I don’t know about you, but I definitely prefer to do my business behind closed doors. Unfortunately having a bowel disease, there are times where I have to use public bathrooms.
There are still moments where I will avoid going to the bathroom if I know someone is in there. I avoid certain social situations such as sleeping round peoples houses because the thought of them hearing me go to the bathroom, and as many times as I do, makes me feel a little (okay, very) embarrassed.
After four years of having this disease, I am still embarrassed by it. Yes it has become easier, but ultimately this disease is about poop and it embarrasses me to think that someone could hear me going.
This is why, many a time, I will walk lengths to find secluded toilets. So imagine my distress when I come to a work place where the bathroom is not only a single cubicle, but right in the middle of two departments, where if you’re using the photocopier I’m pretty sure you can hear the other person in there.
Work and poop. These should not co-exist together in any way. In the early days I would walk round to the second set of toilets, but unfortunately have been in there several times and someone has walked in.
I am then stuck there for at least 20 minutes whilst I pray that they leave because the last thing I want to do is walk out and share pleasantries when you know full well what I have been doing in the bathroom.
However there is something even worse than this, and for me this has become an increasingly annoying problem. When I am having a particularly bad flare, not only am I in and out of the toilet heaps, but, and I’m sorry to say this guys, it stinks. Like oh my god what died in there? Kind of stinks. Which is completely understandable because, I don’t exactly have a healthy set of bowels.
If I go to the single bathroom, I sit there praying that no one comes in. But it’s inevitable that working at a company for 8 months, some unfortunate soul is going to appear at some point.
It happened quite recently, the second set of toilets had someone in there and as my tummy is really bad at the moment I couldn’t wait and walked round to the dreaded onsie toilet.
I am fortunate enough that I’m not stuck in there for long but lo’ and behold just as I’m about to finish, thinking I got away with it; the outside door opens, signalling that someone else wants to use the bathroom.
Crap. There’s no windows in here, do I just wait it out and wait for this god awful smell to die down a little bit before I leave?
Bet then if I do that and I’m in here for ages, you’re going to know what I was doing in here in the first place.
God. This is embarrassing, I’m going to have to walk past you whilst you enter the cubicle of doom and most probably choke yourself to death.
Crap. What do I do?
I have indeed resorted to waving my arms around in the toilet, as if making some sort of wind from my arms might disperse the smell. Maybe if I waft it around, spread it out, it might not smell so bad?
Sometimes you have to just walk out, head held high and pray you don’t see the person again for a while. If you do have the unfortunate meeting, you know full well they are going to give you some deep side eye, conveying “You nearly killed me, It smelled so bad it made my eyes water and I wanted to vomit.”
To which in my head I can only apologise and say “I have a bowel problem” and be on my way.
All toilets should have some kind of air freshener so that the people with bowel problems don’t feel so bad that sometimes we have to go. That way, even though you know what we have done, at least we’re not going to gas you out of the public toilet