The kids call it TMI: Too Much Information. I call it, well, sharing the realities of life because sometimes those realities can make our trips rather unpleasant if we don’t prepare ahead.
If you are of the variety that thinks private health information should be kept private, this is probably not the post you want to read. If you just want the gory details of my life, this is the post I would rather you not read. For the rest of you, who just need some train advice because you have IBS, stick around, this post’s for you.
Potentially jumping into the cyber world of TMI, let me tell you about one of my biggest travel worries: my tummy.
Yes, the size of it (I’m working on it!), but also (and more important to this post) it’s, well, function.
Sometimes it works beautifully and I thank God – literally, I thank God! – after I poop. It looks just like the picture books show. Just the way it’s supposed to be. Ahhhh, nature.
Other times, my tummy gets all fritzy and unsure of itself. I have learned to baby it through those moments, hours, days, being extra kind to it, avoiding heavy spices, acids and grease.
Then there are those days that, well, are just plain awful. No amount of coddling calms the faucet. It’s off to the bathroom many, many times an hour. It’s ugly. It’s awful. And it makes traveling really scary.
Why So Scared?
Why so scared? Well, it’s like my escalator fears. I fear the actual problem it creates and I fear the social rejection if my fears materialize.
So, yah, I have to calm my fears of my tummy’s rebellion the same way I calm my escalator fears: with Scripture reassuring me of God’s peace, God’s hand, God’s love. No matter what.
But I also use natural earth-based wisdom …
I carry medication.
Just having my little pill container with my various strengths of tummy help, can keep my insides calmer knowing there is help just a swallow away. Well, a swallow and a run. When things are bad, even a sip of water can send me down the hall.
Which is what is really nice about train travel. You don’t have to wait for the fasten seat belt sign to release you to … well, you know, relieve yourself.
If you know about the time of day your body says, “Let’s go!” you can always camp out in the café with a book or camera. Typically I found the café bathroom vacant and ready for any sudden move(ment). Sorry, couldn’t resist. I was raised in part by my big brother, so this could be wayyyy worse. Just ask my family.
Practice Tummy Mindfulness
Oh, something reminded me, if you have a few weeks or months before your trip, practice tummy-mindfulness.
Get to know your body. Listen for its cues, its mood.
You’ll begin to notice that sometimes that ugh feeling is just gas, and other times, you should be on your way to the loo. It sounds very preschool-y, I know, but IBS is no kiddie matter.
Speaking of kiddies, this next bit gets a little more personal than I am completely comfortable sharing, but hey, this is 2017 and all bodily functions are on the table. Ok, that didn’t sound very good, did it? Anyway …
If you need to carry incidentals, carry them. What do I mean? Well, remember the kiddies training their bodily functions and the incidentals mom carries in a bag for those “just in case” moments? Those incidentals. For grown-ups. That’s all I am going to say about that. If you know what I’m talking about, you are relieved that you aren’t alone. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, all the better for both of us.
Sorry for that header. Or would that be bottom-er? Oh dear, time for me to close up shop today, isn’t it?
I just wanted to take the social risk in sharing because train travel is doable even when our bodies, on occasion, betray us.
And if the unthinkable (in our minds) does happen, just think of Al Roker. His White House visit comforted me more than once as fears tickled my tummy on the train and beyond.
REALITY CHECK: I usually hope my posts get read by lots of people. I mean, why write them if no one reads them, right? But this one? Well, I’d be fine if it went into obscurity. Then again, if it could help someone, why should I be a word loperamide?