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Transcript of Stoma
This story is about marriage, intimacy, acceptance and love. Most readers found it very engaging because it’s told solely from the perspective of Erin. Therefore, it became relatable by each reader in one way or another. It conveys all of the turmoil that she is feeling and thinking before and after Jeffrey’s surgery. Erin’s point of view showcases the obstacles that they faced as a married couple and the struggle to maintain their pre-illness intimacy.
Turnbull, G. B. (2001). Sexual Counseling: The Forgotten Aspect of Ostomy Rehabilitation. Journal Of Sex Education & Therapy, 26(3), 189.
Common issues arise when a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy is needed. The impact of an ostomy on a person’s sexuality is immense. Often difficult to determine whether the sexual difficulties are psychogenic or organic, some impairment of sexual response can be painful not only for the patient, but also for the spouse. Partners have reported they are afraid of hurting the stoma, or catch the cancer their partners have, once the surgeon has cleared the patient, easing into sexual relations and researching educational material will cut tension. The whole goal of ostomy rehabilitation is to prolong enjoyment of life, this shouldn’t be the end of intimacy. The key to sexual recuperation for ostomy patients is a grant of liberty by sensitive and caring healthcare professionals, for open and candid discussion of sexual issues as they relate to an ostomy. (Golis, 1996)
I chose this song because of the imagery in the lyrics. I found that it was relatable to an aspect in this story. As I listen to this song I am able to picture that it is Jeffrey who is singing, sending a message, rather than a message Erin is trying to tell Jeffrey.
When I think about the story "Stoma" and hear the phrase, "My stomach's tied in knots," I imagine that Jeffrey's digestive system has been re-routed; like a knot has been tied in his intestines and now he requires the use of a stoma.
The lyrics "I'm afraid of what I'll find if you wanna talk tonight" causes me to imagine that this is what Jeffrey is thinking when he tries to become intimate with Erin on page 157. Even though Erin said intimacy would be fine when he first returned home from the hospital, Jeffrey may be more self conscious about the whole situation than he is lets on.
For example, how Jeffrey calls his stoma 'Mick,' pats it, and makes odd gestures and comments when it is 'singing' could be his way of dealing with the sensitivity of living with a stoma. He could somewhat be pushing Erin away by his actions because he is afraid (lyrics "the problem isn't you, it’s me, I know," and "I'll push you away, I get so afraid"). The phrase "I can't even live with myself" from the song "Stomach's Tied in Knots" by Sleeping with Sirens can be relative to Jeffrey's feelings from the story as Jeffrey speaks of not liking the stoma and how it makes him feel unattractive.
In the end, Jeffrey doesn't want to live without Erin and Erin does not want to live without Jeffrey (lyrics "and I can't live without you now) and they put their love first. In his time of recovery I feel that he was probably thinking how he can't live without her but his "manhood" (if that’s what you want to call it) was getting in the way of him being able to talk sooner about his feelings. I feel this song provides words for Jeffrey's internal thoughts of how their relationship has changed since the surgery.
Lets try a quiz....
1. What was Erin’s major concern?
b) make a mess
c) his contents would get on her during
d) start talking
2. How old is Jeffrey?
3. What was the name given to the stoma?
c) There was no name
4. Did Erin and Jeffrey’s intimacy recover?
b) The story didn’t say
c) They were never intimate
5. Did Erin’s worst fears regarding “Mick”
a) The story didn’t say
c) Erin did not have any fear
6. How long were Jeffrey and Erin married?
a) 1 year
b) 5 years
c) They were not married
d) 10 years
Some ideas that stood out were that in relationships and intimacy go hand in hand. That illness is always hard on couples, relationships and the individuals. Some people could relate this story to a similar story of something that has happened in their own families. Also quite a few felt that Erin was being selfish because of the way she was acting when Jeffrey tried to be intimate with her and reach out for affection.
Issues that were missed were that Jeffrey also had conflicted feelings towards “Mick”. He was using humor to cope with the stoma and some missed this because the story was only told from Erin’s point of view. Others seemed to think that “Mick” was actually a person but in reality, he is really, just a stoma on Jeffrey’s stomach. Surprisingly many couldn’t remember what Jeffrey actually named his stoma there were a lot of “Mic” or “Mike” in the posts and responses.
Overall the messages within this story were understood and felt by most of the readers. All of us were very happy in the end that Erin and Jeffrey worked out their issues. This would then allow them to begin to build their relationship and intimacy level back to where it was prior to Jeffery’s illness.