Hot Mess Express

I love the phrase "hot mess express". It's what my friend Jill says when trying to describe her actions from a night of hard partying.

People often ask me if I'm allowed to do certain things with an ostomy. Aside from worming on my stomach with a full bag of crap on me, I'd say I can do anything. Even then, I could do it, It'd just be messy. I can drink beer, eat spicy food, work out at the gym, and do all the other normal things twenty-somethings do.

Yesterday I drank alcohol for the first time since surgery. I'm not the biggest drinker, but if I commit to going out and straightening my hair, you can bet I'm going to knock back a few. It's pretty much inevitable if you're single and in your twenties that you are going to drink from time to time and every once in a while you're gonna get really hammered. Luckily, I have drinking with an ostomy down to a science.

I've determined that it's all about quantity. If I'm in for a night of drinking, it's best to stick with beverages that pack more alcohol into a smaller amount of liquid. This often leaves me with guys thinking I'm such a badass chick for wanting a shot of Jameson. In reality, I want to feel the effect of tying on a buzz as to keep up with my peers, but I don't want to drink mass quantities of beer because I know it's going to produce more output from my ostomy. I actually don't mind this kind of drinking because I usually end up sipping on a quality beer while I take a shot here or there.

There's also the more infrequent occasions where I'm drinking for a REALLY long time. This happens at Phillies tailgates or St. Patty's day. I'll be honest, there have been a few 8-12 hour drinking sessions in the past year. These are difficult, however, because if I take shots I'll be passed out in a corner. Also, aside from the occasions I mentioned, I don't ever PLAN for a 12 hour drinking session. Sometimes they just...happen. If I do know ahead of time it's going to be a long session I just drink beer knowing that I'm gonna attend to my stoma frequently, but that I'll be able to get through the night without passing out in a bathroom.

Then there's the wine drunk. That was me last night. I had three classes of wine and was buzzed...okay I was drunk. And I was drinking red wine which totally travels right through your body. I think regardless of having a colon or not, red wine has this effect. Anyway, wine tends to get me through the night pretty nicely because after one glass my cheeks are already rosy. Again, I don't need as much quantity like I would drinking beer.

My point of this post? I guess that I am normal. And I hope that anyone my age who stumbles upon my blog realizes that your activities won't be affected at all by having an ostomy. Even in those occasions that I'm nervous about attending to my bag, say, in a parking lot of drunk Phillies fans or in a plane thousands of feet above the ground, it's never significantly stressful. In the beginning I would say the key is to be prepared because peace of mind helps you relax and enjoy yourself. I've had my bag leak in a number of places but it's never noticeable, and despite the fact that you would think a bag of crap smells and bleeds through your clothes, it's really not that dramatic (for me anyway).

Right now, I still carry small things with me if I go out to a bar--an emergency kit with the essentials. But I don't always if I'm close to home and comfortable. I can already predict that in a matter of months I will be one of those ostomates who leaves the house with only their wallet, cell phone, and keys. I'm looking forward to the coming months where I have a lot of social events planned, many of them with alcohol playing a minor role. I know that the more I venture out into the world, the more comfortable I will be.

There's so much to look forward to soon; concerts, a trip to New Orleans, and my best friends wedding. And I may or may not be enjoying a glass of wine, or three, at any of these events. Stay tuned!

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