REAL LIFE

Aussie grandma gets a pacemaker in her bowel

It's completely changed her life

Starting up her motorhome, Dianne Hummel, 69, pulled out of her driveway.

But the grandma wasn’t embarking on an adventure – she was off to the shops, just a 30-minute drive away.

‘For years, I struggled to control my bowel movements,’ Dianne said.

‘So to avoid embarrassment I took a toilet with me!’

It was an ingenious solution, but the Ulladulla woman decided she couldn’t live like that forever.

Referred to colorectal surgeon Dr Catherine Turner at Bankstown Hospital, NSW, Dianne was given countless tests.

Dr Turner couldn’t find a cause, but she offered a glimmer of hope. 

Selected for a faecal incontinence trial, wires would be implanted into Dianne’s sacral spine, which would be hooked up to a pacemaker.

‘Dr Turner said it wasn’t a cure, but it might help,’ Dianne said.

At first, Dianne wore the pacemaker externally to see if it made a difference.

A 50 per cent improvement would make her eligible for the surgery.

Thankfully, the trial was successful and Dianne’s pacemaker was properly fitted last August.

Since, she’s had slight issues, but her life has completely changed.

‘I’m so grateful I finally had the courage to seek help.

‘Now when I leave the house, I take the car and leave the motorhome in the driveway!’

FAECAL INCONTINENCE

➜ Over 4.8 million Australians experience bladder or bowel control problems.
➜ Faecal incontinence affects up to 20 per cent of Australian men and up to 12.9 per cent of women.
➜ Faecal incontinence is one of the three major causes for admittance to a residential aged care facility in Australia, along with decreased mobility and dementia.

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