Toilet critic wanted?

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I can hide it no longer- I have developed an obsession with toilets.

No, its not some really messed up fetish (totally each to their own though- no judgement here…); I have unofficially become an independent reviewer for toilets around my area.

What the hell are you on about Kim? Well, I have had the misfortune of visiting many a toilet in my local area, so feel I can confidently signpost people to one that most suits their needs. This is all thanks to those three little letters that frustrate me so, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

In my head, I have created quite the toilet catalogue. I know which towns have public toilets, where they are and of these toilets, which has communal cubicles (where you can hear EVERYTHING) and which have an individual room. I can tell you which local pubs have the nicest loos and which play music, to really set the mood for your toileting experience. Which restaurants have a single toilet which opens up RIGHT into the eating area, so diners start to wonder if their beef bourguignon is a little off… And if anyone has had the misfortune of having to use a petrol station loo… well! What a game of Russian roulette that is. I’ve had to learn the hard way which ones are nicely maintained and which ones have usually been redecorated by a passing trucker, who dropped and ran!

And it’s not just pee and poop either. I have planned many a story, for when I feel so nauseous that I convince myself that this will be the one time that I actually do vomit. Maybe if I say I am pregnant, they’ll have sympathy? Or food poisoning? I’ll keep a plastic bag in my handbag as a backup plan (True story!)

Now, I know I am making light of this, but it actually has become a bit of a safety behaviour for me, in terms of managing the Anxiety around my IBS and vice versa. I will say though, that I recognise I am fortunate that I often have the choice of where I go, in comparison to those with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) who may not have that luxury.

I am so pleased to see that a lot of establishments now have signs on their disabled toilet doors, reminding people that not all disabilities are visible. My sister has Ulcerative Colitis and I often see people frowning when she urgently uses a disabled loo.

Crohns and Colitis UK now offer people ‘Can’t Wait cards’, to show shop staff when they have to go, which I hope will ease the Anxiety of a lot of people. There should be no shame in having to go when you need to.

People are so prudish when the topic of poo comes up! Being a nurse, I will quite happily discuss bowel habits with anyone, because looking at your poop is such an important opportunity to assess what is going on inside your body and your general health. I can recite the Bristol Stool Chart off the top of my head (Google it, if you’re unsure of what I’m talking about!) and my family now use it as a funny, but accurate reference when they are worried or notice changes (it was even on my parent’s fridge at one point, but I think it put Mum off her dinner). Maybe it’s a good way for kids to learn to take notice of their bowel health too?

Image result for bristol stool chart
(Image from Google- Continence Foundation of Australia)


18 thoughts on “Toilet critic wanted?

  1. 30-35 years ago I had ulcerative colitis. It was 5 years before it was diagnosed, thus the 5 year space, and had my colon removed. If you didn’t have knowledge of public washrooms life was like russian roulette. And even that wasn’t enough often. I lived in the city, without a car, and I had to stop riding buses. I walked everywhere, and often had to hide in bushes and such to prevent public accidents. Adult diapers became a way of life for me in my 30s, though it took a while to discover them. I lost a few jobs over it, and dirtied quite a few shop floors. I know how hard the life can be. Learning to laugh at myself is one of the best coping mechanisms I found. Otherwise I would probably have become a hermit.

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    1. Gosh, you’ve had a terrible time of it. It sounds like you’ve coped admirably with the hand you were dealt, which I truly admire. Humour is an effective coping strategy; hopefully, with time people are becoming more understanding and less cruel to each other if/when accidents do happen.

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      1. Cleaning up my own shit gave me a different perspective on shit. At first I was petrfied (turned to stone, lifeless) when it started to happen. After a certain number of times I realized it is a natural process. We pride ourselves on never, or seldom, having to deal with it. We have toilets to hide it away. But we have not always had toilets. We have not always had toilet paper. Bowel disease of any kind chases that pride away. It is all a matter of viewpoint.

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  2. I get the whole ‘toilet’ thing, my first check when entering a building in where are the loos, how good they are etc and bring soap and toilet paper with me in my kit… Yes I carry a small and decrete kit for every emergency I can carry stuff for!!
    As for the ‘poo chart’, not going on my fridge but good to know on those days your body ain’t happy!! (and already self taught)

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    1. Ah organisation and control- Anxiety’s best pals (cept it’s that dick friend who’s actually just using them to make itself feel better… ) Totally, your bowel habits give such a good picture of what’s really going on in there!

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