Monday, June 1, 2009

How was your weekend?

It’s around 1am Saturday morning when I awake. Instinctively I check my bag. It’s almost solid to touch. For some reason it brings back a childhood memory of the hard, plastic water canteen that would sit snuggly inside my Action Man’s jacket pocket. When the bag is this full it restricts your movements. Because it has no give, the bag won’t fold with your body, so you have to keep as straight as possible, which means sliding out of bed like an ironing board. As I stiffly make my way to the bathroom I hear a sloshing sound coming from below. Perhaps an Action Man waterbed would have been a more accurate comparison. I kneel beside the toilet and go through my routine. First I place a big handful of toilet paper in the bowl to reduce splashing, and then I tear off more toilet paper in sheets of three and fold them into sausage shapes for cleaning the opening of the bag. Once I’m all prepared I carefully hold the opening over the toilet and release the contents. Usually the stool is reasonably solid so I have to help squeeze it out, but this time, whoosh, the bag empties like a burst dam. It’s the consistency of watery gravy. Before I have time to process any of this I realise I’m going to be sick. I quickly assume the position: my head lunges out over the bowl and my knuckles ram hard into the floor tiles. The first heaves are the most violent and brutal, coming thick and fast one after the other, before becoming more sporadic and weaker, like the thunderclaps of a storm passing out of harms way. Dry heaves signal the end of my ordeal and I pull myself upright, the tears in my eyes refracting the glare of the ceiling spotlights turning them into hot white twinkling stars that make me feel dizzy and sick all over again. I crawl back into bed to discover my duvet has lost its power to provide warmth. Shivering, I rewind through the day, hoping to stumble across a clue to the cause of my sickness; blueberries, ham salad, pears, coffee…Sleep intervenes before the case is cracked. An hour or so later I awake again to find my bag has refilled and a choking nausea is creeping up my windpipe. I make it to the bathroom in time for another wretched white-knuckle ride, which is not to be the last before sunrise, not by a long shot. In the cold light of day, exhausted and drained of all fluids, I come to the conclusion that I can eliminate blueberries, ham salads, pears, coffee and everything else I ate the previous day from my enquiries. I decide I have picked up a bug. A sickness and diarrhoea bug. I believe it happened during the chaos in the public toilets (see previous post.) With one thing and another I wasn’t able to wash my hands and be as careful over my cleanliness as I would have liked. Having an exposed hole directly into your insides must be like a motorway for germs. I’m certain this is the cause of my sudden illness. Sickness and diarrhoea is nasty enough without the added problem of a colostomy bag continually refilling itself like the magic porridge pot. Saturday is spent on my sofa drifting in out of consciousness, the sound of children playing outside punctuate my dreams, whilst Everton miss out on the FA Cup, Susan Boyle misses out on Britain’s Got Talent, and I miss out on the best weekend of the year so far. Truly sickening.