I never realised how different it would be; sleeping with a stoma.
Sleeping in hospital and sleeping at home seem to be two very different things after having stoma surgery. It’s rarely comfortable; it’s likely you have a cannula in your arm and it’s not the quietest or calmest environment. It was only once I’d come home, I realised how difficult sleeping was going to be.
Pre surgery, I always slept on my stomach. One thing you cannot do with a stoma is sleep on your stomach which left me feeling a bit lost.
Sleeping with a stoma : straight after surgery
Like I wrote in the previous post, you’ll be attached to morphine when you come straight out of surgery so you’ll be on your back. I didn’t really find it much of an issue, rolling onto my stomach, mainly because there isn’t enough space and my body didn’t have the energy!
Once you’re home, it’s a tad bit different. To stop myself from rolling over I built a little pillow wall around me so I didn’t have the space to roll! It definitely worked and for the first month or so I managed to lie on my back.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the most comfortable but I think the effects of being so ill previously and recovering from surgery had me that knackered, I went straight to sleep!
Sleeping with a stoma : 8 months +
It was around the 6/8 month mark that I started to feel a lot more comfortable with my stoma. Because I was more comfortable, I started to sleep on my side a lot more. I tend to go for the side which doesn’t have my stoma so then if and when I end up rolling over, it’s not so bad! I tend to lie sort of diagonally; I’m not flat on stomach but I’m not straight on my side either if that makes sense!
Dealing with bag leaks in the night
Bag leaks are the worst. Bag leaks at night when you’re tired and groggy are even worse. But, you shouldn’t let it get you down (i know, a lot easier said than done). Here are a few tips to make the nightly bag leaks a little easier;
- Have bags pre cut; If you get your bags delivered by SecuriCare they will actually send them to you, cut to the size of your stoma! (I know, it’s so so great!). If your bags aren’t pre cut, make sure you have at least some ready in your bathroom. It just takes one less step out of the equation when you’re sleepy
- Have a small amount of supplies readily available; In my bathroom, I have a little box of supplies all ready for bag changes. I keep the majority of my supplies in a big drawer then just what I need in the bathroom otherwise you can get a bit overwhelmed!
- Don’t Panic; I really need to take this advice more. The key to an easy and successful bag change is to stay calm and not to get upset. Just think what you need to do, do it and then go back to sleep!
If your leaks are becoming a regular thing in the night, definitely get in touch with your stoma nurses because you might need to try changing the type of bags your using.
Tell me in the comments : How do you sleep with your stoma? Leave your tips in the comments