I was back at the colorectal surgery clinic this afternoon so they could take a look at the slow-healing incision around my stoma. The good news is there is no sign of infection and, after we cleaned it up, they were satisfied that it’s on its way to healing—albeit slowly. They also removed the stitch (which had been getting stuck in (and pulled by) the appliance wafer) and snipped off a piece of skin/scab that was floating around in the wound. Although this will hopefully promote healing and lessen some of my pain, the bad news is that there is no instantaneous fix for the wound issue. It’s just going to take time to heal. And it’s almost certainly going to hurt in the meantime. On the mostly useless pain scale every hospital uses, my current pain level is a 7 or 8 (though fortunately not constant), which is as bad as it’s been since the hospital. Not super fun.
My basic care protocol for the incision is to clean it out really well during each appliance change (which will be easiest to do in the shower), dry it completely, and then fill the “gaps” in the incision with stoma powder before applying the new appliance. She also gave me Eakin Seals to use instead of stoma paste, because they offer similar skin protection, but don’t contain alcohol, which can irritate the raw skin. Unfortunately, they’re also not as flexible as the paste, and I think the rigidity is causing me some discomfort when I twist or turn the “wrong” way. We’ll see how it goes, but I may end up switching back to the paste (as long as you let it de-gas to allow the alcohol to evaporate, I’ve never had much problem with skin irritation). In time, the wound will supposed heal from the inside out and the pain should go away. Fortunately, the stoma itself is in good shape and I’m not having any issues with leakage, blockage, etc. (knock on wood). One complication is more than enough.
So no miracle cure—just reassurance that nothing is catastrophically wrong. And now we deal with it. And wait.