On this page I thought it would be a fun idea to list a few tips for us BCIR people based on my experiences over the years. Remember to ask you doc before attempting any of these helpful BCIR Information & Tips.
Survival Tip #1 Stash Your Tubes! In order to make sure you’re never without your catheter, hide back-up tubes in your work bathroom, in your car, book bag/ briefcase, and parents house. No one knows what it is, if they find it ask, “What is that?”
Survival Tip #2 ACE Hardware can save the day! It’s happened to me a few times… Left the house for a day of fun on the weekend, I’m an hour away from home, and it hits me, “I forgot my catheter!” What do I do? The medical supply stores are closed, no hospitals around, 2 hours lost if we go back home…. Well, on many occasions, ACE has saved the day, or any hardware store. The process I do is simple. Ask where the plastic tubing is located. Find the exact size and malleability of my usual catheter (if unsure, I just go smaller). Cut off a foot. Go to the tools section, and find a file sold loose (not in a wrapper). File down the ends of the tube to smooth. To double check, run it across your tongue to make sure it is smooth. Put file back. Buy the tube (.29 cents). And then ask where the bathroom is located, wash tube, then ready to use. Boom! I’m good to go! This whole process takes me about 5 minutes.
Survival Tip #3 Got a Date? Try to schedule the movie first then dinner to avoid any bloating during the movie. Going out for a drink after? Drink wine or liquor, stay away from the beer as it will also cause some bloating and may pull you away from your date.
Survival Tip #4 Cipro on Hand I learned to recognize the signs of pouchitis and I keep Cipro on hand. I will call my doctor and just let them know I want to stock pile a cycle of Cipro. This could really save some headaches when traveling. I follow the directions as prescribed, and remember I have to taper off and only use if I’m 100% sure I have pouchitis. If I can get a hold of my doctor, then I try that route first, but as BCIR veteran, I know the signs, and I’m prepared without having to call my doctor every time.
Survival Tip #5 Minor Bleeding If I have minor bleeding at the stoma, maybe because the catheter went in too rough, and though rare, there are natural coagulants out there that can help in the meantime. I throw some baking soda on there or turmeric if I have it in the house. If bleeding persists, I call the doctor.
Survival Tip #6 Know what Doctors you Really Need Keep in mind, your insurance may only cover a portion of the BCIR surgery. On the first day in your hospital room, write a nice banner to put on your door as to who is allowed in your room. For instance, there’s a psychologist that will poke his beak in your room to see if he can offer some support, and unless you want that, kick him out, they wont come out and tell you you’re paying for every minute he makes you feel sorry for yourself. I would only allow my primary doctor and the awesome nurses in there. Same goes for the drug guy, unless you want to pay him everyday to stop by, send him/her on their way. Your primary doctor can get you sleeping pills just as easy or whatever it is you need.
Survival Tip #7 Visceral Manipulation The only real issue I had a few months after surgery were due to adhesions. Adhesions are fibrous bands that form between tissues and organs, often as a result of surgery. They may be thought of as internal scar tissue. They caused blockages and severe pain as it kinks some of your new plumbing and can be very dangerous. These things could send you back under the knife, for this is usually the doctor’s only suggestion. What really saved my life was finding someone who does visceral manipulation. Usually people who do Rolfing or even some massage therapists are trained in visceral manipulation. It took me maybe 4 treatments to solve my problem and no need for another surgery, surgery that will eventually create new adhesions. It’s obviously important to tell the person doing the treatment everything about the surgery, how it works, etc. Basically, they feel where the pressure is from the scar bands and massage the area and in affect stretch the bands to create some slack and reduce the pull on your intestines thus decreasing blockages.
Survival Tip #8 Going Hiking Going out for a nice day in the woods? Though you should have water anyway, make sure you have plenty to wash your tube if you have to go. If you can pack it, hand sanitizer will be ideal to bring along. For me, I do without the fruit before and during the hike, expect lots of gas and bloating if you bring along an apple.
Survival Tip #9 You’ve Stunk up the Bathroom Though it’s just a fact of life: Poop stinks, but our poop usually stinks a little more. If you blow up the bathroom, some ways to help with the smell at your girlfriends house is to search the cabinets for household cleaners. Some good ones are Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, perfume, hair spray, or some 409, are great ways to hide the smell. Just spray in the air, or squirt some in the toilet bowl. Boom!
Survival Tip #10 Maintenance Poo’s Just like when your mom would tell you to go to the bathroom before you would leave on a trip, the same goes for us today! If there is an intermission between that 4 hour play and you don’t have to go, just go anyway. Never fails, if you skip it, the second you sit down, you’ll feel some bloating set in. Stop to get gas on a long drive, pop in the bathroom and see of you can release some gas yourself while you’re stopped. A connecting flight? Make the stop at the can either way, you’ll be thankful you did!