My apartment is a sacred space to me. In it I have all the accessories a Crohn’s patient could want – freshly-cooked food, a great bed to recover in and a bathroom containing not only a bidet but a tile and grout brush for easy cleanup. It is a carefully crafted refuge from the ravages of my bottom and it’s a space I feel very comfortable in.
Away from home is another story.
Having begun stand-up in my early 20’s I soon learned that the constant traveling was a delicate balancing act of remaining mobile and seeing to my ongoing tummy needs. As I could no longer rely on the comforts of my apartment arriving at a new place triggered an immediate mapping of my circumstances like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the beginning of T2. How far is the bathroom? How private is it? Is there anywhere to eat without a “Waffle” or “Cracker” In the name? I imagine people without Crohn’s don’t think about this much but whenever I travel I’m always hunting for a safe place to poop and food that’s going to make me.
So I started by making a kit. In it I have my meds in clearly labeled bottles (so TSA doesn’t unleash the hounds when ruffling through my stuff), some wet-wipes (good enough for babies good enough for Ben) and Preparation H (minus the applicator, I use my finger like a real man). These things bring me the comfort of home and in this game comfort is key. Which is why finding Crohn’s-approved food is so important.
I’ve learned that when in a place that doesn’t have access to organic, healthy cuisine (which is everywhere except where you live), your best bet is to go to a chain restaurant and stick to their “healthy choices” menu. Typically these entrees have far fewer processed ingredients and will be the most painless way to eat painlessly. Similarly, identify genres of food you do well with and stick to those, mine are Mexican and Sushi – both of which are usually available If I ask the Google. And while road-trips are thrilling, avoid going berserk at rest stops. Every time I’ve downed a bar-bell sized energy drink and inhaled a bag of chips with ingredients a scientist couldn’t pronounce I am reminded that although I am away from home my Crohn’s travels with me. If I just think ahead and pack the same snacks I’d eat at home I’m generally good. Nothing is worse than a flair away from home.
And finally, never allow the fact that you have Crohn’s to stop you from travelling in the first place. The symptoms of our disease are so embarrassing sick people tend to forget that there’s a beautiful world out there that doesn’t care if you have something weird with your butt. If you make your comforts mobile you’ll find your capacity for adventure is no different than anyone else’s and Crohn’s is something you once heard you had.
Although I will miss my bidet.