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Handling Awkward Questions from Children About an Ostomy

I became a Nana this year to the gorgeous Jackson James, but I have been a step-Nana for over a year, and in that time, there have been a few unexpected moments.

One such moment was when I was out with my Aunt and her granddaughters (ages 4 & 7), and I needed to empty my bag. This was fine; however, her granddaughters wanted the toilet, too, and she suggested they go in with me.

Changes since having my bladder removed

With a bladder, this has never been a problem – all girls together, so to speak. However, it was the first time since having my bladder removed that I had company, and I was understandably a little anxious over what questions would arise. My Aunt and I hadn’t even discussed how we would deal with any issues; she told me to go with the flow.

Both girls went first, and then it came to my turn. I lifted my skirt and pulled my bag out. Granddaughter 1 (the 4-year-old) was immediately interested in why I wasn’t sitting down to pee, which in turn raised questions from the 7-year-old who loudly informed me that she “had seen my willy.”

I was mortified but wanted to explain calmly

I was mortified, but I also wanted to handle this calmly and sensitively, so I started the conversations with “Remember when I was very ill and had an operation?” They both nodded, so I explained simply that my bladder, the bit that holds our pee, wasn’t working and needed to come out. Because of this, I now had a bladder on the outside of my body which works just like their bladder does, but I don’t get to “feel” I need to pee, and I just touch the bag to see how full it is. This satisfied their curiosity.

“Going to pee” or “going to empty my bag”?

At lunch, I went to empty my bag again, and they asked why I didn’t say “I’m going to pee,” or “I need the toilet.” That got me thinking. I now don’t say, “I need the toilet” or that “I have to pee.” I always say that I am going to “empty my bag.” What do you say? Am I the only one who says “empty my bag,” or do you say that as well?

My step-grandsons have just accepted my bag and often burst into the toilet when I am emptying my bag. One of them thinks it’s hilarious, and the other isn’t interested in the slightest. Funny how both genders are different.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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