It’s really not that bad as long as you are prepared. We can all agree the only place you’re truly comfortable changing your bag is in your own bathroom. So how can you make it easier when you’re in a public restroom?
Grab some paper towels before heading in the stall. Paper towels?? Yes….they can help provide clean surface for you to put your supplies on. They’re also are good to wipe off around your stoma. Public restroom toilet paper is usually thin and does not help when you are trying to clean your skin up from a mess. I usually keep a few paper towels folded up in a zip-lock bag in my purse along with my spare supplies. Just in case- nothing worse than going to a bathroom that’s out of paper towels and toilet paper. Ugh!
Be creative with the limited space you have. Let’s face it, you won’t be able to spread all your supplies out like you usually do. So take some of your paper towels and lay them on any surface that you can. I know of some people that had to use the floor. Yep-sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. You can use the top of the toilet paper dispenser to rest your supplies on while your removing your bag. You can use the back of a toilet if it has a tank. You can use the baby seats that fold down on the back of the stall door. You can even rest your supplies on your pocket book as it hangs from the hook on the door- I’ve done this one many times.
Always keep little disposable bags that come packaged in your ostomy bags or little disposable bags or doggy bags (the bags used to dispose of dog waste). These really come in handy when you’re in a public restroom. If your ostomy is like mine it always seems to have output when I’m changing my bag which can delay the process and make a mess. If you have one of the “disposable bags” you can tuck it in your underwear line just below your stoma to catch any output while you are changing it. It will help keep your clothes clean too.
Take extra clothes with you if you are going to be a good ways from home. There is nothing worse than having a fun day planned and a leak happens that ruins your clothes. It leaves you feeling defeated and frustrated that you had to miss out on the fun. Anytime I have a fun event planned that is going to be taking me a good ways from home for the day. I pack a bag with extra clothes just in case. That way I only miss out on the fun for 20 minutes… not all day.
Ways to buy time if you DON’T want to change your bag in a public restroom…
Hylan Pink tape – This stuff is amazing! It’s waterproof and the adhesive stays on for a good while. Most of the time you can feel the leak happening or can see it coming through the flange a little. The pink tape comes in little rolls so you can tear off a piece and cover up the part of the flange where the leak has started and buy yourself some time to get home and change it where you are more comfortable.
Large adhesive bandages- Made by Band Aid brand – It has four adhesive sides so that you can place over the part of the flange that the leak has started in. It will buy you a little time so that you can get home and change your bag before it gets on your clothes.
Superglue and pink tape on small holes that randomly happen. This happened to me on a big hiking trip in Utah. I slapped some super glue on my bag with some pink tape over it and kept on going.
Just remember there will always be challenges to overcome no matter what life you live. Just take every challenge that comes your way as a way to learn and become better. Then pass what learn along to someone else.
-Be the person that helps others along in life-