Friday, April 27, 2012

I follow a woman's blog and facebook page who has a permanent ostomy just like me. She recently posted about an article she found that discussed banning people with ostomies from public swimming pools. Here is a snippet from that article:

Question: We have a person who wants to go swimming and has a colostomy bag. Has anyone ever dealt with this or do you have a policy in your facility about this issue?

RAC Background: We thought long and hard about this. The public parks and recreation agency that is asking the question is in Illinois and this question was asked by Terri Smith of Water Designs in Salt Lake City. Obviously, pool maintenance and patron safety are factors to be weighed. But the ADA makes it clear a pool operator cannot make a decision based on a fear or suspicion, but only on objective fact. With that in mind, here is the answer we sent to Terri.

RAC answer
: Here are some thoughts. We suggest this is a good discussion between staff, the participant, and the swimmer’s doctor or physician’s assistant. Simply explain that the agency has never adopted a policy one way or the other and ask to sit down and talk about the issue. Start by asking questions about colostomy and focus on bag and seal integrity. In our opinion that’s really what this is about.

We did some research and some successful tactics used included:

First, limit swim time to 30 to 40 minutes. Water changes the wax seal around the ostomy and it loses its effectiveness. The swimmer must bring a second bag and be able to install it after swimming.

Second, swimmers should wear baggy suits and cover both the ostomy (the opening) and the bag.

Finally, someone smarter than us about aquatics ought to talk about cheek wash and compare daily cheek wash loads to the typical amount of fecal matter that leaks when the integrity of a colostomy bag or seal is breached. That’s above our pay grade, but we would love to hear the discussion.

My response is.... First of all I refuse to ask permission to swim in a public pool wearing my ostomy bag and if someone decides to make a federal case out of it, I will gladly remove the bag and swim without it. The stupidity of people who make decisions by talking out of their ass is amazing to me!

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