When I was at school my lunchbox usually contained Dairylea cheese spread sandwiches, a bag of something like Smiths Square Crisps and maybe a Trio bar. It was the 1980’s. Normal food wasn’t bad for you then. These days if a kid took a lunch like mine into school, social services would have him put into care before he could even p-p-p-pick up a Penguin. How times have changed. The lunchboxes of middle class schoolchildren are now filled with granary breads, muesli bars, raw carrots, fresh and dried fruit and homemade smoothies. (No wonder they’ve all turned to crack.) And the contents of my lunchbox have changed, too. Today my little Tupperware box is used to hold all my colostomy kit. Neatly contained inside is everything I need to change my bag whilst I’m on the go. The people who supply my bags did send me a complimentary purpose made wallet to keep everything in, but I thought it was a bit naff. I prefer my sarnie box.
(Top row left to right)
No Sting Skin Barrier Wipes. These are fancy wet wipes that protect the skin from solid and liquid wastes, enzymes and adhesives. They make everything nice and clean.
No Sting Medical Adhesive Remover. The adhesive backing on the stoma bag flange (the bit that sticks to your stomach) is really, really sticky, so to help remove it without taking your skin off, you use this spray. It works like magic.
Mirror. So you can see what you’re doing properly.
Lunchbox. A strong, waterproof, easy to clean, compact container.
Disposable bags. For all your rubbish, including the used stoma bag. Once you’ve finished, carefully tie a knot in the bag and chuck it in the bin.
Peg. No, it’s not for your nose. It’s to hold your shirt up out of the way. Clever, eh?
Protective Powder with Aloe Vera. You dab this around the edge of the stoma. Not exactly sure what it does but it’s got aloe vera in it, so it must be good. It also looks remarkably like cocaine, and as I keep leaving traces of it on the porcelain at work it’s only a matter of time before some cheeky thrill seeker tries a sniff. I’m waiting to hear the screams.
(Next row down)
Stoma template. This is to ensure I always cut out the right size hole in the stoma bag flange.
Scissors. For cutting the hole. Obviously.
Pen. For tracing the hole onto the flange using the template. It’s all very Blue Peter this part.
Stoma bags. Just to be safe I always carry more bags than I could possibly need. I’ve usually got enough to see me through a nuclear winter, should the worst happen.