21 May Do You Stick Your Finger Up It?
On the day I came back to my grade 8 class, post surgery, I stood in front of my peers and explained what an ostomy was. I was met with wide eyes from my classmates who were trying very hard to understand what I had gone through. Many had questions, most of which were common and easy to answer. The most uncommon question, which I was asked on that very day by a fellow classmate, and which remains to be my favorite question of all-time to this day, was the question of whether or not I had stuck my finger up the “hole” (known as the stoma- the end of the intestine, folded over like a sock and sewn to my skin with an opening). I quickly replied to her question with a question of my own, asking her if she had ever stuck her own finger up her butt.
Since I can remember, I have seen my stoma as kind of like my surrogate behind. I have always been totally comfortable showing off my bag, (as you all know), but when it came to showing off my stoma, I have always felt very weird and vulnerable- almost naked. To me, it was like accidentally leaning over and showing off my underwear versus pulling down my pants to moon someone. Are the two comparable? I don’t really know, but that is just how I’ve always felt. I never wanted to show it to anyone.
It was not until I began unpacking my ostomy stupplies in our new apartment that I realized it was important that I actually show my boyfriend how my ostomy worked; that meant showing him my stoma. Giving an explanation is one thing, but as that grade 8 classmate had proven, context is often very very necessary. Understanding the importance, but still being extremely nervous to do so, I convinced myself that since we were living together, my boyfriend had to see it my stoma, simply for my own safety. What if something happened to me in our apartment? What if he needed to save my life? How could he save my life if he wasn’t fully aware of how my abnormal body functioned?
It made sense at the time.
So, after rationalizing the decision and mustering up some courage, I showed it to him.
A giggle, a long pause, and a thoughtful smile later, it was over.
And he still loved me.
Now, not only can I rest easy knowing that my boyfriend loves me no matter what, I can also be comforted in the fact that, in case of an emergency, my boyfriend now fully understands my abnormalities and can totally save my life if need be. Does he actually know any life saving techniques? I actually don’t know.
Does it matter?
No it does not.
PS; I have never stuck my finger up there.