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Hiccups and Chuckles

Posted May 20 2009 1:20pm

Okay so I lied in my last post. Due to unforseen financial crises in my life I am unable to have the scheduled surgery on Dec. 1st. I don’t know when I’ll be able to have it but I’m okay for the time being so I’m not too torn up about it. It’s more the corruption of the privatized insurance companies and unfriendly government health care reps. that tear me up, but that’s another can of worms we all know doesn’t need to be cracked open at the moment. Once I get everything sorted out, everything will happen in due time. If I have to wait a couple months more, so what? I’m feeling better than ever and everything is peachy!

So for the last couple of weeks (forgive me if I already posted this) I have been doing much better taking care of my ileostomy on my own. It doesn’t even bug me anymore. I caught myself talking to it this morning while I was changing my bag. I heard the gurgling noise in my belly that often precedes an “elimination” from the stoma. “Don’t you dare! Just hold on one more minute while I get this paste on!”
Funny story, speaking of changing bags. So I’ve been all about the one piece recently until today. I remember why I started using a two-piece bag with barriers instead one piece with paste. I showered and as I changed my bag I noticed on the left side of my stoma there were several little open wounds on the surface of the skin. I dried it off and gently applied a skin protectant gel. Here’s where I made my first mistake. I was nervous about the stoma letting off (when I referred to talking to it earlier) so in my haste I didn’t clean the slippery gel off. Rather, I replaced the paste around the edge of the opening in the bag and put it on as I usually do. My sister and I proceeded to go food shopping. About an hour later, as we were picking out the last couple of items on our list, an incredibly warm sensation engulfed my right side. I ducked behind a giant pyramid of toilet paper–oh the irony–and lifted my shirt just enough to see that stool was leaking slowly out of the side of the adhesive secured to my skin. Second mistake: I hadn’t worn my Flexee underwear to hold everything in since I thought, “Hey, this shirt is long enough to cover the bag and we’re only going to the supermarket.” I immediately thought of the restroom and realized my third mistake: for the first stupid time ever…I hadn’t brought my backup ostomy kit because again I figured it was unecessary since we were only going food shopping. I quickly lowered my shirt and pressed one hand firmly against my side to slow the leak. It really wasn’t that bad as long as my stoma didn’t decide to unload again. I exchanged an anxious glance with my sister that said, “CODE BROWN! We don’t need pancake mix! Let’s get the hell out of here!” So my poor sister and I raced through the check out line, me unloading the cart onto the conveyer belt with one hand, and her bagging everything up. I’m pretty sure we scared the living daylights out of the cashier. My sister sailed out into the parking lot with our cart as I scooted along behind her, silently hoping my stoma would behave itself for only five more minutes. We piled everything into the car and veered off home like a bat out of hell. Thank goodness it was only down the street! Upon assessing the damage in the bathroom, I realized the leak was because the paste had not adhered to gel and over the last hour and a half had been pooling stool underneath my bag until it could not hold anymore. 30 minutes later, I was so fresh and so clean clean and a good deal wiser. So what have we learned, Steph? Oh, oh I know! I know! Always clean and dry the peristomal skin no matter what! Always wear your granny panties when you go out (even if it’s down the street)! Finally, don’t forget your backup gear! Wow, do I feel stupid; it’s all simple stuff I normally pay attention to and the one time I forget, it all goes to crap…quite literally.

Sigh, lessons for life.

Since we’re on the subject of humor, here, I’m going to shamelessly promote a charity improv show for those who are in the Chicago area. November 25th Tuesday at 7pm at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park, IL. Tickets are $20 and includes good food, drinks, and a performance by the GUT BUSTERS, an improv troupe I formed to help raise money for Team Challenge. Our show revolves around the theme of Crohn’s and Colitis, at which time we plan to break the barriers of unspoken misery and find the humor in the diseases. You have to laugh about it, right? I mean take the recent story above, for instance. Mortifying, sure, but funny…you bet! Heck, I might even tell that story at the show. Who knows? It’s improv! Anything is possible. Proceeds will benefit the CCFA! So if you’re in the area, come on out! I promise you’ll laugh your butt off!

I hope everyone is in good health! Stay strong and take care!

Until next post,

Steph “The Bag Lady”

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