Preparing for and dealing with accidents in public...
Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease is no joke. Here are some tips and tricks from an ulcerative colitis veteran on how to prepare for and deal with the inevitable accidents many of us experience out in public. 😓
1. Before leaving the house, I make sure I have an emergency supply kit in the car and my purse/backpack so I am never left without proper supplies. 🎒
2. In emergency kits, make sure you include a new change of clothes, especially underwear. I pack 3-4 old pairs in my car just in case. 🩲
3. In your kit, make sure to have some wet/disposable wipes and toilet paper. If you have an accident in public, you know there can never be enough toilet paper or wipes for your discreet cleanup. (Pro tip: If you have to run into a restroom, take your TP with you. There is nothing worse then FINALLY finding a bathroom and you are left with no paper for your bum.) 🧻
4. Put protective covers on your car seats. I have them on both my driver and passenger seats. This has protected my Subaru from my UC flare when I was stuck in traffic and had no other option…
5. As unsexy as it can seem, having diapers on hand can truly be a godsend for one’s anxiety. If your flare is making it challenging to leave the home because you’re stuck in the bathroom, considering buying some disposable diapers if you need to run errands or go to a doctor’s appointment. They make styles that are flattering and not bulky. 🗑
6. Have a good attitude. Easier said than done. But, we all know that laughing while having this disease makes acceptance a lot easier. I will be the first to admit that an accident in public can really set a negative tone for the whole day. In fact, a big reason for choosing my permanent ostomy was that I never wanted to experience an accident in public again. 😌
7. Obtain a restroom-access card. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation provides these. This card allows you to use restrooms in small businesses that do not have “public” restrooms. I do not solely rely on these cards, as many workers are unaware of this restroom card. Let’s be honest, if I really need to urgently poop, the last thing I’m going to do is sift through my wallet to find my restroom-access card. 😂
8. Obtain a handicapped parking placard. Most states should have IBD as a qualifying diagnosis for a disabled parking permit. In my home state, “ulcerative colitis and any other related bowel disease” qualify. This has allowed me to find upfront parking in dire times and have speedy access to a restroom. 🚗
9. Download toilet finder apps on your phone. This can allow you to find the closest public restroom using your GPS coordinates. 🚽
I hope you find these tips useful the next time you are flaring and out in public. Remember, IBD doesn’t go away, so an accident in public is a very real possibility. What will help you succeed the next time you’re flaring is setting aside time to make sure you’re prepared and have proper emergency kits in your to-go bags and vehicles. 👍
For more information and tips on living with inflammatory bowel disease from the medical and patient communities, download the Gali friend for IBD mobile app and she will create a personalized feed of articles just for you!