It’s been a weird and wonderful week. Last Saturday we drove down to Gosport to visit our son and his girlfriend. It’s a fair old way but we decided to take the dog and make a day of it.
I chose to wear a dress (it’s just the least stressful option because it’s the most likely leak free outfit....more on that later).
Dress from French Connection, Tights from Tesco and Boots from Kurt Geiger.
Pepper loved seeing her big brother.
And oh my goodness I loved seeing my boy too!
I know they have to grow up, but he’s so far away and I’m a terrible driver, which compounds the distance further.
We had a wonderful day and evening. They (well, Milly) are ready to pop baby wise, it could be any day now, which is SO exciting. Really hoping they have him/her in the next few days before Chris and I head off on holiday.
If not, we’re not going to suffer that back from holiday anticlimax as we’ll have a grandchild to look forward to on our return. xxx
I was right though, this dress was perfect for such a long day, and my bag held up to perfection. I was able to eat two meals out and no mishaps.
Sunday was spent with our friends, none of us could decide what to do so we settled on a carpet picnic at ours.
I decided on a winter carpet picnic by choice but if you are new to stoma-ing and you’re very fretful about eating out my advice is have people to your home, for what ever sort of meal you wish to provide.
Your friends won’t mind and won’t care about accidents and mishaps...if they do may I suggest you find new friends. Hahahahaha.
Eating and socialising at home is the best of both worlds. You get the peace of mind that you’re close to everything you need for a bag change, and you still get to see your friends and have fun.
One of my fondest memories of bringing my boys up are carpet picnics. If the weather let us down on the day we’d planned to go out (it’s England remember) they loved plan B, often more than actually going out for it. And from my point of view I was bitten and stung a lot less than by the bugs and bees in the outside world. I love picnics but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced one without an insect incident. Hahahahaha.
Monday came and I had a couple of appointments in London. I was feeling quite bold so I wore jeans for the day. It is a bold choice as jeans or anything tight can lead to leaks, but I felt confident and comfortable.
I had zero issues with my bag and I was out for a full day. I got home I was still as fresh as a daisy. To be honest I didn’t give it much thought, I kind of expected to be fine. I’ve become complacent and a tad blasé about my bag that I don’t give it much thought. I’m 8 years in remember.
....And then along came Wednesday.... I was heading into London to a workshop with Bowel & Cancer Research and medopad, I was so excited, having never been involved with any form of research and development for bowels and stomas before now.
So off I went to the Park and Ride (not sure other countries have this, but you park your car in a massive car park out of town and then get on the bus into said town, where it drops you at the train station) .
I parked my car, I got on the bus and plonked myself down on a seat, as I did so I smelt something nasty....for a single second I thought someone on this bus stinks....and I was right, they did. But it was ME!!
I struggled to comprehend it to be absolutely honest, I was still hoping it was someone else, but every time I moved the smell hit me. I became frozen with fear, I don’t know how to describe it. I was sweating by this point, the mortification that I’m out in public stinking of poo. World swallow me up now!!
I sat struggling to remain calm, I was hoping if I didn’t react then no one would know it was me. I felt incredibly vulnerable and alone in that moment.
I text Chris but he was in a meeting, I text my friends too, luckily Kim answered and said soothing words to keep me calm. I was beginning to freak out.
I had no idea how it had happened, there was literally no reason for it. I was in a dress, with tights on with a hole cut in them, there was absolutely no reason why I should smell.
As I got off the bus the smell dissipated, again I felt euphoric that perhaps it wasn’t me after all. Yey!! That joy was short lived as when I approached the ticket office I smelt it again. I have no idea what pushed me on rather than get the bus back to my car and go home and curl up in a ball, I really did want to.
I bought my ticket and asked where the toilets were. In my panic I didn’t think to ask for the disabled toilets (which would have had a sink and some space within). Oh no, instead I went to the nearest toilets. To change my bag in public is my most dreaded fear. I’ve usually been with Chris if this has happened in the past.
I felt very alone squashed in the loo, no running water to hand and hardly any space to see what I was doing.
I used my bottled water to wash my stoma. I had one spare bag with me (ONE!!??! What was I thinking) that I changed into. Once changed I felt better that I wasn’t stinking anymore but unnerved and scared that if it happened once it could happen again and I was literally out of bags and out of luck.
I carried on with my journey to London nervous and fraught. But I’m so glad I did. I wanted to burst into tears with the shock and frustration, and even though I was alone and I felt that very much so on the bus, Kim, Ben, Kaitlyn and my friend James lifted my spirits and spurred me on. I’m so very grateful to them for it.
I guess you have to see the positives in this experience. I didn’t explode or implode, I didn’t die of embarrassment, no one pointed, stared or laughed and I got through it. It’s life, shit happens, literally in this case. You just have to pick yourself up and move on. Every day’s a school day. I have learned that carrying one spare bag is utterly ridiculous. I have learned that sometimes even this far down the track bags leak in this case for no discernible reason.
The workshop session with Bowel & Cancer Research and a team from Medopad was incredibly fascinating and enjoyable and totally worth keeping my nerve and carrying on with my plans for.
I met some lovely people and potentially helped others in the future all in one go. Now that’s worthwhile.
*It also made me think of that poor liitle lad in America, Seven, who took his life at the age of 10 because he had to cope with the indignity of fecal incontinence. In all honesty it’s awful. I don’t know how he managed at all, if only people had been more compassionate to him or even slightly compassionate. I’m a 45 year old women, with all the wisdom and maturity that brings and even I didn’t cope well. My heart broke even more for him and I only had to deal with a minute fraction of what he had to. xxx
The art work outside of Queen Mary University Whitechapel campus, where Bowel & Cancer Research is based is somewhat intriguing. I’ve been reliably informed it’s a Neurone....
I find it quite endearing, even if it looks like he’s eating part of the building. Hahahahaha