** WARNING** If you do not want to know about 4am poo antics when a bag explodes, then do not read the first part of this post **WARNING**
A couple of nights ago, my bag exploded. And by exploded, I mean exploded. It was 4am and I had a leak on the most epic scale.
I’m usually pretty good at knowing when I need to empty my bag at night, I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something in me that knows, so I know I didn’t roll over and make it explode in the middle of the night. My bag just literally got so full it went pop, which is usual for me because I can sleep all the way through most nights without needing to empty it.
So it was 4am, and my bed felt warm. I have an electric blanket so my first half asleep thought was that maybe I’d left my blanket on. But then I realised my tummy was itchy and warm and I just knew it was bad.
I reached for my phone and turned the torch on whilst trying not to move that much and realised that yep, my bag was leaking on a tremendous scale. I’ve never known my bag to be so full, and it wasn’t even just gas, it was output as well.
My bag was leaking from the top, which again was unusual because if it ever leaks then it’s from underneath as I have an ulcer like sore there which my bag never sticks to. I didn’t know what to do so I started to shout for Mum. I could hear that Dad was in the bathroom so I figured that Mum would be awake and hear soon enough. So I kept shouting, until eventually I woke my sister up and she got my Mum. When Mum walked in the room and turned my light on, I don’t think she was quite expecting what she saw.
There was poo leaking from the top of my bag all across my tummy and down onto my bed and under my back. Every time I tried to move, my bag peeled away from my skin a little bit more and more poo went everywhere. We tried clearing it up with the wipes I use but we just came to the conclusion it wasn’t going to be possible and Mum went to get some old towels – even then we used a fair few.
Eventually we cleared up as much as we could and I took my bag off so I could clean my skin. But then I noticed my output was different. It usually looks like a “normal” person’s diarrhoea (your colon absorbs water so seeing as I don’t have one, my output is always watery) but what was coming out my stoma now was just water. Green water. Green isn’t anything unusual, I’ve learnt that my output will have a tint of green to it if I haven’t eaten enough or regularly enough as it means what’s coming out of my body is mainly bile. But I knew water was a bad sign as that means I could dehydrate very quickly.
After I got myself cleared up Mum mad me have a shower WITHOUT MY BAG ON and oh my gosh it was horrible and I’ll never do it again. I hate looking at my stoma because I don’t like it. So to then have it pooing on my foot at 4:30am was not fun and I shall never be having a bagless shower again. As soon as I could I put another bag on, but even then it was a struggle because there was no consistency to my output.
Fast forward a couple of hours and I’m asleep in Mum’s bed, laying on a few towels and sitting as upright as possible to avoid more leaks. I’m not in my bed because my bedding has all gone in the wash and my bed is wet from being washed, and I wake up to the same warm feeling and my bag has leaked again. Time to repeat the whole process.
Another couple of hours, another leak. And then the same again. I think I had five leaks in 7 hours or something. All messy and all annoying.
This morning Mum went to work because I was feeling better. At first I thought I just had food poisoning. When I was in Turkey this year, my stoma had behaved the same way and I just assumed it was that and overnight things would settle down and I’d be okay if I could get my fluids back up.
Mum made me some toast but later that morning I threw it up, and then I got shooting pains behind my stoma like something was seriously struggling to get through. So maybe it was a blockage. My tummy was sore, I was being sick, and I had diarrhoea… All pointed to a blockage so I called my stoma nurses who told me to go and se my GP and get admitted to hospital.
A few hours later and I’m sat in MDU with Mum and Dad and I’ve got a nurse trying to find a vein to get some blood from. I’m notorious for having bad veins, but being dehydrated wasn’t helping things. In the end it took 6 attempts, a nurse and a doctor to get enough blood without my veins collapsing.
I was told I’d need to be on fluids for 24 hours to rehydrate me and they needed to check my kidney function. It is quite common for IBD sufferers to get kidney stones, and as I have a stoma I dehydrate a lot quicker than those who don’t have an ileostomy so it was important for them to check to see if there was any damage to my kidneys.
I was started on fluids but it was so painful I cried for the nurse to stop them. She said she thought my cannula had tissued itself so I would need it removed and another one put it. Yay. It took another 5 attempts and another two nurses to find a vein again and I was starting to look like a pincushion. After the fluids were eventually started though, I went for a walk with Mum to the canteen where she bought some chips. I tried to eat some but they just came back up. Oh fun…
I woke up the next morning feeling absolutely fine. I’d had four bags of fluids and was really hungry so again, Mum and I adventured to the canteen and I tried to eat some breakfast. I tried to stick to plain foods but the fry up was just calling me. Eggs was a bit of a risky move but worse case scenario, I’d throw them up and be given another bag of fluids. Naturally, I covered my breakfast in salt because I was craving it as always.
Breakfast stayed down, and I was told as long as I kept lunch down I could go home that evening, but not before a bit of retail therapy.
Since becoming an ostomate I’ve found certain underwear types don’t fit as nicely now. I’m sure they fit the same, it’s just me being paranoid about my bag. But I fell in love with a certain brand. Jasmine Stacey Collection. I’ve loved her stuff from day one, but recently she was featured in a BBC3 video with a girl I know called Lydia, and everyone I know seems to have tagged me in the video. So I thought it was time to treat myself! I couldn’t remember my card details so I used Mum and Dad’s and bought myself a set I’d had my eye on for a few months. It was pricey, but worth it.
Lunch arrived and obviously it was all healthy and full of vegetables and fibre so the nurse went and got me a plain chicken sandwich. After a couple of hours of waiting to prove I wasn’t going to be sick again, I was allowed home in the evening. I think they just wanted a bed free to be honest because it was the quickest I’ve ever been discharged from hospital!
But, I can now say I have survived a double whammy of food poisoning and stomach bug in one, even if I did s**t the bed at the grand old age of 23 and Mum had to help me clear up my own poo yet again.
Thanks Mum xoxo