Getting caught short with a stoma

When you get caught short with your stoma

At the end of December, I took a trip to Bath. This journey took seven hours due to traffic delays, and after missing a toilet stop or two, Bertha was on the brink of being fit to burst and the contents of my stoma bag met the M3 hard shoulder, as I had no other choice, unless I wanted to scar both my boyfriend and the car.

We finally got to Bath and Bertha had another purge and there was no way, due to the weight and bulging of the bag, that I would have made the 10-minute walk to the hotel to empty my bag. After a few minutes of reasoning with myself and not wanting to get splash back on my knee-high boots, I decided that the best place to empty the mother-load was the bin.

This led to me putting up this statement on Facebook and the response was amazing!

-“Research and looking for quotes to use in a future blog post:
What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever emptied your stoma?”

Mine was into a bin in Bath. Full stoma and couldn’t walk, it was that full. I didn’t want to unload onto the floor, so the bin seemed a pretty apt place at the time. Did you know that rats do indeed live in bins? You’ve never seen me move so quick, as ratty did not appreciate the warm bath I can tell you ????.

The Response

The response to this post – well, I was amazed. It’s a funny thing and I occasionally think to myself, ‘am I the only one who has had to do this?’

It gave me a sense of not feeling alone while I was reading others responses and knowing I am not alone in having to empty when a toilet is not available. I tend to have a feeling of guilt and think, ‘did anyone just see me do that?’

Here are some of the 398 experiences I received from others across social media

  1. On the top of a Welsh mountain on New Year’s Eve.
  2. In the middle of Newborough Forest in Anglesey. Out for a walk with the Grand kids and their dog, when madam started and filled the bag. So using two of the dogs poo bags, I ducked behind a tree, emptied into one bag, wiped clean with tissues and wrapped it all in the other poo bag. Carried on with the walk and put the bag in the dog waste bin.
  3. On a tour bus, after a great night out in Rome. Her indoors had forgotten to empty her urostomy bag before we boarded the bus back to our hotel. I said, “ no problem – pass me that bottle of water from your handbag.” I drank the water, and in the darkness of the bus, she lifted her skirt and discreetly filled the empty bottle.
  4. The hard shoulder on the M3.
  5. When the camp site loos were shut at Download, I had no choice but to empty my bag into the little black sacks. I did feel gross for the poo bags outside my tent.
  6. Behind one of the pyramids at Giza (Cairo) back in 1994, the tourist toilets were absolutely manky.
  7. In the forest, out on the ocean (stuck on a boat and no toilet), on the highway, in a trashcan, in plastic bags are but to mention a few. Sometimes, the inevitable happens and your stoma sets off with no toilet even remotely close.
  8. Into a pint glass at the pub, no disabled loos and the gents was closed for maintenance
  9. Into a plastic bag in my office whilst I was on a conference call.

I thought one of the best responses I had was from a fellow ostomate on Twitter. Prior to his surgery, he had an incident of not having a toilet near by.

“Mine, on duty, on a cordon… which got extended, and swabs taken of the subsequent ‘blood’ found. I then had to explain why my blood was found at the scene”

For those of you that had stoma surgery to relieve IBD symptoms, you can find that both amusing & upsetting. You can also sympathise with that individual, if like them, you have had no option but to go to the toilet due to those symptoms.

It is also proof that for most of us, that having had the surgery carried out, that life has improved thanks to the stoma even if we have been caught short and had to empty into the wild.

I would like to say thank you to everyone that responded to the post.

Many thanks for reading,

Louise X



This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine.

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