It was 5:30am and the sun was already up. As I came into consciousness from the night’s sleep, I went to feel my bag and instead I felt warm wetness. As if I didn’t know what it was, I pulled my hand up to look at it, saw poop and reached back for more. Coltrane had really done it this time! Before getting out of bed, I assessed the situation and discovered that I did in fact have a leak and it was going to require a bag change. I got myself together to trek to the bathroom, emptied what was left in my bag and wiped off the poop that had made it’s way out and then grabbed my changing kit. I have a solid system for my changing kit, everything I need is kept stocked up in a mini cooler, ready to be carried to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I had been slacking on the stocking and had to grab a couple extra items to make sure I’d be prepared once I was actually doing the change.
The poop had pushed the wafer away from my skin on the bottom half. I have a couple theories as to why… I ate a ton the night before and it wasn’t a meal I eat regularly, it was tons of vegetables and a fruit milkshake for dessert. I should have known better, smoothies and milkshakes always increase my output. My friend’s words “eat like a horse, shit like a horse” ran through my mind. When I woke up, I was on my back. I try not to sleep on my back because I’m worried about leaks since being horizontal doesn’t really give the poop any motivation to fall away from Coltrane. I also think the bag may have gotten a little kinked, because once I was up, it wasn’t as full as it maybe could have been. Then again, maybe the excess had already taken charge to make room for itself outside of the bag. I was lucky; it only got on my underwear and the underside of my bag – not on my shirt, not on my pajama bottoms, not on my favorite blanket or my mattress.
I took the opportunity of having poop smeared on my skin to take a bagless shower. I normally shower with my bag on, and have only gone bagless one other time, right after I got home from the hospital. In the time it had taken me to empty and get my changing station set up, Coltrane had slowed down the pooping so I had a pretty uneventful shower in that regard and really got to enjoy washing my peristomal skin.
My calmness surprised me. If this had been a year ago, I would have been so incredibly frustrated and mad and scared and anxious. I took it in stride and did what I needed to do, still not 100% believing that it was happening. I’ll admit, it did affect me a little bit on the emotional side of things. Having not had a leak before and having been so careful to empty in the middle of the night for months in an effort to avoid overflow leaks, I’m a little more nervous about sleeping. I used to set an alarm in the middle of the night to ensure I’d wake up, but have weaned myself off of it and now I’m thinking it might be something to consider on nights I know I’ve eaten extra heavy. I tend to exercise in the evening and I am in the habit of eating relatively close to bed time. It’s a habit I’d like to break, but haven’t dedicated the energy to yet. Maybe this event will inspire me to be more disciplined with evening eating.
I’m grateful that this experience was at home, not super messy, and easily dealt with. Do you remember your first leak? Did it have any lasting emotional affects on you?