I woke up this morning cuddled up to my boyfriend, with one of my cats rummaging under the duvet covers. Attempting to nestle near my stomach, I frantically tried to push him away, mindful of my ileostomy bag. With this, I felt something damp touch my hand. Warily pulling my hand out the covers, I felt something wet on my skin. With a feeling of dread , I pulled the covers off of me. Just as I had hoped I wouldn’t see. My bag had been slightly pulled from my stomach, causing it too leak during the night. Just what I wanted to wake up to.
A leaking stoma bag is bad enough, but what about when you’re spooning with your partner? It’s not the kind of thing you want to tell them first thing – “sorry babe, I’m worried I’ve pooed on you.”
Of course, being half asleep didn’t help either, I got frustrated and emotional quite quickly, waking my boyfriend up and insisting he leave the room, watching him rush out with the cats, completely bewildered as to what had happened.
As I sat in bed looking down at my stomach, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to the bathroom without making a mess. It was in that moment that I knew I needed him. Which was hard. My boyfriend hasn’t seen me like that before, I’d been dealing with leaks myself. So having to be dependent on him with something like that left me feeling embarrassed and upset. Tears fell from my eyes as I called out to him for help.
He bought my some wipes to help clean the mess and cover myself, and told me it was okay. Of course in my eyes it wasn’t okay. Who in their right minds wants to be covered in their own waste, let alone under the watchful eye of their boyfriends!
I was able to run to the shower without further leakage, use my adhesive spray to pull my bag off, and jump in the shower.
Normally, when having a shower, I prepare beforehand. I.e. cutting a fresh bag, placing dry wipes within my reach and setting up a little place for my skin care accessories. With the current situation, this slipped my mind. Again, I had to call for my boyfriend – who was busy stripping the bed sheets – and teach him the art of cutting my ileostomy bag.
Of course, we both got frustrated “no, not like that, turn it at an angle” with him replying “I’m trying my hardest woman”, but we got there in the end. (Well sort of, it wasn’t exactly the circle I’d hoped for!) But he tried. He sorted out my skin care accessories and left me to regain my dignity.
From then on, it was almost as if nothing had happened. Almost as if I had just decided to take a shower earlier than usual.
I’m not sure why, but bag leaks have managed to give me this sense of defeat. I think this is because I have felt I haven’t been in control of the situation. Almost as if it signifies falling two steps back. Having my boyfriend witness me in such a vulnerable state though, and being made to feel like it doesn’t matter, that it’s just something that ‘happens’ has given me a little hope. It has left me feeling as though things like these can’t alter your state of mind.
It’s easy to forget sometimes, no matter how confident you are, and how in control you are of your body, that accidents can happen. And that’s exactly what it was! Just another accident.