Embarrassing Story Time

I am an open blogger, I try to be as accurate, upfront and honest as possible, with my experiences of; health, wellness, illness and disability. Even when it comes to the gory or embarrassing situations.

One major change for me over the last 11 months, has been the addition of my Suprapubic Catheter. This is a 16 inch tube that has been surgically inserted into my bladder through a small hole in my bikini line. The tube has a small balloon attached to it, which is filled with sterile water to inflate the ballon, this stops the tube from falling out of the hole. Once the balloon is inflated and the tube remains securely in place, the tube is connected on the outside to a urine collection bag. The collection bag is secured to my upper thigh with strapping and a cover is placed over the top, so my urine is not visible.

At some point, I shall have some photographs taken and will post them on a separate blog post. I planned to include those photos into this post, but due to a recent trauma to the hole (called a Stoma), It is now too painful to manipulate the area for photographs.

The Embarrassment Begins …

Anthony and I went to see the final Avengers movie called End Game. We went with one of our best friends, Stewart. End Game, is a three hour long movie, so we knew at some point I would need to empty my urine collection bag. When purchasing cinema tickets, Anthony is always extremely conscious of my mobility needs and the fact that cinemas are dark. Therefore, he makes sure out seating is always on the main floor and not up towards the back of the tired seating. However, due to the demand for tickets on opening week of End Game, we had no choice but to book seats a few rows back from our usual seating.

Dutifully, Anthony went ahead and prepared our seats, allowing me the isle seat in case I had a toileting emergency. He then ran back down to get me and put me in my seat, followed by Stewart. I carry an emergency medical supply bag with me at all times, (which I shall include in another post). Prior to leaving for the cinema, Anthony and I agreed that I should take a second urine collection bag with me, in case he couldn’t get me down the cinema stairs in the dark, during the movie. It was an excellent idea and midway through End Game, Anthony helped me attach the second bag.

Finally, the movie came to a conclusion and as usual, we decided to let all the other cinema spectators use the stairs and exit before us. If I have to use stairs I take so long meaning I hold everyone up, plus I take up so much room, due to such poor balance, no strength and having people help/support me. Anthony and Stewart agreed that, Anthony would take my emergency bag to the car and drive the car round to the front door. Stewart would get me down the stairs once the theatre lights had been turned back on. That would take the same amount of time for Anthony to fetch the car and would save me extra walking across a busy car park at 11pm.

Anthony left, taking my bag and Stewart stood me up and steadied me. I just remember grabbing my thigh. As soon as I was balanced, I instantly knew something wasn’t quite right. Within split seconds, I realised my urine collection bag was leaking down my leg! Stewart was brilliant from that moment, he soon realised I was in much bigger trouble than we first thought! My bag wasn’t leaking, it had in fact completely disintegrated in my hand, detaching the secondary bag that had been fitted. This meant that the tubing sticking out of my stoma was pouring with urine. It’s something I have zero control over, which is why I have to use urine collection bags, as there is no stopping the flow!

Three hours worth of urine was gushing out of every; bag, tube and hole in, my groin. It was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me in public, for a long time! I was covered in urine, from my waist down to my toes. I also had a broken ankle at the time, so I couldn’t really move well as it was. I was all over me, the flooring, the carpet and the stairs, I was mortified! Stewart, being a top friend and a real gentleman, knew he had to get me somewhere safe and accessible, so we headed for the disabled toilet, urine pouring out of me the entire time!

Stewart got me locked in the disabled bathroom and went to politely and apologetically inform the cinema staff. I had to strip off completely, all that was left on me was a bra and a urine soaked airboot on my broken ankle. I proceeded to reconnect my second urine collection bag, meticulously soak, rinse and wash every item of my clothing in the sink, ring them out and hold them under the powerful hand dryer. I then had to sit, remove my airboot and wash it in the sink, along with my trainer. If that wasn’t tough enough, I then had to wash myself in the sink while sitting on a toilet because ei only had one leg to stand on. I can no longer stand on one leg, standing on two is difficult enough for me these days!

The whole while, dear Stewart was offering assistance though the locked door and waiting so patiently. Anthony still hadn’t brought the car around and my phone was in my emergency bag, so I couldn’t ring for him to come and help me! Eventually, I realised that some of these clothes I could no longer wear. Despite the amount I had rinsed them, they were still sopping wet and smelling of urine! So I decided to shove my leggings and underwear into my coat pocket, by this point I had adequately washed and dried my footwear enough to get to the car, so I put them back on along with my wet t-shirt, bundled myself in my long coat (which just covered the tops of my thighs) and unlocked the door.

With Stewart’s help, I waddled as quickly as my poor legs would carry me and made it to Anthony’s car just outside the entrance. I chucked my coat and sopping clothes in the boot, on top of our waterproof mat and jumped in the front seat. I dowsed myself in; antibacterial wipes, disinfectant and alcohol gel before letting Anthony set off home. We drove home the whole way with the windows open and I immediately put on a wash when I got home, for my wet clothes. With Anthony’s help, I showered and had a little cry. My adrenaline had stopped pumping by now and the reality of the situation had started to set in.

I was really lucky not to get an infection with my open tube exposed for so long, with nothing blocking the end of it. But at the end of the day it was just wee, it can be washed away and I was not alone. I feel eternally grateful for having such wonderfully supportive and understanding friends in my life. They take the mick out of me something chronic, but when push comes to shove (in some cases, quite literally), they are the first to defend me, come to my aid, protect me, have my back, catch me or build me back up.

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Ella Hollis

Trying to find normality amongst multiple chronic illnesses.

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