This is not for the squeamish.

You know somewhere in the back of your mind, the question. You know the question,  don’t you?

What happens if the bag comes off while you are sleeping?

Janet and I have laughed nervously about this possibility. We imagined waking up in the middle of the night to change the sheets, shower, what else?

I  woke up around 2:30 for a bathroom break and assessed my situation. This is a constant. I felt I could wait till 4:00 to clean the colostomy bag. I woke up at 4:00. And fell right back to sleep. The good news is I slept through most of the night. This has become a non-event really, as  I sleep through most nights.

The smell. You know it when it happens. I woke up rather brusquely to the smell. It is now 5:45.

The smell happens regularly, and is usually due to the bag not being clipped on properly. You have to squeeze the ring all around and listen for the telltale click to make sure it is sealed properly. Every once in a while, you miss a click and the smell comes up. The reaction is to reach down and squeeze the ring again all around and are relieved when you hear the click you missed before. All good. This is a one handed operation.

At 5:45 this morning, the smell. There was really no reason for it. The bag was clipped on properly since the smell had not been there all night. But here was the smell.

I reached under the sheets to squeeze the ring. Something went dreadfully wrong. The ring was moist. Highly unusual. I felt further around, and it got moister. Wait. This was more than moist. I yank off the sheets. Yes, I have a second hand! The bag was off the ring entirely and lying on my leg.

Pick up the bag and make my way to the washroom to clean myself. By now, the discharge (how discreetly put) is all over both my hands. My worst nightmare. I clean my hands with toilet paper. Start the wash process. Clean the bag, inside and out. Clean myself. Then clean myself again. Wash my hands.

All the while, there is more discharge coming out. I am cleaning all he time, and cleaning again trying to catch the discharge as it oozes out. The roll of toilet paper is very active. I am cleaning feverishly. Finally get the bag back on. Check my body and start washing the discharge from various affected parts. Discharge is on my stomach, thighs, feet.

I come back to bed to check the sheets. Janet wakes up and I fill her in. Simple. The bag came off. Lights come on and we check the sheets Miraculously, nothing.

I sigh and start laughing. How different this would have been if it had happened on Saturday. I would have broken down in misery. As it is, I laugh, and get back in bed.

The smell. It is still there. Lingers as some smells do. Stuck in your nose. It won’t go away.

Get out of bed and check things again. The flange is soaked, and not necessarily in water. I have to change everything. Might as well shave and take a shower. Feel bad for Janet. We are both wide awake by now.

Discharge is constantly oozing out. How fast can I shower. This is getting funnier by the second.

I will cut this short. Shave, shower, air the skin, finally get the bag back on.

Smell gone.

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