The rise of online

There are now many, many things we can do online. I order my ostomy supplies online. I make my GP appointments and request repeat prescriptions online. Our gas and electricity is supplied by a company that is online only. I interact with other IBD suffers (many of whom I have never met) via Facebook and the ia forum.

I am able to read the opinions and stories of other IBD sufferers via their blogs, or see there tweets and Instagram posts. And all of that is great.

If we stick with the UK for a moment, there are however a number of groups of people who can’t access the online world in the same way as me. Those living in rural areas for example who don’t have sufficient speed. And some older people (and I’m really not sure here what would count as older) are less confident or competent online. It is now not unheard of for websites to crash – Adele tickets anyone? – due to high demand, leaving the people on the phone very little chance of getting through.

And recently, it is not just websites that replace shops, but online clubs – a subscription service that makes a regular delivery – now seem to be on the rise. I myself have two current subscriptions – the following links will take you to the sites via my ‘recommend a friend’ links. The first is with Cornerstone for shaving supplies – I’ve been using them since November and am very pleased with the shave – and the second is with Flavourly for a monthly box of craft beer. I had a gift of a spicebox subscription for my birthday from the Spicery.

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I also recently tried out Musclefood.com after a friend recommended it – they deliver chilled meats and other high protein products. Because I am a bit of a social media floozy and I started liking these companies on various streams, I then started getting recommendations for other, similar sites. I have seen at least one other shaving club, several beer clubs and another protein/ meat website.

This is on top of gin, cheese, chocolate and charcuterie clubs. As a business model, I guess  it makes sense – cheap premises, easy access (via the net) for your customers. And so far I have not been disappointed. IT does mean that our high street is having to change – if you can order everything online, why would you leave your house? It is a little scary, exciting and – when my mobility was limited post operatively – very useful.

Is there anything you wouldn’t buy online?

 

 

Recovery: Week Seven

Recovery continues, but seems to have slowed down which is frustrating. Although at a fairly moderate level, the pain where my anus was removed and where the hole is now healing is pretty constant, and worse than it was a few weeks ago. I do have a photo but I’m not sure I’m ready to share it yet! If I can work out how to hide it perhaps I will.

I have been able to start driving again, but to be honest haven’t really felt like going anywhere. Am being seen by surgical team again on Friday, but I know it’s healing – just slowly.

So bit of a boring post really, no exciting news – good for me but not great for blog content!

A small set back…

So there has been a minor set back with my recovery and I am back in hospital.

On Friday I noticed that my stoma output was slowing down, so stopped taking my Loperamide and tried to cut back on the opoid pain killers. This continued through Saturday with the addition of abdominal pain which was cramping, so at about 23:45 I called the NHS 111 service and sat up waiting for a call back. When I’d not heard back by 2am, and things getting worse, I decided it was time to got to A&E.

As we got into the car 111 called, we did the assessment and agreed A&E was the place to go. So we rocked up at about 2:15am. A&E is an interesting place on a Saturday night, a good mix of the ill and the drunk, plus the concerned friends spreading the word on Facebook and riling up boyfriends.

I’m not going to lie, there was a bit of a wait. I was then seen about 4am, and taken through. They agreed with my thinking – that I had a partial small bowel obstruction – and so the plan was fluids, painkillers and anti sickness. Whilst we were waiting for that, I was sick which was probably for the best.

It was agreed that I would be admitted to the surgical assessment unit, who had a bed going, but would need an X-Ray first. There was then a short delay for a power cut and getting a porter out of a lift, and so I made it the ward about 7.30.

After doing the admission survey about my will and being tagged, I then slept for most of Sunday! Had a visit from my mother and wife in the late afternoon, and a little emotional moment knowing that baby Jonah was downstairs but I couldn’t go down to see him. To be fair there was a family room available on the ward, but we decided not to bring him up, and I was pretty tired by then anyway. I did Skype him a bit later on which was nice.

So more sleep, and today (Monday) things seem to be going in the right direction. Stoma is more active (although not fully) and I am now allowed to eat and drink a bit. If I am sick again, then I’ll need an NG tube which I’d like to avoid if I can! Now waiting for my consultant to be informed I am here, and may then be transferred back to his care.

