Thursday, 28 April 2016

9 pm thoughts. Posted after 9 pm, of course.

I took a bunch of personal photos when I still had a stoma. It helped me accept the fact that I looked differently from the way I was born. It's not that the stoma ever really bothered me; it helped to keep me alive when my born-with gut couldn't. It was survival, and I was grateful. Honestly. Even with the scars that come with the emergency bowel resection, I was grateful.

I deleted those pictures. I thought that I didn't need them.

I was wrong.

For those new to the blog, I'm currently recovering from an ostomy reversal. It's major surgery, but the end result is "normal" bowel function. No more stoma. I spent over a year collecting faeces in a pouch attached to my waist, but that's done now. Life will be more or less back to normal in a few weeks. That's a good thing.

But man, I wish that I had those photos.

I might have helped people, you see. I could have shown that an ostomy pouch is nothing to be ashamed of (why on earth be ashamed anyway?). I could have shown curious online searchers that a stoma wasn't weird or gross.

The pictures are gone, though.


Tonight I took a series of shots --just with the phone -- showing how to apply an ostomy pouch. It was with supplies I won't use now, and I put it over the dressing that still covers my slightly-weepy former stoma site. It was partly out of guilt, yes, but partly because I think that I have some help to give even without a stoma. I may post them on instagram tomorrow if a night's reflection doesn't make them too cringe-worthy, but even if they are I think that I'll save them for a while this time. Just as well.

I don't really want another Damn just now, if that's ok with everyone.

Where I work

No, I'm not officially back yet, but I did go for a walk (in the wind) today. Here's a couple of things I noticed:

Just going down the path.

Neat lichens, tree.

Windy out on the West Lake.

Silver Berry (Wolf Willow) leaves.

Thin-legged Wolf Spider

Balsam Poplar bud.

No blather today, though. Time for me to find some lunch.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Pointless something or other:

Ok, 'll be honest. I've been sitting here chair dancing to music as I wandered around the internet, and I really haven't even bothered to think of a blather. Here's more yard stuff, then.

I've been making use of the 50 mm prime lens this past week, and while it's obvious that these aren't much more than snapshots they still remind me how much fun it is to use an actual camera instead of a phone. The phone has its place, of course (you NEVER see phone pics here at all, oh no), but no phony filters match up to an SLR. And the bokeh with this lens is just my thing, you know?

I was going to say ok, on with the growing things, but I remembered something else that I wanted to say. I got a surprising amount of views of my incision photo the other day. Idle curiosity for the most part, I know, but it was still nice to see people tuning in all the same. Maybe I'll set up the tripod and take a proper shot once the bandage is off the stoma site, just to be completely informative.

Or gross people out. Whichever.

Ok, now on with the growing things:

Anemone buds

High Bush-cranberry



European Mountain Ash (Rowan)

Yeah, more Saskatoon. The flower buds are coming in now.

Spruce buds

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Pointless Bad Cat photo of the day:

I love how he just poses before I yell at him for being on the table.

Lunch time, but I'll say quickly that yesterday was two more small things in the whole big recovery thing. No more packing in my former stoma site (yay), and I slept in the bed last night rather than the recliner. Comfortable? Not especially, but I did sleep, at least.

Baby steps, I guess.

Later, all.

Friday, 22 April 2016

More Prairie Crocus... and something else

Prairie Crocus, or Pasqueflower, is one of my favourite things in the spring, so I tend to take a lot of photos of them when they come up in the yard. Here's a few (more).

After that there's one more photo that I'll put behind a jump for those of you who are accessing the blog by the home page. For those who came via the post link, just don't scroll all the way down if you're disgusted by bodies for some reason. I'm not, personally, but to each his/her own.

Ok, nice purple flowers:

One non-flower after the jump:

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Things in the yard

So, today I got the last of my staples out, Queen Elizabeth II turns 90, and Prince died at 57. You can rearrange those three things in order of importance to you, I suppose.

I'm not in a blathery mood again today, so here's the last of the yard photos I took the other day. Time to go out and get some new ones, I guess.

The Two-spot Ladybird Beetle is a native species here.

The Seven-spot, however, isn't. It was released as biological pest control, and it's the one you see the most of now. Has it become a pest itself? There's still some argument about that.

A bit fuzzy since I had a short lens on, but here's a Red-breasted Nuthatch hiding seeds in the bark of a spruce tree.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Pointless cat photos of the day:

No blather today. Maybe tomorrow. For now, though, here's the Turkey Brothers again because I'm sure that you missed them:

Bob through the window when I was outside taking plant pictures.

This is the usual bird watching face.

Kind of a cheesy Cosmo pose, Tom?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Was I too quiet?

