It’s the most wonderful time of the year, they say. But is it?
Of course, it is! But whether you’re a "Bah Humbug" or a "Buddy the Elf" I think most people can identify with the need for a "Christmas Survival Guide" to help ease us through all those endless tasks, stresses, and strains. However, living life with a stoma or catheter means we have even more to remember and navigate at this time of year.
Over the last few blogs with Vyne, I’ve covered some of the important issues that can dominate our lives unless we find a better way of dealing with them and, even then, they aren’t all foolproof. We all continue to learn on the job irrespective of how long it’s been. So, pop the kettle on and put your feet up for a few minutes because I've put together a handy guide of essential advice. Hopefully, this leaves you more time to spend on Christmas shopping, mince pie eating, TV guide planning – or whatever it is you love the most.
Merry Christmas everyone, how ever you do it – do it good.
The time for friends and family
Visting family and friends over Christmas is often a mandatory job. I'm sure most of us have experienced family tension with in-laws or those who can outstay their welcome at some point in our lives!
But for Ostomates it goes a lot deeper than that, as I've mentioned before if you remember the second blog I covered visiting family and friends. We all know how stressful this can be when you have stoma that likes to ‘talk’ whenever it chooses, then there’s the odours and the bag changes too.
I really believe the best way to deal with this is head-on. Have a chat either face to face or via email with whoever it is you're visiting and explain your embarrassment. It’s usually more understood than you think.
That being said – for your peace of mind, don’t forget to take your sprays, a nappy bin & a bed cover.
Planning ahead for supplies
This is the big one! We eat all sorts of rich foods at Christmas and it is AMAZING how many bags you can get through with those pesky mince pies!
To tide you over through the festive period, I recommend that you order an extra box of bags. If this is an issue with your GP then getting a delivery date of your supplies as close to Christmas would be hugely beneficial.
On top of that, make sure you have Vyne's Customer Care number stuck to your fridge door for any emergencies from supplies to medical advice. You can ring the Vyne team on 020 3987 7560 right up until 4pm on Christmas Eve, then they'll be back on Wednesday 29th December.
Festive food & fizz
Speaking of mince pies... C’mon, admit it! The food is probably one of the best parts of Christmas.
A lot of the foods aren’t going to be that friendly to us Ostomates, in fact, they can become foe! It’s not uncommon to get it wrong either, so if you find yourself contacting out of hours advice - don't worry. We all do it!
My advice is to be prepared and stock up on over the counter medications, have the number for the Customer Care team to hand and try to resist third helpings. I promise, it isn’t always worth it.
Self-care over Christmas
Christmas is often a time of giving, but it's important that we remember to be as kind to ourselves as we are to other people.
Whichever way you spend it, make sure you reach out to someone if you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or lonely.
If you feel like you need it, you can always reach out to services like the Samaritans by calling 116 123.
Vyne's Customer Care team are here right up until 4pm Christmas Eve - so if you want to talk about any worries facing Christmas with your stoma or catheter, give us a call on 020 3987 7560.
If you haven't yet placed your order, please call us by Thursday 16th December and we'll make sure it's with you before the festivities begin.