Hello again SecuriCare Blog readers!
I hope you’re all well and able to enjoy the magical festive season! I’ll be celebrating my 4th Ostomy Birthday on December 10 so it’s a particularly special time for me. For this month’s blog, I’ve decided to share my top 8 tips for how to have a successful Christmas and New Year period.
My 8 Top Tips For An Ostomy Friendly Festive Season:
1. Preparation, preparation, preparation
That old saying, “If you fail to prepare then you prepare to fail” is so true when the festive season is on its way, bringing limited access to GPs, chemists, ostomy supplies and hospital clinics.
I would always recommend that you have 1 month’s extra supplies ordered to arrive early so you’re covered for all the bank holidays and shortened hours, or potential weather disruptions like snow which could cause deliveries to be delayed. You should also order your repeat prescriptions prior to the rush, and book far in advance for any regular testing you might have, to ensure your care is continued over the holidays.
2. Don’t be a hero
Following on from being prepared, there are some things you just can’t see coming, e.g. an ostomy blockage. If you do get a blockage you’ll need to try to help it pass. See my past blog about dealing with a stoma blockage at home. My advice is to stop eating, increase your fluid intake and massage your abdomen and around your stoma. If that doesn’t work then I’d normally go for a hot bath and drink something fizzy to attempt to flush it out, I’d also put a hot water bottle under my back to ease any discomfort. The recommendation for ileostomates is to head to the hospital if you’ve had no output for 8 hours or if you’re in a lot of pain; even if that means missing out on festivities, you need to look after yourself!
3. Don’t eat foods you’d normally avoid, just to seem polite
If you know something is going to be painful to digest or cause a blockage then politely decline the offer and explain it doesn’t agree with you. Think of it this way: whoever offers the food would rather you say no than have you eat it and be unwell. After you’ve said no the first time, it should become easier to do as you realise it’s not a big deal. I say that with confidence as I’m from a family of feeders who pride themselves on being ‘the hosts with the most’ - my family are always cooking or bringing in treats!
4. Don’t spread yourself too thinly
It’s tempting to say yes to every exciting invitation but it’s important to ensure you have rest-time too so you can take care of your health and don’t end up run down. Sometimes saying no to a couple of things can be the difference between feeling great or being too exhausted to enjoy a special day.
5. Embrace the warmth and wrap up
No one wants to end up sick because they didn’t wrap up enough. I had a friend who didn’t wear appropriate clothing in winter and she ended up in hospital critically ill with pneumonia. Due to that, I usually wear winter coats from the beginning of September right through to May! In all seriousness, I actually prefer to wear multiple thin layers so I can take a few off if I get too warm, and they also trap heat better than just a single big layer.
6. Try to not indulge too much but indulge enough to really enjoy yourself!
I always try to follow this advice but usually fail miserably and spend Christmas night throwing up as I’ve eaten too many rich foods! I feel like this is one of those moments when the saying “do as I say, not as I do” applies! Haha.
7. Make sure you stay hydrated
This could tie in with tip 6 but I think it deserves its own point because alcohol is everywhere over the festive period. Alcoholic drinks don’t count as hydration so it’s wise to swap out every other alcoholic drink for water. Also, a pint of water before bed is a great way to minimise a hangover so not only will your ostomy be happy it’s hydrated, you should avoid a hangover-headache! Remember, you should always drink responsibly.
8. Roll with the punches
As with everything in life, there will be surprises or things you can’t plan for over the course of the holidays and we just have to roll with it, but if you’ve prepared for as much as possible then you should be able to relax and enjoy yourself.
I hope everyone has the best time over the festive period and I hope you have a happy and as healthy as possible New Year.