I think most of ostomates have had our share of bad experiences in the emergency room. We all know the difficulty in getting our care on the weekends, nights and times when our doctors just simply are not available. Our stomas do not choose the right times to misbehave and our digestive systems can’t decide for themselves when the right time is to have a bowel obstruction or another problem. I know I certainly have had my experiences both bad and some good in the emergency room as well as urgent care. My experience as well as experiences that I have heard from many Ostomates have been that many if not most primary care and emergency room physicians do not have adequate training to deal with urgent matters pertaining to our ostomies. They just simply are not trained in the care of ostomates as a whole.
I think I’m having a bad attitude this week coming from my two Emergency room visits already this week. Yes that’s already this week and it is only Tuesday. And no just in case you were wondering this is not my typical. I have had issues with severe abdominal pain and several hematomas on my abdomen. Problems with a parastomal hernia. I was told that they just simply do not know what to do with me. I needed to see my surgeon. This is common practice because I am a very complicated case and I do understand that I need to go to the mayo clinic to get my care. It becomes very frustrating for me to not have care close to home when I need it the most which is usually nights and weekends. 😩I think I could write a whole Other blog post on why it is that our stomas have decided to act up nights and weekends LOL.
So what is it like to be a patient in the emergency room when you have an ostomy? It’s scary because you never know what to expect. Quite often you can expect to have a lot of testing done. Most of the time for sure there will be blood work and an IV will get started along with fluids and many times a CT scan of your abdomen. Very rarely even if you were having pain ““In your stoma “” which isn’t even possible by the way it has to be around your stoma they will not look at your stoma, so you really most likely will not have to take your bag off. This is kinda nice, saves a bag change.
The Emergency room takes a long time to get anything accomplished. I imagine this is because they have a lot of patients, many of whom are emergent hence the name emergency room. I didn’t really mean that as a joke Lol. I think it appears that many people who have Ostomies over use the emergency room however many times urgent care will not treat people with an ostomy Because there are so many objectives and complications that can be involved. Finding care when you have an emergent probem is an issue. I know my biggest issue has been with frequent bowel obstructions. The only place that I can go to get diagnosis and care for this is the ER.
Overall, nobody wants to go to the ER ever in their life. But I have a few tips for those ostomates who have to make that trip and some things you can do just in case you ever have to because chances are you might.
1. Pack a bag a bag to stay a few nights when you go. No it’s not a jinx. You hopefully won’t have to stay but you’ll be glad you brought a few essentials along if you do end up staying.
2. Bring something to do. Even if your puking your guts out or in so much pain you don’t know what’s what bring something. Maybe some headphones or ear buds to listen to music on your phone.
3. Always bring a phone charger.
4. Phone a friend or family member to be with you if you can.
✌️hope that was helpful