‘It brought us closer together.’
That’s how I voted in the relationship poll.
I met my girlfriend Elisabeth shortly after my first flare up with ulcerative colitis.
Although at the time I didn’t know it was called ulcerative colitis.
I just thought it was a weird-spluttery-shitting-blood-diarrhoea-thing.
I thought it would go away.
So I didn’t mention it to Elisabeth.
In case it made her go away.
A weird-spluttery-shitting-blood-diarrhoea-thing isn’t something you bring up on a date.
I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted her to think I was sexy and funny and clever.
I didn’t think telling her my shit looked like roadkill would help.
So I kept it to myself.
It wasn’t difficult, because most of the time I felt fine.
My symptoms would come and go. It was all very sporadic.
But I do remember when I stayed at Elisabeth’s house, in the mornings I would turn the shower on to drown out the phutt-phutt-splutt-splosh of my bottom exploding.
If Elisabeth or her housemates ever heard anything they were too polite to say.
By the time I was properly diagnosed and I had a name for my weird-spluttery-shitting-blood-diarrhoea-thing Elisabeth and I were boyfriend and girlfriend.
A proper couple.
And proper couples share their troubles.
So we learnt all about UC together.
And as we got to know UC better, we got to know each other better.
Thanks to the noises and smells I produced, Elisabeth perhaps got to know me a bit better than I would have liked.
But she never made me feel embarrassed about anything.
She always said she didn’t mind and encouraged me to be open about it.
She made me feel comfortable talking about, well, poo, mainly.
Colour, consistency, frequency…nothing was off limits.
Nevertheless, I continued to turn the shower on when I went to the loo.
It’s fine talking about it, but she didn’t have to hear everything.
So I know I’m very lucky to have a girlfriend like Elisabeth.
Not only is she patient and understanding, she kind of takes everything in her stride.
She’s unflappable, calm, steady.
I put some of it down to her being German. They’re a practical lot.
As well as being cool-headed, she’s incredibly supportive.
If you go all the way back to my first post on Number Twos you’ll see I had my first comment.
She’s been there for me right from the start.
Reading this back I think I should write a post about how having my bag has affected our relationship, so coming soon…Elisabeth, colostomy bags and me.