WARNING!!!! THIS MAY BE A LITTLE TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!!
So, I was in a colleague's truck, heading to the Port Columbus Airport at 6:30 a.m. Our final destination that day was McClean, Va. and the Gannett Editors Meeting.
We bought a cup of coffee at a convenience store on the outskirts of town and almost immediately I felt some stool moving from my stoma into my pouch.
Now, in my limited experience with this method of evacuation, I have noticed that I usually move stool in the afternoon. But, I was not alarmed. I had installed a new skin wafer (the part of the appliance that adheres directly to the body and surrounds the stoma) that morning and had a fresh, drainable, pouch attached. (yes, poppa had a brand new bag!! Hahahaha).
When we were checking our bags into the system I noticed a slight odor. I have been paranoid about odors since I got out of the hospital and I have managed to convince myself that I almost always overreact. I figured it was just a slight leak in the seal between the bag and the wafer and decided to check it in the bathroom the first chance I had. I was more concerned that I had to pee very urgently.
We proceeded to the security check in. While walking there I didn't notice any bathrooms, so I decided that I could hold the pee and take care of my leak on the other side of security.
We breezed through security. I was wearing my garden clogs. They are very comfortable and easy to get off and on when you go through the security check point at airports ... Ding Ding Ding
$$$$!!!!MILLION DOLLAR IDEA!!!!$$$$
Design clogs specifically for travelers and more particularly for business travelers.
Anyway, back to the story.
When I got through security I found a bathroom and headed on in. I met my publisher as he was walking out of the same bathroom. There would be four of us travelling together that day and I knew they would all wait outside the bathroom for me.
I went into the handicapped stall and pulled up my shirt.
(Pause for dramatic effect)
The entire colostomy collection system was hanging off my belly by a shred of glue on the bottom third of the wafer and a big ball of poo was pushing it off.
I started to panic. My hands were shaking and my breathing was out of control. I grabbed some toilet paper and started to try to clean up.
It was a big mess. A really big mess. Those of you with children might know what I am talking about. This was a 12 baby wipe mess.
Now, I had some spare pouches, but the skin wafers were in my bag that I had checked through. They need to be customized with scissors each time you use them and I didn't anticipate any problem with them.
It took a long time to get things cleaned up. But eventually, I got it done and replaced the collection bag. I got rid of the mess and then washed my hands for about 15 minutes while I tried to figure out my next move.
I decided that I would go back through security to an airport store and see if I could find some sort of tape. I also needed a new shirt. The shirt I was wearing had been soiled.
I pulled my publisher aside and gave the poor guy a brief synopsis. Then I rushed back to the other side of security and found the store.
Oh, I should mention, that in all this commotion, I still had not relieved my bladder.
In the airport store, I bought a Columbus, Ohio T-shirt, a package of two wet-wipes and three packages that contained two band aids each with little foil packs of neosporin.
The band aids came in impenetrable blister packs.
When I got back to security the line was huge. I settled in for the long wait with my hand pressed against my appliance and still nervous as all hell. I am sure I was not in the best shape to get through security.
For one thing, my ticket had been all marked up the first time as I passed through each station, that had to be suspicious. For another thing, I was obviously hiding something beneath my shirt. And, finally, I was shaking like a leaf. Also, at this time, my bladder began to remind me about its condition.
I breezed through, headed for the bathroom and finally emptied my bladder in the same handicapped stall where all the drama began.
I stripped off my shirt and noticed that the heat from my hand had caused the wafer to re-adhere to my skin. I was taking no chances and I began to try to open the band aid packages.
What a racket I was making. I was breathing fast and in gasps, the plastic rattled as I tore into it, then paper ripped as a tried to open the band aids themselves and of course I was muttering and cursing as I tried to get the band aids aligned along the rim of the wafer without folding them over on themsleves.
It seemed like I was in there for an eternity. All along, people were in and out of the bathroom.
Someone, I thought, has got to wonder what the guy in the handicapped stall was doing. It was obviously out of the ordinary.
I finally got myself back together, stuffed my soiled shirt in my briefcase (I really like that shirt) and washed my hands for 15 minutes.
Then I headed out into the airport concourse, slighly relieved but still shaky.
As soon as I started walking towards my gate, a security guard spotted me, looked me right in the eye and started walking towards me.
"uh oh," I thought, "they were just waiting for me to leave the bathroom."
The guy walked right up to me and leaned forward.
"Dude," he said, "zip up your pants."
The rest of the trip was uneventful.