So, before I went I read up on various different websites about any potential problems with travelling - particularly flying. I read that some people said it was 'fine, no effects at all' whilst others said their bag had 'inflated during flight', or been 'particularly noisy' and they'd felt embarrassed by it.
I decided the only way to find out was to try it and see!
I can now say without a doubt that travelling with baggy is easy, no different from going to Sainsburys or anywhere else locally. It didn't inflate, it wasn't noisy and the whole flying experience was the same for me as for everyone who was bagless! :-)
I'd forgotten how noisy planes are anyway - even if it had decided to become fartybag for the whole journey, no-one could have heard anyway....but it didn't behave any differently to normal anyway.
Heathrow was an experience though...if this had happened to me a few months ago I would have been mortified and fallen apart in tears - but not now :-)
As I went through the scanner at Heathrow the alarm went off (this is 'normal' apparently for both me and Sarah - for some reason we both set off alarms for no apparent reason)
Security woman says in her 'stern' voice
'Step to one side and raise your arms'
She then uses her little handheld scanner on me which doesn't make a sound. So she then 'pats me down' and all is well until she arrives at the bag area.
'What's this?' she asks LOUDLY!
I say (perfectly calmly & quietly) 'It's a colostomy bag, I have a permanent colostomy'
'What's that then?' she says, again LOUDLY
By now a few people have turned around and are watching the developments with interest...they probably thought they were seeing a drug dealer caught leaving the country with their stash
I said 'I have a permanent bag attached, I have a stoma, I had cancer'
She says 'Lift your clothing so I can see it & investigate the contents'
I say 'Nope'
She says 'Pardon! What do you mean 'No'?'
I tell her I'm not lifting my top in view of everyone, and again say it's a colostomy bag that I have for medical reasons
She says 'What's in it then?' LOUDLY
I say 'Crap' (LOUDLY) because now I'm pissed off with her bossy attitude and mannerism towards me
She just looks puzzled and says 'I need to see what's in the bag'
I now start to laugh and say 'No you don't, really you don't want to see - trust me on this one'
Luckily I then spot her colleague standing just to the left of me and I ask him 'Excuse me, do *you* know what a colostomy bag is?'....
He replies 'Yes madam, I do indeed'
So I ask him if he can please explain it to his colleague without the need for me to show her - in public view of everyone!
He speaks to her in Urdu - she looks completely shocked and says 'Off you go then'
LOL! I can't believe I'm the FIRST person she's ever come across with a colostomy but if I am, I hope I've made her think about *how* to ask those difficult questions.
All was then well until I got to Athens - where I had to change flights. This is because there are no direct flights outside of the holiday season.
Going through security to get my connecting flight the (very nice) security man asks me to open my hand luggage bag and explains that the scanner has picked up a spray can. He says it's probably perfume or similar that I've forgotten about.
I open my bag and take out the spray (which I'm allowed to travel with) and he looks at it and says 'It's fine....may I ask why you have a colostomy?'..
I tell him it's because I had cancer and to remove my tumour I had to have a permanent colostomy'
He looks quite sad at this and says
I say 'Yes but at least I'm alive at the moment, eh' - he smiles and says 'Welcome to Greece, have a great time'
I was also searched at Athens coming back - again the alarm went off (sigh) and although she scanned and then hand patted me down she completely missed the bag, so no need to go through it all again.