I have a confession to make. I didn’t get my ostomy pouch wet for the first 2.5 years I had it.
I know. Crazy right? How did I shower? Carefully. Didn’t I want to go in the pool? Not particularly, plus I didn’t really have the opportunity. What about the hot tub? It’s never really been my thing.
..But even in the shower? Yep.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that nothing bad will happen when you’re contemplating trying a new experience like getting your pouch all wet, even though you’ve read online that other people get their pouch soaked in the shower every day, or do aqua aerobics, or sit in hot tubs, go surfing, swim in the ocean, etc. I realized how silly my fears were when someone emailed me recently asking about taking baths and another friend asked about going in the ocean. I felt silly responding because in order to be honest I had to say something like “well, I haven’t taken a bath or gone swimming in the ocean, but I know a number of people who have and it hasn’t been a problem”. I advocate for living a normal life with an ostomy and I’d been holding myself back from it in small ways that didn’t really bother me, but might be important to other people. It was time to make a change. Plus, I’d already put wake-surfing on my ostomy bucket list for this summer, so I was going to have to face the water soon anyway.
I tested it in the shower. A long, hot shower. I put all my worries in a box and went for it, full frontal. And guess what? It was fine. I didn’t even use a blow dryer to dry off my pouch the first time. I’ve used it a couple times since, but mostly because I didn’t want to wait for it to dry on it’s own.
Next up? The hot tub. Again, fears aside and I took my ostomy into the hot tub. It was hot, both in the hot tub and outside but my friend sat with me in there for an hour. Aside from a relaxed back, I have nothing to report. No incidents, whatsoever.
One of the concerns I had was that the Hollister base-plate wouldn’t do so well in the wet. Some of my friends who go in the water regularly wear Coloplast and their base-plates seem a lot more water resistant than the base-plate material on Convatec and Hollister. I think I had this idea in my head that my pouch would peel off while it was in the shower. It didn’t though. It didn’t even peel off after, until I helped it along.
A friend of mine told me that if she doesn’t use a blow dryer to dry the base plate off after showers, she gets a skin rash from the moisture – so if you’re getting ready to try new things with water, it probably wouldn’t hurt bring a blow dryer until you figure out how your skin responds.
I’m pretty excited for a watery summer this year!