Adjusting to a "Post-COVID" Society
Last updated: September 2021
Being at home most of the time made having IBS easier (we all know this). If I had a bad flare-up, I was already home anyway and could sit in the privacy of my own bathroom to let it all out. It was a weird sort of benefit to the pandemic. I'm in Canada where things are still on their way to opening up but people are just more willing and able to see each other now that most people are vaccinated, which means more time spent outside the comfort of my own home.
COVID-19 is not gone but living in a country where most people are vaccinated helps ease anxieties.
Post-COVID life with IBS
A couple of weeks ago, I met up with some friends for drinks at a restaurant. I have been going through bouts of loose stool lately because of life changes and just general IBS fun. As I headed onto the subway, my stomach turned. If I had been at home, as I generally had for most of the pandemic, this wouldn't have been an issue... but now for the first time in months, I was risking my pants and my dignity to get to the bar safely. The subway could break down or even just be delayed and there would be a disaster at hand. I wriggled, I stretched out, rubbed my stomach (I really find that helps), and even though the subway stopped for a few painful minutes in between stations. I managed to, frantically, make it off the subway platform.
I walked quickly to the bar and asked to go to the bathroom, stating that I would be a patron, and ran in. I sat on the toilet, relieved that I had made it. Then the shame came whirling in; it was another thing I hadn't faced in months... having a loose stool, smelly and loud, in a public washroom. I felt terrible for the other people in the washroom who were probably so grossed out at the smell and felt ashamed of myself. I managed to clear my flare-up and was able to enjoy mac and cheese and alcohol later on without any issues the next day (I know sounds crazy right but I swear it was the truth).
Now that things are opening up again, it means that I have more social plans on my roster... which means more time away from my apartment. I am constantly anxious about being close to a bathroom and it's such a frustrating feeling. If I am at the beach or a park or other outdoor spaces, I fear all the time that I will not be able to make it. So, I have to worry again about constantly canceling or delaying plans because of flare-ups, which was an issue I didn't really have for the past year and a half. It is frustrating because now that things are safer and more open, all I want to do is spend time with other people.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?