Sunday, September 9, 2012
When your life revolves bathroom habits and a toilet, obstacles to the use of a restroom is not only infuriating but also anxiety provoking for so many of us in the toilet bowl of life.
Ally's Law, the Restroom Access Act, is well known to those in our circles. If you're not aware what this law is about, check it out here or google Ally's Law or Restroom Access Act for multiple sources.
Unfortunately, this law is not a federal law yet and is only enacted in 13 states. The fact that this law is even necessary is mind boggling to me. And the requirements to show a physician's letter or a medical card and that access is only required for emergency restroom needs in the states that do have this law is also mind boggling. The voiding of one's bowels and bladder is one of the most basic instincts and needs yet there are others who are so willing to restrict access to a restroom that they are perfectly content with a person accidentally soiling themselves right in front of the basic rights prohibiter and bystanders. The reality of some individuals requiring a law to force them to allow someone to use a restroom is beyond my understanding. Anyone should be able to have access to a restroom when needed, regardless of medical condition! This is one of the most basic needs we have and the need will be met one way or the other, it is only a choice for so long before our body demands relief.
Those without bowel and bladder disorders/dysfunction have argued that if one place denies you access then just go to another location. This is an argument by someone who clearly does not have any understanding of a bowel or bladder disorder and the never ending issues that are created by such disorders. My state does not have a Restroom Access Act. I do have a restroom access medical card that I carry with me in case I'm in a state that does have the Restroom Access Act or if I'm denied access and I want to try to gain access by presenting my card. I haven't been denied access yet but there are countless places that I have not even asked where the restroom is located due to the impression that access would be denied. In such situations, I become overwhelmed with feelings of fear of denied access, anger at the possibility of denied access, and urgency to find a restroom as quickly as possible. Fortunately, I have been able to either wait just long enough or there has been another location with a more accessible restroom that I was able to access in time. I dread the day that I am not so lucky though and I am angered that this is even an issue.
I had the same fears while overseas as I was aware that business did not have to grant access to a restroom and many public restrooms required a fee for use. Although I don't agree with charging someone to use a restroom, I prefer this to not having any access at all. Here's a link for restroom access resources that may be helpful.
Discrimination for any reason is deplorable and discrimination based on inconvenience is a pathetic excuse for such deeds. Individuals are too often discriminated against for various ignorant reasons and typically for reasons that are beyond one's control. It is a great service when a discriminated individual is able to make a positive difference in light of discrimination, such as Ally has done and continues to persevere for change. We all need to take a stand to end discrimination even if we have not personally been discriminated against. Nothing prevents someone from discrimination but at least when policies and laws are changed to address discrimination there is recourse.
This is my life with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Short Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with FAP as a child, underwent total colectomy at age 9. After complications and 6 more surgeries. I had an ileostomy for 6 years and am currently living with a straight pull-thru.