A toilet completely encased in ice. There is a bright neon alert exclamation point next to the toilet.

UC during an Ice Storm

What do you get when you mix an ice storm with a colitis sufferer, a loss of electricity, and the final drip-drip of water from the bathroom faucet?

“H-Have we lost water, too?” I choke out in desperation to my husband.

We are in the midst of a winter that we haven’t experienced in a good decade, and why not as the world continues to navigate a pandemic? It seems only fair to get hit with an extra punch-of-a-winter that hasn’t occurred for many years in southern Ohio.

An ice storm leading to no power or water

But this winter, my home region is walloped with 1/4” -1/2” of ice first pulling down trees and power lines, followed quickly by some five inches of snow.

Now, I get that this amount doesn’t equate to “Snowmaggedon,” but for an area that seems to miss the usual winter storms, we are now experiencing loss of power, cable, Internet, and water.

“Yep...there goes our water,” my husband sighs in resignation.

Now, to the normal person, a lack of water can be managed by allowing commodes to fill to a certain degree with human waste before needing to pour additional water into the tank for flushing purposes. Do people like doing this? Well, no, but desperate times call for different modes of behavior.

UC began to act up with the stress of everything

For a person with an IBD, the mere signal of water loss seizes a sufferer’s gut on contact. At least, I have discovered this is how my colon operates.

“Ring the alarm! Ring the alarm! This chick doesn’t have water! Bring on the thunder gut!” KABOOM!

Just like that, my eyes widen as the lightning bolts of pain shoot their daggers into my inflamed body.

“Outa my way,” I shriek as I shove my husband out the bathroom and slam the door.

I’m shrouded in complete darkness as I fumble for the commode.

Pain and needing to use the bathroom at the worst moments

This is how it always goes. Whether on the home front, at work, or at any business with an “Out of Order” sign posted on the restroom door, my colitis immediately kicks into high gear when my brain signals, “Alert! Alert! There’s no water.”

It’s a given...As if my colon waits specifically for these precarious moments to jumpstart itself.

Here I am, in an ice storm, facing the reality of no water. But dealing with the dirty details of an outraged bowel.

Support from others during difficult times

It’s necessary for those of us living with Crohn’s/UC to have supportive people in our lives who can understand our “guttural triggers.” My rugged husband who gets squeamish about nothing stands ready to aid me in these dire times.

“I’ll fill buckets with ice and grab the bucket heaters from the barn. Don’t worry. I’ve got this. You have one good flush before we need to fill the tank again.”

Thank goodness for this former-farmer-husband to serve on active duty for this UC soldier. With a hooked-up generator and melting buckets of ice, I can take comfort in my support system. Utilizing some ingenuity, UC sufferers can overcome obstacles.

No water? No problem.

Just call on your support team.

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