by Allie Korpesio
(from Ostomy Canada Magazine – Summer 2012: Volume 20, Number 1)
The hubby, myself, mother, brother, future sister-in-law and nephew all descended upon the Mexican Riviera via a cruise called the Sapphire Princess for Christmas (Dec.22 – Dec.29). We ate, drank, shopped (I’m sorry everyone, I officially bought out Mazatlan), drank, spent a day with pirates, drank, wandered aimlessly through Cabo, drank, sat on a beach on Dec. 25 while sipping (downing glass after glass) a Margarita, ate some more and generally just enjoyed being with the family in such a beautiful place. Everyone, if you have never been, go to Mexico. I probably would have OD’d on the food if it wasn’t for the occasional Corona that was constantly being offered.
Now on to Oscar. He was an all star. He never complained and for the first time in 13 years I was actually able to go on a vacation that included limited washroom facilities. On Dec. 25 we took a ‘pirate adventure cruise’ in Puerto Vallarta that included a few hours on a deserted beach that had NO washrooms. Yup, NO WASHROOMS. I wasn’t fazed. Oscar wasn’t fazed. The pirates weren’t fazed, but I am pretty sure some of the people that went into the water to ‘swim’ were not swimming.
The one hiccup came on the 2nd day of the cruise. Our room attendant ‘Jerrard’ approached me in the hallway outside our room and quietly whispered “excuse me, but the um…” At this point I exclaimed loudly “Oh, you’re probably wondering about the ostomy pouches in the garbage can?” I use closed ended pouches that I put into a Ziploc baggie and deposit into a garbage can. Oscar is a colostomy and gives me solid poops so I can’t really use open-ended pouches. Jerrard looks at me with a stunned expression and I say, “ask away, it’s cool.” He then whispers, because when people talk about ostomies they whisper don’tcha know, “would you mind using a bag that I provide to put your um…er…” “Ostomy supplies in?” I helpfully yell. “Yes” he replies.
The picture you see folks is me in the ‘bag’ he provided. It was an extra large bright red biohazard bag. At first I was completely in shock. The hubby said, “how is Oscar’s pouch poop any different then your nephew’s poopy diapers in the next room?” I was a few drinks in and quickly realized I could cut the bottom of the bag and wear it as a dress. Hilarity ensued, pictures were taken and the on ship nurse was phoned. I explained that a three foot biohazard bag is not practical on many levels, including the fact that our cabin was only 12×12. I also had to explain the difference between an ileostomy and a colostomy and that yes, closed pouches do exist. She sent about a dozen mini biohazard bags that Oscar and I faithfully filled for Jerrard for the next six days.
Thank you Oscar for making my Mexico trip truly hazardous.
Allie Korpesio is a member of the Edmonton Ostomy Association
“A New Bag to Wear?” first appeared in the Summer 2012 edition of Ostomy Canada. You can become a subscriber to our glossy, full-colour publication of Ostomy Canada by joining Ostomy Canada Society. Find out more here.