Side Thought-Bathroom Time

I miss enjoying my bathroom time.

I know this is not something a person would generally share with others, but under the circumstances I am finding it appropriate. I have had an ostomy bag since July 7th of this year. That is just over three months. I am very fortunate that this is a temporary arrangement for my body. The estimated date of reversal surgery is late March/early April of 2019. Since I am not mentally adjusting to having an ostomy bag for the rest of my life I can sit in observation of the experience of having an ostomy bag.

My observation this evening was that I miss enjoying my bathroom time. This is not to be misunderstood as I no longer use the bathroom. I still use the bathroom. It’s just a different experience now.

I think I need to give some background into my relationship with bathroom: As a kid I used to hang out in the bathroom. It was a cool, soothing room and people usually left you alone if you are in there. I would sit on the floor and hang out with my hamster, Egon. I would sometimes do my homework in the bathroom. In college it was a place that thinking time could happen. Just hanging out on the toilet, thinking. It also was a nice place I could hide from my roommates when I wanted to be alone. When I was pregnant, the bathroom was where the middle of the night ideas and thoughts would come to me as I voided my bladder. As a young mother the bathroom was no longer my space, I had to share with the child who had my attention. As the children got older the bathroom was mine again. There may be occasional kicks or bangs on the door but they are old enough to not hurt themselves, so I could ignore them. I took many work phone calls in the bathroom at this time of life – I sometimes did consider it my office. If you have children you know what I am speaking about. The kids want nothing to do with you until you need to take a phone call, then all of a sudden they are in urgent need of ALL your attention and assistance. Hence, “office time” while telling the person on the other end of the line to please ignore the banging and kicking on the bathroom door in the background. Usually I was in the phone with a client who was pregnant or a fellow parent so they got it, or at least understood that this was in their future so no room for judgment.

With the kids getting even older there is more slow time, I have come to really enjoy my bathroom time for what it is – chill time while nature takes its course. I have a great rotation of magazines on hand. There is a guest book, which is handy because we got some great feedback that the toilet paper we were using was unpopular – we have bought fancy Charmin toilet paper ever since. I have had coloring books in there. Mind you this is not all about my experience but in my home I want everyone to have an enjoyable bathroom experience. In front of the toilet we have a cross stitch unicorn with rainbow mane with the words “You’re Awesome” framed, I am serious about enjoyable bathroom time for all.

Where my experience with the bathroom has gone awry is that bathroom time is now much more frequent and utilitarian with my ostomy bag. Bathroom time was a very passive activity before the ostomy bag. Now bathroom time is an all hands on deck affair. Bathroom time with an ostomy bag is a ritual I have honed in and I am proud of that but it is a thing that you kind of need to focus and pay attention to.  What I realize is that my relaxed attitude and chill approach to bathroom time that I had before is gone. I don’t look at magazines or check the guest book anymore. I don’t get to just sit and think (sometimes until my butt cheeks go numb). I miss those moments deep in thought or lost in a magazine.

I am appreciating this experience of having an ostomy bag for the time I have it. It is not good, it is not bad, it just is. It has brought me to pause and think about people who live with ostomy bags for the rest of their lives. I feel very lucky to have a bowel that will work again as my only exit. I am very much looking forward to my reversal surgery. Hopefully all will go well and I will be back in full working order by spring. I know it is a bit down the road but it gives me something to look forward to – having some chill, relaxed bathroom time with the latest Martha Stewart Living, planning the upcoming summer flower garden of 2019.

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