Did You Hear About The One About……

We’re very excited, “Better With a Bag Than In a Bag” is being sold by http://www.amazon throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, and is now available with Half.com, BarnesandNoble, and with alibris. Visit “Better With a Bag Than In a Bag” book page on this blog site to find out more information and to click on the links. As some of you may have not read, the book yet , I thought it might be fun to share several excerpts from the book for your reading enjoyment. Before you start, I just want you to know the book was written during my year long recovery from the lifesaving surgery that created “Percy” (stoma). If you’re interested in laughing, crying, and guffawing, as I hope you do when you read THE OSTOMY FACTOR blog posts, you’ll truly enjoy reading the book.


Disturbing TRUTHS!

The following day, lying in bed in a morphine and epidural haze, I am roused when the team walks in. The General Hospital in Ottawa, Canada is a teaching hospital. Therefore, four of the eight-member team of doctors who had worked on me through the surgery the day before came and stood by my bed. With them was a gaggle of resident medical students. A good looking crew they were, and eager to explain to me how bad my situation had been, what had happened, and what amazing medical miracles they had performed……..

I was stunned to say the least. “My descending bowel had multiple perforations?” Things had been very bad with my intestines. Hmm . . . Swiss cheese comes to mind. “Let me get this straight: I had perforations throughout the sigmoid region of the colon……”

And so, eight separate doctors, each with their own specialized expertise, repaired my body parts. Well, how wonderful of them,” I said……..

“Oh, you performed a Hartman’s procedure. The sigmoid section ― I know that one. It’s the descending colon, right? ― of my large bowel. It was removed. Part of my rectal stump was also removed. Oh. I see.”

“Wait a minute! You said you had to perform a Hartman’s procedure. I have a colostomy. OK, what the heck does all that mean?”………..

Outdoor Plumbing
“Sigmoid colostomy is a procedure when fecal diversion is required,” stated the head of the team. “We have diverted the fecal stream from the rectum and anus. This was necessary to remove the area of diseased bowel. We removed a section of your descending bowel and rectum. The operation was necessary. Your bowel was diseased and perforated.”

“OK. But what happened to me? What’s going on? What am I supposed to do now?”

“We made an incision in your abdomen. We removed the diseased area of the bowel. We had to remove some of your rectal stump. We repaired your damaged …… And we’ve made a colostomy.”
“Excuse me for not understanding, but what is a colostomy?”

“A colostomy is the end of the colon brought to the surface and stitched to the skin through a small cut in the abdomen. Fecal waste will now pass through the colostomy ― it’s called a stoma ― and it will then be collected in a bag that sticks to the skin with special colostomy equipment. A prosthetic so to speak.” And with a satisfied smile, the head guy of this interesting motley crew, simply ended the consultation with, “You have a colostomy.”
“Well. My gosh. That explains everything. NOT!”

Brain Freeze
Okay, I’m alive. Check. I have tubes pumping stuff into me and some draining stuff out of me. Check. I’m so filled with drugs I seriously don’t know up from down. Check. My body feels numb and weird. Check. I’m pooping into a bag that is attached to my abdomen near my belly button. Check. Oh my gosh. I’m pooping into a bag!
As I press the buzzer for the nurse I am near panic.
“Can I help you,” she asks.
“Yes, well, apparently I have a bag attached to me. I’m pooping into the bag. Am I understanding right?”
“Yes, you’re understanding.”
“OK. So I’m pooping into a bag. How is that working for me? Will I have this for a short while or a long while? Do I have some kind of hole in me? What happens when the bag fills up? Where do I get bags?” And, the questions kept on floating up through my foggy brain. It was probably a blessing that my brain was foggy. I think I would have died on the spot from an anxiety-induced heart attack. Geez, it was all so weird.
“Mrs. Tremblay, all your questions will be answered in due time. You’ve been through a lot. Just lie back and relax. Your next goal is to start working on getting up. And then starting to walk. You’re on a floor that is not used to handling this kind of recovery. All the beds are filled on that floor. They’re the ones who handle your type of situation. Don’t worry, though. We’re with you here and we’ll help you through it. Within the next few days, the resident ET nurse will be coming to see you for a consultation. She’ll help you understand your colostomy. She’ll instruct you on how to take care of your stoma, and so on. Do you need anything else?”
“No, I don’t need anything right now, thanks.”
Oh my gosh. Those drugs must be really something, I thought. The hospital is sending an extraterrestrial nurse to talk with me. Apparently aliens must be the experts in dealing with my stoma, whatever the heck that is. Not sure why they’re so savvy about poop bags though. Well, I’ll just have to wait and see this amazing being from out there somewhere who’s got all the answers.
It took days before my Florence Night-in-Alien, arrived at my bedside……


Jo-Ann L. Tremblay


“Everyone you meet has a story to tell”


3 comments on “Did You Hear About The One About……

  1. Phyllis says:

    Jo-Ann, you continue to amaze. Your sense of humour and willingness to accept is an inspiration. Congratulations on the success of your book. It’s well earned. I’m so blest just by knowing you. Phyllis

  2. cmbrancale says:

    Joann, you had me howling with laughter (literally..I mean I tried to read the second time aloud to my mom..she looked at me as if I’d gone mad. Perhaps.) You took the situation that had me eating interns for breakfast (I’m an RN, have a knack, even newly disemboweled and very medicated..,) and gave it a humorous spin. I never thought I’d be laughing about that white coated team of sadists, etc. thank you!! If I may be so bold, I would not chose an ostomate to read the audio book!! Looking forward to buying the book in it’s entirety. Love to you! Congratulations on great work.

  3. Thank you cmbrancle, I’m sure as an RN, you’ve seen it all and probably heard it all, too! Glad you’ve enjoyed reading about my life/exploits as an ostomate, and do enjoy the book. It will give you quite the laugh, as it shares the poignant moments leading up to the life saving surgery, the surgery, and what life can be like for a newbie ostomate. Life’s an adventure for me, and my new life with my pungent pal “Percy” (stoma), well, there seems to be no end to reasons being created to laugh at myself and with life. Laughter is the best medicine, and wow, am I getting a heck of a dose of it.

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