Thursday, March 13, 2008

Saintly Bars

Sometimes disability brings a 'back to basics' approach to living. I can swear that as a non-disabled person I could go months and months without thinking about pooping, having a poop, looking for a place to go poo. Months. Now, poo has entered into my head at a dizzying rate. When we stop on the road we have to find if the gas station or rest stop has a 'poo friendly' place (other people call them accessible bathrooms but that's just a nice way of saying 'place where bent and crooked people can poo'.)

Some of them call themselves 'poo friendly' because they've got bars. But the bars were put on to look decorative to the unbent people who don't need them anyway. One bathroom in the Southern States, I'm not kidding, had two bars in the shape of a cross that were placed on the wall six feet opposite the toilet. You could see the bars, be inspired to pray, but you couldn't use them. The bars, for those who don't know, are not for places to hang towels, they are to bear our weight as we lift our odd bodies from sitting, or crouching if they have wee kiddie toilets, to standing.

There may be, somewhere in a government file, regulations for how to make a toilet poo friendly, but no one seems to know them. For me, and this is only for me - others with disabilities have other poo needs, I like a tall toilet and a grab bar within reach. Not much to ask, but it seems like a huge problem for so many places.

I feel sometimes that I need to stand on the top of the mountain and scream, "As God is my witness, I need to poo!"

Take my hotel, the one I'm sitting in. We booked it as an accessible room (poo friendly) and out side the door it says HANDICAPPED ROOM. Nice. But I wanted to do a couple things when I got in so it wasn't till bed time that the need to poo entered my head. The bathroom had no bars, a low toilet, and no adaptation for a disabled person. I called downstairs and mentioned this to them. The clipped voice said, "That is our disabled room sir." I explained that it might be listed as an accessible room but there were no bars in the bathroom and it was a low toilet. "Sir, you don't seem to understand, that is our accessible room."

"M'am you don't seem to understand that I need to poo."

Believe it or not, that got action, weird action, but action, "I'll notify the manager sir." She promised to be back to me in ten minutes. Fifteen minutes later, I'm on the low toilet. I'd played around with the room and found that the open door placed the handle right in front of the toilet, I figured I could grab on and haul up. I told Joe to stay out of view, I always believed that whatever magic is left in a relationship of 38 years can be destroyed in 5 seconds by watching your partner poo.

Well, I got up, uneasily and unsteadily and fearful that I'd pull the door from the wall, I got up. The manager, apparantly upset that I needed to poo with no where to poo said that a carpenter would put a bar in the bathoom the next day. She wanted to know where to put it. Remembering the grab bar tribute to Jesus, I told her to put it in a straight line above the toilet paper roll.

It was there when I got home. For the rest of the week I can poo freely. And, to make each poo better, I know that other disabled people who come here expecting the 'accessible means bars in the bathroom so you don't have to grow old waiting for the maid in the morning' will have the assistance they need to get up.

It's not even 7 AM and I've had a poo-tastic day. And I'm wishing one for you too.


Anonymous said...

Okay - you know I have to ask. Are the bars in the right place in the washroom at Vita - not that I want any visual of you doing your business - talk about ruining a relationship - intimate or otherwise! Thanks for a great start to my day.
LOL Manuela

Dave Hingsburger said...

The bars at Vita are perfectly installed, they are the cadilliac of bars! I've never told you this but that day we talked about me working there, I checked out the bathroom!

Belinda said...

Glad you raised a stink about that. :)

Ashley's Mom said...

You crack me up!! But, you are absolutely right. I've lost count of the number of public restrooms that claim to be accessible, but in fact are not. My 13 year old daughter is quite good at throwing a poo-fit herself to bring attention to the matter :)

Unknown said...

Taking into account the needs of others is THE characteristic of true civilisation!
I like the idea (and the English expression that refers to it) of "throwing a poo-fit."
And yes, this is exactly what people should do whenever so-called civilised people forget that handicapped people have special needs! They should make it quite obvious to every bar-keeper and every hotel -or restaurant-owner, and make a scandal about this if necessary.

Anonymous said...

the thing that's been annoying me about a couple of the disabled toilets I've visited recently is that they never seem to have soap! Perhaps being disabled means germs automatically drop from your hands.

Anonymous said...

This is too funny. You have the same sense of humor on this subject that my 13 year old son has. :)
I was in a handicapped stall in Michigan that, I swear, the "bar" was only about 14 inches off the floor of the bathroom. Slightly above my ankles. Yeah...someone really thought that through! I think there should be some federal mandates on exactly what is acceptable and expected for them to call something "handicap accessible"

Shan said...

Any word, repeated many times, sounds funny. But this one.....THIS one, is the funniest.

Anonymous said...


I believe there ARE. The trouble is, they often aren't FOLLOWED.

Anonymous said...

I'm just looking for toilet stalls where the damn doors open OUT into the room, instead IN to the stall, where you have to sidle around them. This is Bad Design.

Using the toilet is a damn serious subject when there are impediments!