleep tonight…”!!

It’s rare to have a malfunction within my given changing schedule of 4 days. Unfortunately, our calendar is divided into 7’s!!! What Roman came up with a seven-day week? How stupid! It’d so much easier if they listened to the Beatles and there were 8 days a week!

How do you guys do it? How do you know whether it’s the right day to change your ostomy appliance? (Especially those of you who are retired?) I know retirement brings calendar confusion!  “Visit our Facebook post and leave your scheduling tips in the comments!”

I’m toying with placing one of those free calendars that my bank sends into my appliance box and keeping a pen attached, to check the day I last changed. That, of course, would require a look into the box… Another idea would be to use a wax pencil and mark my bathroom mirror with the date changed, but I don’t think my wife would go for my scribbles… A friend ostomate advised me to change when I can see the crud falling apart from the wafer I’m wearing, but I think that may too late for my nerves… I’m not a gambler…

One good thing is that in the 10 years I’ve had a stoma, I’ve only had a significant sudden wafer disconnection three times… (and those times are etched vividly into my memory! Sure, I’ve had minor disconnects with minimal leakage, but my StomaCloak manages those quite nicely by absorbing the liquid. I can buy time by placing a bit of appliance tape over the leak until I have time to change.

Quarantine does seem to make it more difficult to tell one day from the next! We hope you and your families are all healthy and doing well: One week at a time!

By: Dr. Joseph Salisz, MD A urologist with an ostomy

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