Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chicken Gloves and Extinction-Level Events

I need chicken gloves.  Yes, chicken gloves.

Let me explain.

I think I've written about how during cancer treatment, I developed new allergies.  For example, as a result of all the blood draws, port accesses, IV tubes put in me, etc., I developed a terrible allergy to those little one-inch by one-inch alcohol wipes that you tear open to clean the skin before they stick you with a needle.  That particular allergy went away with time, which is great, but treatment definitely comprised my immune system.  Can't blame it.  With all the chemicals dumped into me over the course of 2010, I was giving my immune system its own little Ninja Warrior course to deal with.  And it was already such a finicky immune system to begin with -- with it going bananas when exposed to shellfish, salmon, wasp stings, hornet stings, and a bunch of environmental allergens.

Well, with said immune system, when I started training for that physique show two years ago, I had to eat a pile of protein every day.  Usually in some form of animal flesh.  Whitefish, beef, turkey or chicken.  I mostly ate chicken -- cuz I just like chicken -- and after a few months of heavy consumption, I found my hands would itch like mad after preparing a few pounds of chicken for the week.  I went to see my allergist, who shook his head after hearing my complaints of possible chicken-induced itchiness, told me once again "I worry about you -- you're one of my worst guys".  He tested me for chicken allergies and sure enough, turns out it's a thing.  A thing that I have.

Allergic to chicken?  What the hell!  That's like telling someone you can't wear blue jeans.  Just, no.  So, I gave up chicken for a bit.  But, after time, I got stubborn, and slowly introduced it back into my diet, and discovered that it was OK.  And that's where I was for the past year or so.

Now that I'm prepping for a show again, I'm eating a ton of chicken again and the chicken allergies are coming back.  I just got done preparing a big pile of the stuff, and my hands were itching like crazy again.  Eating the chicken is just fine, but the *preparing* of it is what sets me off.   Does that make sense?  I don't know.  Seems totally odd to me. 

But, anyways.  My solution is chicken gloves.  Maybe some of those nice latex gloves that come up to the forearms.  I can wear them when handling the raw chicken, and take them off when its in the oven.

I know, weird.  But a few of my fingers are getting itched raw, so chicken gloves it is.


I don't know if it's the prep diet that's doing it, but I've had an inordinate number of "code browns" (ostomatespeak for ostomy appliance fails that cause I big, brown mess) since the start of year.  Most of them have been due to my laziness -- I haven't been irrigating as much lately as I usually do so I've been wearing full-on colostomy bags of late to catch all the output.  I like irrigating.  I hate pooping into a bag, but it just takes time.   I've been busy, my legs always fall asleep on the toilet since I'm sitting on it for 35 minutes at a time, and, really, I've just grown weary of the process.

The code browns, while inconvenient, are usually quick and easy to clean up.  It's the Be-Bands I wear over the ostomy appliances that usually save me from a bigger mess, and after a trip to the bathroom to clean things up and put a new appliance on, I'm good to go.

Except for a few days ago.

Holy shit.

I had my worst stoma blowout.  Ever!  We're talking bag-can't-hold-this Mt. Vesuvius-would-be-proud extinction-level-event eruption.  It was crazy.  After lunch, I heard a very loud and ominous-sounding gurgling from the murky depths of my abdomen.  I didn't think too much of it, but a minute or so later, I felt a decent explusion out of the stoma, and felt my bag fill up a good part of the way.   It was total liquid.  Which is never a good sign.  I was surprised, but not alarmed, and went back to whatever I was doing at my desk.  More gurgling, and another liquid eruption, and now the bag was almost entirely full. 

I went to my book bag for more supplies, so I could go to the bathroom and change, and saw that I was totally out.  "Shit."  That's not like me.  I've usually a total boy scout and am always prepared.  I had a totally full bag, and it needed changing *now*.  I realized I had some spare ostomy supplies in my gym bag in my car, so I hurriedly walked out to the car, hand pressed against my abdomen to hold the very full bag from peeling off my stomach and creating a huge mess.

I got to mycar, and just as I opened the door.  There was a tremendous gurgling and a HUGE eruption of liquid.  I felt it coming, and literally yelled out "NOOOOO!!!!!" right before you-know-what-hit he fan.  I didn't look around, but I'm sure I draw a bunch of alarmed stares.

The bag had no chance to hold the oncoming wall of liquid poo.  The bag immediately filled  and tore off my abdomen so it could overflow.  Shit was now free to fly everywhere.  It ran out from under my t-shirt and sweater and a ribbon of liquid brown flowed over my belt and dripped down onto my boots, and all over the parking lot pavement.  My sweater, t-shirt, jeans, Be-Band, shoes, underwear -- all got a good soak -- it just got everywhere.  I just froze and let it all happen.  I was terrified.

When all was said and done, it looked like a rather sick dog had done a nasty number 2 between the passenger side of my car the car next to me. 

I chucked what was left of ostomy bag in the bushes, grabbed my gym towel out of my gym bag, wrapped it around my waist, and drove home.  My stoma wasn't done with me yet, erupting a few more times for good measure for the ride back.  I walked right into the shower fully dressed and began the cleanup.  I just chucked a few articles of clothing straight into the garbage.  I returned to work 90 minutes later, cleaned up the scene of the crime as best I could (I'm sure the driver of the car next probably wondered what the hell had happened as they approached their car that afternoon), and strolled back into work like nothing happened.

Had that explosive event happened at my desk, I think I would have died and quit my job right there out of embarrassment.  Can't say how lucky/fortunate I was to have that happen in the parking in the middle of the afternoon with nobody around.

Almost seven years with a stoma, and this was the worst eruption yet.  I hate to say it, but there's going to be a time, probably when I'm much older, when this kind of eruption will occur in a very public place or in a very public way.  And I will be mortified.

So, there you have it.  The joys of being an ostomate.

Like this, but stoma instead of mouth, liquid poo instead of vomit.