Will either write, or find and share, a post about bowel obstructions and ileostomies for you all!

The Day We Caught the Train…

So I recently trieds getting the train to work. My commute is about 24 miles, and would take about 45 minutes if there was no traffic. Sadly, there is lots of traffic, and I regularly queue at various junctions, roundabouts and places where two lanes become one. There is also the issue of parking – not enough spaces for the all of the people. I checked out the Car Sharing scheme, but none had exactly the same journey, and going ino Bath would make the journey even longer.

So I decided to check out the train. The journey was 1 hour 15 minutes, so a little longer, but I would be able to read, or sleep, or make use of my much neglected 3DS. It costs more – £12 for a day return, and as it was a horrible wet day, a few pounds to park at the station too.

The train was on time, and not too busy, so I quickly found a seat. Then I encountered problem number 1.

I’m 6’2″, and most of that is in my legs. It was not comfortable. There were some seats in bicycle storage areas which would have given me more leg room, but these were, eventually, used for bicycle storage.

I voiced my view on Twitter (see above) and was pleasenetly surprised to get a reply:

As First Great Western seemed to be up and about early, I decided to ask about the onboard facilities. This was something I should have thought about before I boarded to be honest, but as I hadn’t, I decided to test Jess’s knowledge of the rolling stock.

Now as it happens I didn’t need the facilities – on the way to or back from work, but I wonder what the Train Manager might have come up with? Any thoughts?

So, I have ruled out the train as a way of getting to work ona regular basis for me – too expensive, too uncomfortable, and no toilet. And no rum and coke or dirty jokes – in fact hardly anyone said a word.

This post is part of a series telling my #StomaStory. Please share it, and if you’d like to donate to Crohn’s & Colitis UK and the Ileostomy Association, you can via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RichardHarris19

First leak!

Washing Machine

Washing Machine

… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death & taxes.

Benjamin Franklin

Until you have an ileostomy, and then you can be sure of one other thing – the occasional leak. This morning’s leak was small, but did result in a change of bed sheets. Thankfully it was at about 7.30am rather than the middle of the night. So what do I mean by leak, and how does it happen?

Well what I mean is that the base plate or flange of the bag has come away from the skin, allowing the contents to escape. This could be because the bag has been on too long and the adhesive has failed, hair has not allowed the adhesive to bond to the skin (I have to shave around my stoma regularly) or the bag has got too full and heavy either with stool or gas has pulled the flange away from the skin.

As I said, this mornings was just a small leak. When you get a big one, it can mean whole bed changes, or, if it happens in the day time, full clothing changes – although usually in the daytime you can feel it’s happening and rush to the toilet to change the bag!

Hopefully they won’t be too regular a feature…

 

This post is part of a series telling my #StomaStory. Please share it, and if you’d like to donate to Crohn’s & Colitis UK and the Ileostomy Association, you can via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RichardHarris19

Fundraising launch!

In May 2004 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I didn’t really know then what it was, and in August of that year I was admitted to hospital when a severe attack took hold. After several weeks and lots of drugs, my colon was removed, leaving me with a stoma, and using an ileostomy bag to collect my poo.

The next year I had an internal pouch formed, and had several months of further problems, and eventually further surgery. Things were good for a while, but in recent years I have had problems with abscesses, fistulas and infection, and some other related unpleasant side effects. Tonight I walked around our close with my son trick or treating, and when I got back I was in pain and bleeding.

So the surgeons have been consulted, and the pouch is going to go – in January. Well, that will be the first step.

I’m going to be blogging about this surgery and recovery, and filling in what has happened to reach this point. Inspired in part by the #getyourbellyout campaign, I’m going to be fundraising as I do this awareness raising for two charities that have given me support over the years – The Ileostomy & Internal Pouch Support Group (the ia) and Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

If you’d like to make a donation, you can visit my fundraising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RichardHarris19

If you have any questions about what is going on, then please leave me a comment or get in touch via Twitter.