I was recently contacted via twitter by a group (person? Person trying to form a group?) wondering if I'd be interested, as an ostomate -- well, former ostomate -- in doing some advocacy. I haven't replied because it was a cancer-based group, and my ostomy had nothing to do with cancer. It got me to wondering, though: should I have talked more about ostomy before this reversal operation? I did occasionally, but mostly I didn't feel like constantly seeing myself typing about my stoma.

I did think of posting some photos of it, to be honest. Even took some. Decided that if the world didn't know what a stoma was and what it was for, the world could bloody well google it.

Might it have helped someone if I had talked more about it? There's lots of people out there who do, and there's lots of support for people who want it. I guess for me it went against the grain a bit. For the longest time I kept the blog and my internet self almost as impersonal as you possibly can, because I didn't think it was important to speak out about much of anything. To be honest, I'm still very much that way, and even though I'm around here (on occasion) and on twitter and instagram, I'm certainly not doing it to set the world on fire.

Maybe I should have, though. Maybe I should have posted photos of my stoma and of me wearing a pouch. It's not like it would have bothered me, particularly. I just didn't think it was necessary. Should I post pictures of my surgical scars when things have healed a little more and I'm not a walking ad for steri-strips (most of the staples are out now, thank goodness. Just a few at the former stoma site left)?

We'll see. You're more likely to get flowers and spiders here, I think, but we'll see.

Before I leave you with the flowers part, I'll just end by saying that when I had my initial surgery (for a diverticulitis-related rupture, not colorectal cancer), I was dealing with things well enough that my ET nurse suggested that once I was out of the hospital I should consider volunteering with new stoma patients to offer support and let them know how things work. I thought she was slightly out of her tree at the time because I hadn't yet found out how I was going to deal with things. Well, I lived with it for a year and four-and-a-bit months, and now? I\m honestly thinking about the volunteer idea. I had some bad days, yes, but far more good days. And really, even the bad days could be of some value, right?

I'll keep you posted. Now, though, flowers:


More Forsythia

Grape Hyacinth almost ready to open

Early Blue Violet, one of our earliest wildflowers. One of my favourites, too.

Monday, 18 April 2016


Ok, ladies, I want to ask you something. And no, this isn't meant to be a Jerry Seinfeld imitation.

What's the deal with women and handbags?

I could have also said what's the deal with women and shoes, since the stereotypical portrayal of both generally has me feeling like I'm not actually a woman, somehow.

In this culture, anyway.

Shoes? I care if they fit, if they're comfortable, and if they won't bother my ankle. That's it. I'm completely not the market for those internet cheap shoe sites, because I wouldn't care if your cute shoes (boots, sandals, slippers, whatever) are only thirty dollars a pair. Do they fit, are they comfortable, do they bother my ankle? No? Then I don't buy.

Same thing goes with bags. I carry a bag/purse, yes. I never pay more than $30 if I can help it, and I change them out... when they die. That's right. I don't do seasonal or cute or designer (especially not designer); I do practical. Does it fit my stuff, and can I wear it sling-style? Ok, we're good.

Recently my black leather cross-shoulder mini backpack ($24.95, on sale) tore through its poorly-designed strap (ok, I may have had a little extra weight in it, what with packing to stay at Dad's for a while after the surgery) and I found myself purseless in a place where I couldn't even temporarily grab an old bag. Um, unless one or two of Mom's are still tucked in a corner somewhere. Anyway, I didn't think of that at the time, so I tried just jamming my keys, phone, and wallet in coat pockets whenever we went somewhere.

That's a pain in the butt, you know, when you're used to carrying a bag.

Anyway (again), we went to the local trade fair a few days ago, and one of the booths was selling bags like the one you see above. Yep, I bought a Guatemalan bag at a fair that was supposed to be featuring/supporting local businesses.


Anyway (the third), it's a nice woven cotton bag that I'm going to have to round up a pencil case or two to help organise, but at least it's a bag. I generally try to get things that are no bigger than I need so it's going to be a challenge not to stuff this one accidentally, but I'll do my best. Fashion-wise? It has no fashion, unless you count neo-hippy. Price? Within my usual. Cute?

I suppose that's in the eye of the beholder. I like it, though, and that's all that matters in the end.

It could easily hold an extra pair of shoes, I guess.

If I was into that.


More yard photos tomorrow, probably, but I thought I'd leave you with this prairie crocus or pasqueflower that was blooming today in amongst the overgrown grass. That's one of my favourite shades of purple in the world, by the way.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Around the yard

Had to go to emergency today (don't panic -- it's a small town, and they use their emergency department kind of like a walk-in clinic on weekends) because the home care nurse was concerned that my incision is reddening. It's probably just irritation from the staples, though. They ended up taking out half of the staples and started me on a precautionary antibiotic in case it's the start of an infection. No big deal.

Why did I even mention it?

