Sunday, December 25, 2011

Poo on a Plane--& First Days in Canada (Travel advice for ostomates)

We finally hauled all of our life (what we could pack into a few bags) onto a plane and made our way to Canada. This pic is in the airport, waiting near our gate.

Looking out the window as we sat on the runway

Within the tiny TINY plane

On the runway still...
The plane does this thing where the engines start and everyone gets really excited, adrenaline rushing, thinking we are going to take off. Not so. It's just got indigestion. About half an hour later we finally start to move a little bit--YAY!! But then we don't really go anywhere. Another case of blue-balls.
FINALLY FINALLY the plane starts taxi-ing down the runway and the roar of the engines is rumbling through your entire body, and your chest hums with the sound of the jets as it begins to lift off the ground.
For me, there's always this moment of terror/pleasure, like being on a roller-coaster as it's climbing to the ascent, just before the drop.

View of cities from the window

Okay. Here's where things get serious. How the hell do you empty your bag on an airplane?  I've heard so many horror stories of this situation, and now I "got" to try it out for myself.

First of all, whenver you travel, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SUPPLIES HANDY. Not packed away in an overhead thing, but in your purse or carry-on, something that you shove under your seat or have handy, like with you if you are in a car. And this goes for riding in a plane or car-- DON'T lay that seatbelt over your stoma. it seems unavoidable, but here's what I do. I Ball up an item of light clothing and place it over my stoma, and the seatbelt rides a little higher then. And DON'T wear tight-ass clothing, like waistbands that will press against your little stoma, okay?

 My bag didn't fill up with air--first of all. Too many people don't understand that ordering soda on a plane will--duh--give you gas. Get the juice. Get water. Don't compromise your health or comfort, man.
But eventually, anyway, the bag does fill up. Now I'm used to larger planes, but even the larger ones have tiny water-closets/bathrooms, much like this miny nightmare we flew on.
While I was feverishly battling an on-going urinary-tract infection, (my 6th or 7nth of the year, as my bladder and kidney's are basically shot through with some kind of germ that no amount of antibiotics or urinary specialist can kill) I made my way to the toilets to try out how emptying my bag would work. And I took pictures of course, because I love you guys that much.

This is the tiny-ass toilet I wedged into. Not pleasant.



To actually empty my bag was a Cirque-de-Soleil twisting crouching affair. I rolled up my skirt and crouched before the shit-basin and angled my pelvis as far in toward the poop-suction tub as I could physically go. I haven't practiced my yoga since I got really ill, so it's been a year or so and I'm not as limber anymore. 
 I squeezed out the contents like it was a pastry bag (hadn't had enough fluids, so it gets like that) and with a lot of tissue paper, swabbed-out the spout and cleaned everything that I could.
It's not really that big of a deal, trying to do your business and clean it up on a plane, just requires a few more minutes and some finesse.

Now onto our first days in Vancouver.


More buildings!

My pwetty husband and buildings!

Me before the entrance to China Town where I bought most of our groceries

Waiting for subway, looking out at lit buildings...

Ahh! Subway's here! (Actually they call it the Skytrain)

 Vancouver is really expensive compared to MN. But this subway here? Skytrain...whatever. it totally reminded me of Tokyo~! The platforms and the signs... I think that's why I kinda love this place so much. So so many Chinese and Korean and Vietnamese and Japanese (and Indian too) are all over the place. I can buy the foods I want, and go to stores we like and hear the languages I love.
Instead of snow, it rains, but it's so crazy that in the dead of winter back in MN, here there is no snow, but green (albeit wet) grass and leaves on the bushes. So strange and wonderful. I'm not star-struck though, our place where we're living is waaay too expensive and it's falling apart (feels like a bad hotel); and we have to walk many km's to get anywhere, take buses, then walk some more; no jobs, yet hemorrhaging money on this rent and life expenses; and of course I have a raging infection and terrible crippling pain to deal with.

So yeah. This wasn't really a funny post, but it's an update, and maybe if someone sees they can pour their crap out into a plane toilet with no trouble, they'll have a bit more confidence taking a flight.
Going through customs with my ostomy supplies was no trouble at all. One lady questioned my ostomy powder as a liquid, but I opened it and poured some powder into my hand to demonstrate. I even got through with a doctors order to carry Ensure with me!! Just remember to be patient and kind with these people, they are doing a stupid job where they're on their feet all day, and they're just people too. Be nice and kindly explain things to them, and they'll get kind of embarrassed for being gruff. But you shouldn't have any problem, just leave the ostomy scissors in your checked luggage :)


  1. I LOVE the Sky Train. Take it out of the city to Metrotown mall if you want to shop at a real mall. Get off at the stadium stop and walk the opposite direction to a really neat park with a Japanese water garden (it's like 2 blocks-- just across the street from the building that has the Tinseltown movie theatre-- which, by the way has really neat escalators and the coolest twinkling star ceiling ever!! OK, so I'm easily amused!)

    You'll probably see snow eventually. And if you really miss it, head up to Whistler. You can take a Grayhound for a pretty decent price. SOOO worth going!

    Sucks that you're feeling awful, but I hope you get to really enjoy Vancouver soon!

  2. Nessabutterfly--good to hear from you again! I didn't know you have been in Vancouver--do you live close by? I have visited your online diary thing once, but I cannot really access it now or remember if you ever mentioned where you live. Whoa--that sounds pretty dang creepy, huh? But I will most certainly see this Japanese garden. I will googlemap it and carefully plot out a way to visit it. Thanks for the suggestion!!


  3. I lived in Abbotsford for 8 years. It's about an hour inland from Vancouver. I spent 7 years in Florida, but we moved back up here in the spring-- I'm in Seattle now, so only 2 hours away from you. I haven't spent a TON of time in Vancouver itself, but the area is very much home for me.

    I looked up the garden for you-- it's at the corner of Keefer pl. and Taylor st. Very close to Chinatown, so it should be easy for you to get there. And it's kitty-corner from this place which I've never been to, but also looks worth checking out

    As for my livejournal, I have it locked as Friends only, but I'm probably going to start making more public entries. I think the guy who was semi-stalking me has given up by now (I locked it YEARS ago). And if not, well, I'll just get over it, cause I need to be more public about what's going on with my health to bring awareness. Lynch Syndrome needs more research and info out there!!

  4. Oh thanks you for the info! And omgosh! A stalker?! That's scary and disturbing :O
    I just got done with some reasearch of Lynch Syndrome... and oh honey, I'm so sorry! I hope and I pray that there is going to be more talked about this in the coming years, and if you feel strong enough, us in the ileostomy community surely support you talking about it. Every new bit of information helps.
    I wish the best for you, and hope SO MUCH that you aren't plagued with any pain right now!!

    <3 Tinylittlelifeform<3

  5. No pain-- just scary knowing that I'll probably have more cancers to deal with in the future. I get my whole reproductive system pulled out pretty soon. (After chemo is done).

    As far as a stalker, it was more just an old friend of my husband's who took too much interest in my journal. But he left comments on EVERYTHING I posted and just paid more attention to me than I was comfortable with. Then there was the other guy who I used to be friends with who got too close as well... Nothing really inappropriate-- he just didn't understand social boundaries.

  6. so glad i found this... i have crohns and have had it severly the past 5 years... they want to do an ileostomy on me... im scared to death but my dr said it will improve my quality of life... i havent decided if im going to go thru with it i have had so many ppl talk bad about everything... and im extreamly emotional about it... but honestly this site is really encouraging!!! thank yu!

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