Conference 2014

Rotorua 1-3 August 2014

"Giving up should not be an option"

Conference began Friday evening with Powhiri and a welcome from the Mayor of Rotorua, followed by nibbles.
The theme of the conference was "Giving up should not be an option" and this was evidenced by several of the speakers, Dame Susan Devoy was very entertaining in her accounts of leaving New Zealand thinking she was a pretty hot squash player and finding once in Europe that she wasn't even warm, but she didn't give up and kept struggling until wins started to come. Another story of struggle was Aisha Te Kani, a young lady who was born with her heart on the outside of her chest.
A very interesting speaker was Doug Graham from Canada who told of all the things he was told he would not be able to do as an ostomate and he did them anyway, this brought to mind my being told that I couldn't go up a ladder to change the ballcock on my water tank "because you have an ostomy". I also remembered someone who after having an ileostomy in 1951 was told by surgeons that he would not be able to ride a motorbike ever again, so he went grass track racing to prove them wrong. "Giving up should not be an option"
Dr Mark Omundsen, a surgeon from Waikato hospital gave a presentation on a surgical regime they are trialling called ERAS (enhanced recovery after surgery). This has high relevance to bowel surgery given that 20% to 50% of bowel cancer operations have post op complications.
Some of the things they are doing include
No bowel prep (If only they had known about this in time for my op)
Fluid and carb loading before op
Using an epidural where possible rather than a general anaesthetic
Eat and drink the night after the operation, (so no sucking ice for a week) with free drinks and a sandwich offered 4 hours after the op
Full solid diet starting the day after the op
Less IV fluids as this has proved beneficial
A target of 8 hours out of bed the day after the op with at least 4 ten minute walks and sitting in a chair.
The benefits of ERAS include hospital stay reduction of around two days, the patients are more comfortable and happier so recover faster and a saving of about $7000.00 per operation.
There was a brief presentation from the Auckland and North harbour societies who are hosting the next conference on the 14th to 16th August 2015.
Of particular interest to me was the opportunity to meet with representatives of the appliance suppliers and manufacturers and see the developments in new appliances. I am making arrangements with some of these people for them to come to our meetings to talk about the latest developments, many of us have little problems with appliances and it is good to be able to see things which may make life easier.
Sunday morning was the Federation AGM.
A remit to allow the removal from the constitution of the clause that office holder may hold office for a maximum of 6 years was passed.
The was some discussion of the fact that some ostomates are stockpiling bags and other supplies and that given that many items have a limited shelf life this causes wastage. As we are lucky in New Zealand to have bags provided to us free of charge it is everyone's responsibility to ensure we use what we need but not get into the position where supplies get thrown away. For most patients who order supplies themselves this is quite simple. For ACC patients who have an automatic supply every three months it is a little harder to keep on top of but I understand you can ring Pro Pharma and temporarily suspend part of your prescription if some supplies are building up.

Thanks to the Canterbury Ostomy society for the opportunity to attend conference 2014.
"Giving up should not be an option"

Brent Silcock.
(Committee member Canterbury Ostomy Society and Canterbury delegate to Conference 2014)

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