Day 14 – ‘Gentleman Jim Reeves’

Apologies for my enforced absence, it would appear that my return home far from being the promised elixir I was expecting actually turned into a bit of a nightmare 24hrs.

What was I saying about getting fluids right? Well, it all went horribly wrong both during and after the trip home unfortunately. Little Simon Stoma decided to show me who was boss and stay permanently open draining me of every last sustaining drop of fluid in my body, drinking isotonic lucozade simply resulted in, well pure lucozade coming out of my side. Inconvenient.

Thankfully the good old failsafe of ‘loperamide’ and porridge stemmed the flow long enough for me to absorb sufficient nutrients that my body was back in the room.

This was also on the back of another ‘annus horribilis’ the night before when excited over the prospect of being in my own bed I could’nt sleep for fear of ‘doing something’ to my stoma. What exactly I thought I was going to do I’m not sure, I mean I have already had the dam thing for nearly 2 weeks, it’s not exactly new. Deep down there is a nervousness of going to bed with your partner for the first time with bag attached.

‘Oh god, what if it vents when she is facing me?!’

‘What if I roll over in the night and it bursts!’

‘What if it fills up in the night and explodes?!’

All these things and more play on the mind, and they are rational concerns. These neuroses were not helped by the fact that my pressure relief valve did indeed block in the night (can you credit it). At one point during the night I must have turned to my right hand side, I bounced back over like some self righting lifeboat, ‘uhhhh that wasnt supposed to happen’ I thought. Glancing my hand down to my stoma I felt this massive balloon like device, like a bag of crisps on a flight when you get to cruising altitude.

Heavens and murgatroid what to do?!. My training quickly kicked in….. don’t panic Captain Mainwaring, think… think.

Ok ‘in the event of ‘ballooning gently squeeze the stoma, this should clear the admittance valve’

Two swift but resolute squeezes followed like a Scotsman pump priming his bagpipes.

But nothing happened no magical ‘ppppffffffffffffff’ or even a ‘parp parp parp’ , not a jot. Far from giving the instance relief expected it succeeded in in blowing air back through my remaining giblets with a blood curdling moan of a sleeping Manatee coming from within.

Plan B. ‘Manually release bag above toilet’. If I was still half asleep at this point, I was soon to be fully awake.

There have been many times over the last month that I have questioned the existence of a god, this was one of them. Me and my rugby ball stoma made our way to the bathroom.

With a sense of nervous hesitation I stood poised over the toilet bowl.

So let’s leave this here at this point, it would be so easy, but somethings are better left to the imagination.

The bathroom ceiling was due to be decorated anyway to be honest.

It’s funny how certain sounds and smells have that unique ability to trigger the neural pathways that access the deepest vaults of the memory, memories that you never even new were there, but are, just waiting for the appropriate trigger.

The ‘Jim Reeves’ moment on the trip home was one such of these events.

I was in the twighlight zone of dozing/not dozing in the car subliminally listening to ‘Paul Gambochini’s’ sounds of the 60’s on Radio 2′. A more mentally active version of me would have changed channels ages ago, but the general condition of ‘malaise’ meant that even breathing was a chore let alone reaching to change the station.

Suddenly it was Sunday morning in the mid 1970’s father and I were traveling to Penzance seafront where he would go into the local newsagent and buy the full spectrum of newspapers, from the ‘News of the World’ right the way up through the Guardian and the Times. Songs like Jim Reeves and others allways seemed to be playing on the car radio, which I remember as something of a simple devise by today’s standards fashioned with manual rotary volume and tuning buttons with the option of MW/LW (medium wave and long wave) and nothing else. I always seemed to be left in the Vauxhall Victor for what seemed like an age whilst father was in the shop, but my wait was always rewarded with a ‘Curley Wurley’ and a bag of ‘Golden Naughet’ bubble gum. I don’t remember ever engaging in much conversation with dad and reflecting on this now I also wander why a man that ran his own Newpaper and Tobaconist would still want to engorge on the papers on his 1 day off a week. Hey ho

For a brief period of time this spot of neural time travel offered escape from a troubled mind


Day 13 Unlearning (part 2)


Day 15 – ‘The smell of willow’


  1. Tracey HoneyC

    It’s so much trial and error with little Simon but I’m sure you will get used to his ways sooner rather than later – as for the bathroom ceiling oooopsss although yet again Simon you make me laugh out loud !!!! I’m hoping things start settling down for you but it’s not long since your major surgery, so try and kick back and take things easy – you’re doing great xxx

    • Simon

      Can’t afford for any more mishaps like that one! Tomorrow’s instalment involves removal of staples & before and after shots 😱

  2. Tracey HoneyC

    My mother-in-laws scar was like an anchor on her stomach when she underwent her bowel and liver resection and she said the staples didn’t hurt a bit coming out 😄😄 also remember your breathing exercises Simon xx

    • Ali

      There was a lot of breathing exercises going on, I was tempted to shout “push” at an opportune moment….

  3. Nigel

    Simon, so good to learn you are home and boy, did you make me laugh! Thanks.

  4. Karen Johnson

    Mate, I can’t begin to imagine what life with ‘Little Simon’ is like for you, however this period of change and adjustment is just another challenge that you will conquer in your own unique way.

    I hope you see the funny side to this link xx

  5. Simon, on hearing and experiencing your bout with the big C it gave me courage to go for a ” Bowl Scope” which is offered to men over 55 on the NHS. So did that and thankfully all clear. Thank you for showing your courage and wish you all the best.

    • Simon

      Well done Dave! My mission has been a success if it highlights the fact that men are taking up the screening

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