Sunday, May 27, 2012

Swimming with an Ileostomy? & Canadian Insurence

Our "new" home is quite a tight squeeze with one tiny bedroom and a mini kitchen all attached in a weird snaking rectangle. It's mostly a storage-space now after we drove cross-country and over the border with all our things (well, most but not all) from our previous lives. 
I'm always trying to think of ways to talk about ostomies and ileostomies, but it's really just something that you live with everyday. I walked on the rotting-kelp scented beach recently, and that reminded me that I still have yet to swim, because the adhesive on my COLOPLAST Assura 12630 One-piece Midi/Drainable/Transparent   3/8''-2 1/8''  10-55mm is SHIT.

This is really similar to mine, but without the stupid filter
The wafer that's supposed to be sticky is not, of course and even though when I change my bag, I press down REALLY fucking hard to make it stick, it buckles and occasionally leaks. (Although I've never had a horrible leak, like in the middle of the night. Just bits of discolouration on the underside of my bag and the waistline of my panties with uhm... the liquid contents :P).
Please people, if you need a transparent bag, this is NOT the way to go. The adhesive is so bad, I have used an add-on liquid adhesive.

This is the liquid adhesive that I've used to try and help with this problem----> Skin Tac.
You're supposed to dab it on clean dry skin (check) and wait for it to turn tacky (check), except it never turned THAT tacky, then lay your wafer down over it in the futile hope that it will stick. Well, ma--guess what? It don't work.

Ahoy--waste of money!! This shit won't stick to fucking anything!
Abandon ship! Save your bags! Save yourselves!

I know I'd have to use a one-piece bag for swimming,  but I'm unsure how to really proceed. Not that I want to go out in a bathing suit any time soon. My body is a wispy assembly of bones and my stomach is sore and rather grossly distorted from all the GastroParisis-induced vomiting.

Sooooo..... perhaps this is all just a rather hopeful dream of mine to swim. It would be nice, though, wouldn't it? On a sultry hot day, muggy air wavering the heat in a mirage over the road, sweat trickling down your forehead and down your sides and down your spine... your body is heavy and sluggish with the heat, and you just want to slip into the cool calm waters of some lake, just relax, floating in there... letting your troubles slowly seep out of your body as you soak in the coolness of the lake...  

So from my research, this is what I've found. From this PDF, "An ostomy belt or waterproof tape around the edge of the skin barrier can assist security." But you're supposed to remove the tape as soon as you're done swimming, because it can irritate the skin.

Oh yeah. Another fun thing about Canada (or maybe just BC in general)? I can't get any more ostomy bags. We waited 5 fucking months after we arrived here, and FINALLY our insurance papers went through (I was well-warned that Canada's process is slow--they aren't like the US where people take their jobs seriously and things go fast). 
I am trying to wear what bags and supplies I have left as long as I can and I'm getting skin erosion from it. You see, in order to have insurance cover bags, I need Farmacare. It's a Canadian insurance thing. *Shakes head*
  In order to have Farmacare, both spouces have to have a social insurance number, but as my husband is a grad student, they will NOT allow him a work visa until July (why? who knows), and a work visa=you are allowed a social insurance number. As I myself have a work visa, I am allowed a number. So I waited in line, got my number, but I still can't get Farmacare until maybe I try to set it up on an online form, maybe over the phone.

As me and Mr B have been paying for all my medication out of our pocket (Canada has free health care my ass) we are going broke. As he's not allowed to work until many months away, and I'm constantly ill, we are going downhill fast. We spend our nights traveling the alleyways collecting cans and alcohol bottles. The cans are a 5 cents deposit, so those aren't much, but the beer cans are 10 cents. The alcohol bottles are pretty nice, they are 20 cents if they are over a litre, but 10 cents or 15 if they are small.
I'm usually down for anything and just roll with the flow, so out of nescessity I've been going out, I've been scouring trash cans for bottles, and it really struck me how pitiful I am.This is what my life has come to. I narrow my eyes with suscpicion at all the homeless people trying to steal my cans. We wear gloves and old clothing and are incredably careful about antiseptics and germs, but still....
Hey, in THIS economy, don't be judgin'.


  1. Hi I was looking around the internet and found your blog. THANK YOU for writing about this like a real person. I am older than you but I am bummed about having an ileostomy. I had UC since I was 8 years old and then I had colon cancer in my 20's. Many years later I had j-pouch cancer and had chemo so now I have a permanent ileostomy. I am able to go swimming anytime I want. This is the bag I use--Convatec Sur-fit Natura
    Durahesive Flexible Wafer and Sur-fit Natura Drainable Pouch. I used to use a paste but I became allergic to it after a year and had to stop. I just put the wafer on and then put powder around the edges. I even swam in waves at Rockaway in Brooklyn and it was fine. I am really sorry you are having a hard time financially. THAT SUCKS! I was thinking that I can always call different ostomy supply companys like Holister and Convatec and get free samples. Maybe you could do that too. And there is a United Ostomy Association in Canada and maybe if you contact them they can connect you with some free supplies. Here is a place that is supposed to provide supplies to people who can't afford them And I would like to know more about the corset process. I am having a really hard time thinking that any guy would be interested in me (even though I am attractive). DO you have any advice? Thanks.

  2. Sorry, you're having such a difficult time getting the supplies you need. As far as the swimming, I've gone with a two piece that worked just fine. I used an active lifestyle sure seal waterproof ring over my wafer and a comfizz band over the bag. Worked like a charm. I wear a coloplast sensura click 2-piece.

  3. I LOVE my Holister supplies. The extended wear ring sticks great and the only leakage I have is when I sleep on my stomach or go WAAAAAY too long without emptying my bag and let it build up lots of pressure. I haven't actually been swimming yet, but I've taken baths and it holds great even in the water. And I've been to the beach a few times, I just didn't get past my knees cause the water was too cold. But I found a bathing suit that works great. In Canada actually-- at La Vie En Rose Aqua. It's little high waisted boy shorts with a wrap tie across the front that perfectly disguises the bag underneath!

    I'm hoping to order some smaller closed pouches just for swimming. Mine folds over fine for under my suit, but I worry a little about the roll end-- I get leakage there sometimes and don't want to put that into the water... Plus, if I use a closed back, I can just chuck it and put a new, dry one on after swimming. I'll go through more bags, but I have a bit of a backlog-- my insurance sends me 20 a month and I only use 10-15. I'd offer you some of mine to try out, but they're not clear.

    It sucks that you're having so many problems with BC healthcare. I hate how long it takes to get you set up. When I got married, I went from being covered in Ontario to losing my dependant status. But BC wouldn't pick me up for 3 months, so I had no coverage at all at that time. I've never heard of farmacare at all though-- is it new? I've been away 8 years, so I'm sure things have changed some.

  4. BC is the only place left (apparently) in Canada with crap coverage. But omg--thank you so much for this wealth of information! I will be researching as I have been for the past few months, but will a leg up!!!


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