The Party Bag

September 28, 2009 § 2 Comments

Stoma bags and skin barrier (top right). Photo:

Colostomy (stoma) bags and mounting plate (top right). Photo by Øystein Horgmo ©

I was going through a lot of old photos today, and came across a funny one I’d completely forgotten. About a year ago I was working with a medical writer to document treatment for colorectal cancer. I was going to take several photos to accompany this video and a text about living with a stoma. That’s when I decided to play a little trick on the writer.

I was on my way to photograph different types of ostomy pouching systems, when I spotted a vacuum cleaner bag on a shelf. It struck me how similar it looked to the bags I was carrying to the photo room, so I took it along.

After taking photos of the proper stoma equipment (top photo), I placed the vacuum cleaner bag next to a stoma mounting plate for the last photo (below).

My party stoma bag spoof.

The "seasonal holiday stoma bag" spoof. Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved.

I fed all the photos into our publishing system alongside the writer’s text, adding this caption to the fake one:

Stoma bag for use on seasonal holidays and other occasions of excessive food consumption.

Then I waited to see what happened.

Sure enough, a half an hour later the writer came to my office looking serious and said she needed to talk to me about the photos. There was one type of pouching system she hadn’t seen before, and wondered if I knew what it was called? And then she burst out laughing.

We quickly agreed to keep the photo to see how the medical editor for the text (a stoma care specialist nurse) would react. Fortunately she also thought it was funny.

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