Vaccines for COVID are opening travel security. My wife and I are on an airplane, for the first time in a year. We are flying to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota for a maintenance procedure.

We have just planed after getting through the TSA. I had emptied in the bathroom to attempt the impossible, (avoidance of the pat-down), my ostomy bag has received numerous pat-downs.  So many of us have been there for various reasons.


As they use the back of their hands the officer examines the front and back of my lower body and my groins as the line of passengers behind me get backed up, stacked up, and delayed. I receive their stares as if it is my fault.

“It’s ok”, I advise the officer. “I know you are just doing your job. I get patted down every time!” Glad to be an old guy and less sensitive about the search process, I move through the line.

We are in Ford Airport, named after Gerald Ford, president of the United States in 1974.  Joseph Biden, at the ripe age of 78, has just become POTUS. He is the second Catholic president ever elected (after Kennedy). His VP is Kamala Harris. She is the first African American Vice President.

We understand that the riskiest practice on our plane is to use the bathroom during COVID. It is a good reminder to wash your hands and wipe down the area during these times. I personally get on the plane dehydrated to avoid the little beasts.

Traveling styles have changed. I was born in 1958. What would you say was the most important article of clothing identifying that group growing up in the ’60s and ’70s? Yes, LEVI’s jeans are iconic!! Since then, they have got better. The more worn out they are the better!  I have kept 8 pairs in my closet with varying degrees of wear.

I only wish I could wear them while traveling with my ostomy. My favorite LEVI’s are not comfortable anymore… the waistline is stiff and does not work with my stoma, especially if I sit down on a short airplane seat that does not recline.  I have resorted to flexible and bulky pants, even though the measurements of my midsection have not changed. It is a disappointment!

Again, as I’ve become less sensitive with maturity, comfort has replaced looks as king of my wardrobe.

My wife and I, being vaccinated, are making our way to Florida for a winter hiatus. StomaCloak and Stealth belt have become important parts of my wardrobe. I look forward to walking the beach in a swimsuit, albeit with a higher waist.

To all my ostomy friends. I wish you safe travels in 2021.


By Dr. Joseph Salisz, MD A urologist with an ostomy

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