Emergency Supplies

22 Apr 2012

Whenever I head out, I try and make sure I have my essentials. As I have explained before, as an IBD sufferer you always have to be prepared. A night out on the town is no different; in fact it probably needs a little more planning especially if you intend to have an alcoholic drink or two.

Alcohol does have an effect on my body and that can make me a little tense and apprehensive. I probably shouldn’t drink alcohol but there are so many things my Crohn’s Disease stops me from enjoying, so alcohol, even with its evils, can offer some light relief. Cream buns have a similar effect but they do offer a small amount of yummy escapism!

I try and take as many useful items as I can carry. Winter is much easier for doing this than summer, as the cooler weather means more clothing, especially big jackets with plenty of pockets. The idea is to be as prepared as possible for whatever troubles you may find yourself in, especially when going out to the pub. Generally drunk men (not sure what ladies toilets are like) do not have the greatest toilet etiquette.

I make sure I have a decent length of toilet tissue, Imodium and painkillers (obviously the pills shouldn’t be taken if you’re drinking). If I have the space available in my jacket I’ll try and take some toilet wipes to clean the seat. These can also be used to clean around the base of the loo to help avoid any mess on your jeans (again, men’s drunken toilet etiquette isn’t great).

The last time I went to my local pub, my preparations were no different. I’m careful not to eat anything “dangerous” before the outing, I take enough supplies to cover me if things turn bad. I should be able to get home in one piece with as much dignity as possible. On this particular night I was feeling pretty good and it turned out to be one of my friends that had a bowel problem. He isn’t diagnosed with a specific problem but does have some gut issues. The doctors have told him its stress related. He gets really bad cramps and bloating as well as urgent needs for the toilet. (Sounds familiar)

We ordered our first round of drinks and this one particular friend disappeared off to the toilet. He wasn’t seen again for at least 15 minutes. As a Crohnie I recognise this as a sign of a toilet problem. He is a strong, stubborn kind of guy so, just like most of us, he puts a smile on and pretends there are no problems.

When he returned I asked him if he was ok. He obviously said he was, but I knew different, so I kept pushing. Eventually he said he was having a bit of a “dicky” tummy. So I offered him my length of toilet roll and some Imodium. He happily took the pills from me and felt reassured that if he had any further problems, I have the supplies at hand to help. I hoped he also understood that I’m not judgemental and was there for a strong shoulder of support.

I felt very useful. I felt as though I had helped a friend and offered support. I offered support when most would have accepted that he was ok. I’m sure, not that we would ever talk about it, being men, that it made him feel more confident. As a result, it meant he stayed out and didn’t have to make his excuses and head home. We both boogied until the early hours without further problem.

However; I obviously only carry enough supplies to cover my own misfortunes. My supplies are to get me under control, remaining calm and to help me get home. I had given up my supplies pretty early on in the night. Was this brave or stupid? At the time I never even considered what I would do if I had a problem. I was too concerned with helping a mate.

Shortly after my kind gesture the alcohol had worked its way into my system. I started to get anxious about my bowels. I could feel my gut getting restless and this put me on edge. All kinds of awful things popped into my head about the embarrassing moments that could happen. I contemplated going home. I slowed my drinking, cut down on my conversation and tried to focus, relax and reassure myself that everything would be ok. Had I sacrificed my own security to aid a mate?

Luckily I gained control of my body and started to feel comfortable. I relaxed into my night and for the first time in a long time, had a fun night and pushed my ailments to the back of my mind. I’ve not needed my emergency supplies for quite some time and I managed to convince myself that for the next few hours, I probably would be ok. If it all went wrong, I’m sure I could deal with it.

The moral of the story….. Just because you are ill everyday doesn’t mean other people aren’t allowed to be sick. Use your experience to help them in whatever problems they find themselves in. Also, make sure you are prepared with essentials for yourself, with some spares just in case!

Ben x

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