Preparing for Full Time Employment: Pouch Changes

Believe it or not, most of my stress about starting a new job has not been ostomy related.  I wrote about my new job worries and attempts at squandering them here.  From an ostomy standpoint, I wonder to myself if my boss googled me and found my website, FaceBook, or Instagram. I also wonder if or when it would be appropriate to share about my ostomy with my boss or coworkers.  Realistically though, the biggest ostomy-related stressor I’m having is about changing my pouch.  I have to leave for work pretty early in the morning and usually I change my pouch in the morning so here’s how I’m going to prevent this from being an issue.

  1. Don’t procrastinate bag changes. If it’s the night before a change and I notice Coltrane is not busy, I’ll change it then so I can sleep in in the morning and not worry about it.
  2. Pay attention to evening food intake the night before a change.  Eating less for dinner or having an earlier dinner should help me be able to time my bag change in the morning so I’m not trying to put a new pouch on while there’s a volcano erupting.
  3. Go to bed early the night before a change.  Change days should not be synonymous with “less sleep”. Sleep is important and despite having to wake up extra early for a change, it will be important to make sure I’m well rested.
  4. Prepare my outfits the night before.  If I already know what I’m going to wear, I can spend more time sleeping and changing my pouch.
  5. Prepare my breakfast and lunch the night before.  Same as clothes. The less I have to do in the morning, the longer I get to sleep.
  6. Keep supplies and changing set-up well stocked.  I like to have a lot of supplies on hand and then keep 3-5 changes worth in a little mini cooler that I can easily transport to and from my changing spot. Making sure it’s well stocked will keep me from having to spend time in the morning confirming that I’ve got everything I need.
  7. Be prepared to drive to work and pay for parking on change days.  Sometimes things take longer than we expect, even when we plan for problems. Being prepared with a backup method of getting to work in case I miss the bus will help make sure I make it.
  8. Be prepared to request flexibility in my start time, from a disability standpoint. I hate to think of an ostomy as a disability, but ultimately it is.  I would rather have some understanding from my employer than be let go for being late, using the bathroom too much, or needing to run home to deal with an issue.

Do you have any tips for juggling ostomy care and full time employment or school?


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