Thursday, June 6, 2013

A pouch fit for a French King

My husband and I flew in to Louis Armstrong Airport a scant three days after Superbowl 2013 only to come upon crews of men studiously tearing down every remnant of the game that held the city, if not the continent, in its thrall. The power outage during the event only served to highlight what New Orlineans already knew, the big easy is better at night. People from every corner of the world were now flying in for one of the world’s biggest parties, and I, as a loud and proud ostomate, was only too willing to partake.
Our first day back in N’awlins was spent re-connecting with old friends, eating, drinking and watching 3 incredible parades.  The sights, sounds and smells are indescribable as your brain struggles to make coherent sense of it all. The next evening we watched the Muses parade and when it came to an end, I realized I needed to change (as a colostomate, I wear a small, sealed end pouch) my poop pouch.  Oscar, my ostomy, had been very good about out-put but between the walk to the parade route, mass quantities of food and liquid consumed over the 4 hours, his home was about to burst.  I was faced with my first ostomy I hobble home and take the risk that of the 350,000 people milling around none will bump in to me? OR do I put on a stiff upper lip, get in line for the porta-potties and hope for the best? An ominous gurgle made up my mind.

The neutral ground at Royal and Canal Street (the grassy in-between area of Canal Street) had a row of toilets and the crowd was only running 10 deep so I made a break for it and found myself in a relatively clean plastic poo’r. I made the switch from full pouch to empty pouch quickly but ran into a problem when my ziplock wouldn’t zip. With thousands of people outside the door and my boisterous friends ready to hit Bourbon Street I had to think fast. I tore a sticky piece off of my wafer and used it as a seal for the baggie but then I had to think about disposal options. Do I put the poo filled pouch which is inside the Ziplock baggie in my purse, hoping the sticky wafer held? Do I wrap a few beads around the baggie and try to pass it off as a poopy throw? Do I follow everyone else’s lead and drop my garbage un-caringly to the ground knowing that the after parade cleaners will pick it up?  I settled on donating it to Sterquilinus (the Roman god of fertilizer) trusting it would be just fine in the bluish mash that is the bottom of a porta-potty.

My next oh ho moment came when I and 200 others decided to stop for drinks at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Saturday night. Lafitte’s is the oldest running bar in North America and has in my opinion, never bothered to update the original washrooms from the 1730’s. I was enjoying my second Voodoo Daiquiri (we call them Grimace’s for its purple colour) when I caught a whiff of Oscar. The whiff reminded me that I hadn’t changed the wafer in a week and only 2 days previous I even used part of the wafer for disposal issues. I grabbed my purse and headed to the outdoor porta-potties which offered more privacy then the indoor washrooms. A glance through the dim light confirmed my suspicions, Oscar had blown a hole...and I was in the middle of Mardi Gras, on Bourbon street in a porta potty. I dug through my purse for my emergency wafer, Brava ring, AllKare adhesive remover wipes and fresh pouch. I laid everything out as best as I could in a porta potty that was constantly being knocked on, and set to work. In 3 minutes flat I had removed, wiped, ringed and replaced the wafer and pouch plus disposed of the offending wafer/pouch and was back with my friends who after many cherry bombs, were none the wiser of my second porta-potty adventure. I had made my second offering to Sterquilinus in as many days.

On the last full day, which was Mardi Gras, we dressed up in costumes and hit the streets. My husband went as Rock, my friend Sara as Paper and I went as Scissors. One small problem arose; I had forgotten to bring tape for the screw (a small circular piece of cardboard, in silver) that I wanted to place on my front and rear. Tape is surprisingly hard to find in the French Quarter, on Mardi Gras and I thought I’d have to go without an integral part of my costume. Little did I know a porta-potty would be my saving grace?

A few hours in to our celebration, I needed to find a restroom, but like all indoor plumbing in the Vieux Carre, a proper restroom was not to be found. I did however come upon a porta-potty. I latched the door behind me and as I was pulling down my pants I realized my wafer was sticking to the silvery leggings of my costume. This gave me an idea and incidentally, more offerings for the fertilizer god.  I cut up my emergency wafer and used it as tape for my screws. It worked like a charm and I was able to spend the next 6 hours running, walking, jumping, hopping, skipping and shuffling up and down Bourbon. 

The next day while packing to go home, I found the red sweatshirt part of my costume; the screws were still secured, as tight as can be, with some help from my cut up wafer.  I think perhaps the offerings to Sterquilinus as well as a whispered plea of help may have assisted me during my porta-potty trials. I can’t help but think there was something more, a porta-potty god, watching over all who enter his domain. Whatever it was, as an ostomate, I will never fear the outdoor restroom again.  
Ps: A HUGE thank you to Sara for decorating one of my puch's, unbeknownst to me, in Mardi Gras finery!!!


  1. I actually never thought that Having an Ostomy can have so much problems associated with it.t. If you find any difficulty in wearing your favorite dress you can use the Ostomy Lingerie as they have build in support for the bag. Need not to worry more about your problem. Just have patience and try to live life as before.


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