Hey! No counting. (But it's over 5 and a half months... )
I was in the pub the other night with friends of 25plus years. These are the kind of absolutely rock-solid, dependable mates with whom one can share all ones UC tales. In gruesome detail. These are the friends who never question my sobriety despite all those years we spent on drunken adventures and high jinx. These fella's have helped me through many a desolate period, visited me in hospital, are the only people allowed to laugh when I've shat myself... So, we were enjoying a few beers/cokes/non-alcohol beers when discussion turned to when we would next go out for a curry. We had been planning on a curry-night the week before, but were thwarted by a bout of D&V to one of our company - and this lead to a poo-themed exchange. The scenario put forward was one in which the toilet, and your poo specifically, becomes the focus of your day... of course very quickly it was established that this is my area of expertise...
The toilet-centrality of the UC sufferers life goes without saying - there are those times when the bathroom is virtually your prison. Thankfully I have been free of that for sometime now. But there are other areas of poo-centricity that I seemingly may never change. I have oft made mention of the Bristol Stool Chart, (my friends have become entirely au fait in its application - we like to recount poo-types currently being experienced... (uh, is that wierd? No, don't answer that)), and of course to the UC-er poo consistency becomes an obsession. Not only are we asked about it at every gastro appointment, but it lends itself to our own peace of mind: my entire mood can be determined by the consistency of my last toilet visit - should you ever meet me with the expression of a well-contented man on my face, be sure that I have probably deposited a sausage somewhere earlier in the day. I'm not sure exactly what's best on the chart, but I like to aim for a Type 4, although, I'll be honest I'll cheerfully greet a Type 3 on its arrival.
Thus it is that I/we spend considerably more time than most staring into the toilet bowl: 'Are they soft blobs with clear-cut edges, or fluffy? Is that a mushy stool?'. This is no place for the squeamish, and I'll be frank, I have often found myself trying to move things around that pool with nothing more rigid than twisted up bog-roll. Oh, bugger it, I'll admit it, on occasion I have been known to use a cotton bud (the most conveniently located tool)... It's not pretty, but it becomes vital: this can determine what I do and where I go. Or even whether I do anything, whether I'm going to leave the house, or whether I take spare stuff in case. I have ruined potentially enjoyable trips by worrying all day after a toilet inspection. I have turned down the chance to do great things. I have sat at home wallowing in misery. All because I've dwelt on the contents of the toilet bowl. (As an aside: I wonder if you can 'read' those contents? You know, like the tea leaves...).
I'll never stop looking into that bowl, but I'm better able to shake the mental torment planted by the poo lurking there. This has free'd me up to enjoy life better. This weekend past was a case in point. On sunday I travelled with a band of fellow Portsmouth FC fans, up to the FA Cup semi-final. In the negative ways of old, a day spent, essentially, in packed trains and a football stadium (albeit Wembley) would fill me with fear - and of course, for the UC-er, fear brings...consequences. Indeed, in the utterly complex recent history of Pompey that I shan't bore you with here, only two years ago we also reached the cup final. I attended with the same intrepid band of fans, only this time armed with 2 spare pairs of pants, plastic bags, wipes and loo-roll, praying both for the successful outcome of the game and the successful survival of my dignity... Happily both were achieved, but not without energy sapping mental anquish.
But this weekend I was really up for it (Oh that positivity courses through my veins now). And so were the team. What a game! Here's the 2nd half k.o