Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Whiny The Poo

I never want to write about poo again.


I never want to have to talk to a stranger about pooing again.


However, for me as a wheelchair user, I find myself talking about poo with disturbing frequency. We stayed at a hotel downtown yesterday because we couldn't get into the hotel where we are staying the rest of the week due to their accessible rooms being fully booked. We decided that we wanted to come a day early to acclimatize to the time zone and just generally relax and get ready for a busy week.

The hotel downtown said, in answer to my question about accessibility that "yep, sure, no problem" the room would meet my needs.

It didn't.

I was lulled into a sense of trust by the peephole in the door. That usually means we're going to be OK. So, foolishly, or maybe because I was tired, I didn't look in the bathroom. By the time I did, it was too late to look for somewhere else. There was problem after problem after problem with the room. I could pee but not poo. I couldn't shave. I couldn't shower. My response was automatic and, in the situation, really appropriate: oh shit!

My bowels are well trained. They know what to do and when. So, early in the morning, I had to wake Joe up, we had to get dressed, we had to go down to the lobby, into the bar, push several chairs, which were blocking the washroom, out of the way and finally we made it to where I could poo. Then, we made our way back upstairs. Now wide awake. Now with no hope of going back to sleep.

Did I complain?

Of course I did.

Did they respond?

Yes, they did.

But, really, I'm as upset about having to talk about pooing with yet another stranger as I am about everything else. I wonder if non-disabled folk understand what an incredible privilege it is to just know that where ever they go, they will be able to poo when they want to. I wonder.

Because for me the sudden intrusion into what's essentially a private thing is becoming routine. Regular. I'm losing a bit of my embarrassment about this particular discussion. I get, now, why so many people with intellectual disabilities have no boundaries regarding what are appropriate topics of conversation. When you have private things discussed, private becomes public ...

So, I want a whole year or two without ever having cause to write a blog about poo or pooing. I want to never have to talk to another manager of anything anywhere about ca ca or ca ca-ing.

I'm in my new hotel now, I've already tested the toilet, on and off ... I'm good.

I want every hotel to have, in their discussion of serving the needs of disabled  travellers a sign that says.

Accessible Toilets:

The room

Couldn't be clearer could it?


Anonymous said...

Sorry Dave, as serious as your situation is - I admit I smiled, for at the end of the 4th paragraph (the 1st 3 being single lines) - you left the "k" off week, which of course reads "wee". Normally I wouldn't find it funny - but when the subject of the post is poo - well anything goes.

In all seriousness - it is darn frustrating. Is there not a standard anywhere???

One of my bug-a-boos is the absence or misplacement of transfer bars. When you don't have use of your legs, you need to push and pull your body out and over. What you sometimes have to use/touch to do this in so called handicapped stalls makes me cringe - and also makes me wash my hands forever. That is if I can reach the sink, tap, water, soap and towels!!!

With all the "disability" groups out there - can there not be a group that goes around and checks these things for those of us who can't!!!???!!

Sorry your private had to be made somewhat public just to perform the private. Hope the rest of your stay is much, much better.

Rachel Douglas said...

IDK but this makes me think of a Seinfeld episode where Kramer misses his chance to go and he gets constipated. The whole episode is about missing opportunities. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=the%20kramer%20effect

Anonymous said...

Winnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose
He came to me asking help and advice
From here no one knows where he goes
So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he's there
How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear.

You voiced some of my worst fear about a possible deterioration of my physical health. People possibly haveing to step over my personal boundaries.

But it already happens. Seeing a doctor in white clothes always makes me shed my clothes almost like a pavlovian dog. Sometimes things just easily get into another kind of normal...

Sad but true.

Due to having to take two loop diuretics I know every accesible toilet around and my friends know that I really have to use one when it occurs.


Dave Hingsburger said...

Anon, I k'd the wee ... thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

I am a regular commenter here but today choose to be anonymous. I am not disabled but I do live in fear and dread of where to poop when out of my normal element. Why? Because I apparently have poops that are significantly larger than the average person. I have blocked toilets in public places and private homes, hotel rooms and cruise ships and have actually had to snake the toilet at my work place, which is mortifying in it's own right.
At home I have a toilet designed to flush something like 40 golf balls. It doesn't usually fail me. But at my in-laws I have blocked the toilet many times and sometimes have been unable to clear it with the plunger on my own. My father-in-law used to joke, when I would confess that it was blocked and I couldn't fix it, that I had "an ass like a $40 mule". Believe it or not, this felt like a term of endearment coming from him. I think it was his way of trying to make light of my dilemma and put me at ease.

wheeliecrone said...

I often wonder if any non-disabled person realises how lucky they are - not needing to involve strangers in their toilet issues.
I use a motorised chair and have terrible problems with doors. I have had to ask random strangers to open the door to an "accessible" toilet more times than I can count. They are invariably pleasant and helpful, but I would really like to be able to handle the task for myself.
And oh! the profound joy I feel when I discover an accessible toilet with an automatic door!

william Peace said...

What a shitty story. Sorry, poo jokes make me act like a 5 year old. I have the same issue often. Amazing the ADA is 22 years old and yet barriers are commonplace.

Anonymous said...

oh dear, this is a sh#*ty situation, isn't it! brings out the juvenile humor in me, too - a fairly universal coping mechanism, i think. it's hard to find it funny when it is your own, tho..like the anon who commented on the 7th, the oversized poop has been a factor in my life, too. so much so that i only need to say the word 'plugger' and my husband knows to get the plunger. it's not funny when it happens outside of home, tho.
the reality is that your level of function, mobility device, and size
all influence what you need for toilet transfers and shower transfers. Reality seems to have escaped the mind of many contractors and code writers/enforcers. May each of them someday be stuck in some way - unable to get on(or off) a toilet -and have the opportunity to experience the effects of their thoughtlessness.

Nathan Dawthorne said...

I was thinking - despite theoretical universal accessibility standards - there is no way that things could be perfect for all everyone has different unique needs. So a toilet may be designed as accessible for you but is there a possibility that this ignores someone elses need? Do you think there is a way a hotel could meet the needs for every theoretical individual? How so? What would they need to do so situations like yours don't happen again... and then the assumption that things are accessible for all might end up being true!