Well, the next time you complain about Canada's health care system -- and I'm not saying that it's perfect by any means, because it isn't -- just remember this:

  • I have a home care nurse to check on my healing and change my dressing.
  • I had the option of going to a no-fee emergency clinic instead of having to wait until regular office hours tomorrow.
  • I've been looked after long before the chance of an actual emergency.

We take too much of this stuff for granted, folks. You know that we do.


No more blather from me today, so since I do have a bunch of photos taken with an actual camera instead of a potato (as one of my coworkers calls cameraphones), let's take a look at what's budding in Dad's yard:

Red-osier Dogwood leaf buds


Prairie Crocus (pasqueflower) flower bud


Saskatoon leaves

More Saskatoon

Soon to be a tulip, if the deer don't eat it first

Believe it or not I have even more new pictures, but you're not getting them all at once since I'll still be around a computer for a few more days at least.

You'll get so tired of actually hearing from me...

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Pointless cat photo of the day:

Bob's weird about laser pointers. He isn't fooled: he knows what makes the dot, knows what drawer the pointer is in (and you'd better be planning to play red dot for at least a bit if you go into the drawer for something else, because he'll come running), and knows that he'll never catch the dot.

He doesn't care. It's still his favourite toy.

This was from this morning. I've been sleeping in the recliner because it's still a little tough to sleep flat, and I've been (foolishly, I guess) putting my glasses in the same drawer as the laser pointer. I get my glasses out in the morning; the cat comes running because he's decided that it's red dot time.


Wound update time now, I suppose. The main incision has healed up to the point that the staples are starting to irritate the skin, and I'm hoping that they don't wait until the surgeon's date of Tuesday before they remove them and go steri-strip instead. As for the stoma site, which was left partly open so that the remaining cavity could drain as it closed up, it's draining so much less that I have hopes of IT being steri-stripped too, soon. It'd be nice to not have to worry about dressings. Thank goodness for Home Care, though. It means that I don't have to make my way to a clinic or office every morning for the daily packing change.

That's it for now, I suppose. I'm hoping to get out with the camera (real camera, not phone) this afternoon for a while, so you may not be getting a daily cat-in-living-room photo EVERY time.


Friday, 15 April 2016

Pointless cat photo of the day:

This is what it looks like within 0.5 seconds of opening the window blinds first thing in the morning.

I used to be able to use that table for things.

Other than cat bums, I mean.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

I seriously never get to use my afghan

Nothing much new on the health front to add today; moving is a little easier, the draining former stoma site is a little less drainy, etc., etc.

I'm eating easier today, though. For the first few days after the better part of a week on a fluid diet your stomach takes approximately a bite and a half or food before it feels full. Good for weight loss, I suppose, but not so good for nutrition. Things are coming along now, so I can't complain much..

Just for fun, let's end with a shot of the same afghan that I took while I was recovering from the first operation in late November of 2014. Would you say that the boys grew a little?


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

A little spring colour

Early Blue Violets are always some of our earliest (thus the name) wildflowers in Alberta. I always look forward to them.

Let's see, what else...

Oh yeah. I had surgery. I got through surgery. I got sent home (well, to Dad's for a bit) yesterday.

Things are ok. I'm sore and tired and very good at napping, and as of late this morning I have a real answer when the medical professionals ask me if I've had a bowel movement. Erm, your bowels stop working for a while after surgery. And if you try to make them work too soon by, say, eating too heavily, you get to find out what reverse peristalsis is.

I'll let you look that one up for yourselves.

The thing's working now, though. Welcome back to the system, rectum. Repeatedly. TMI? TDB, I figure.

Anyway, I've been sitting here for a while now, so it's probably time to go back upstairs and laze in the recliner for a while. Just wanted my two fans who may not have been keeping track of my daily meals on twitter to know that things went fine, and now it all comes down to healing.


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Pointless photo of the however long:

 Thought I'd go for extremely pointless, considering.

So... countdown to me being in the hospital, for those who may have forgotten. Today, diet restrictions. Tomorrow, purging and liquids. Thursday? Scalpel...

Yeah, that's right. I'm doing self-surgery.

Anyway, this is where I'd normally say that I'm disappearing for a while, but with today's technology that all depends on how good the wifi is. Oh, and how I'm feeling, of course. I may show up out of boredom, in other words.

Today, though, I'm just going to leave you with the random wtf to the left, and the squirrel making use of my dad's squirrel feeder below. And why the squirrel?

It just seemed like a squirrel kind of day, that's all.

Later, folks.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Pointless off-season flowers of the day:

Nice of the amaryllis to flower BEFORE my surgery, though.

That's all for today. I hate posting by phone.

Friday, 1 April 2016

First spider photo of spring

Here's a Thin-legged Wolf Spider I found on the path at work a little while ago.

First spider photo of spring. Yay!

For those of you sticking up your noses at a perfectly nice spider, I'll say that I also saw some ducks and a Mourning Cloak butterfly.

They were ok, but I liked the spider better.
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