Here’s why people who “don’t look sick” use the disabled toilets

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This one is for the bathroom police, that is, those who feel compelled to tell others that they can’t use the disabled stalls, because they don’t deem them disabled. One would think in the year 2018 and with 117 Million Americans suffering from a chronic disease, this shouldn’t happen anymore, but it happens. All the time. It has happened to me (and ended badly for the other person), it has happened to friends of mine, and while I don’t have numbers, I would be willing to bet that at some point it has happened to almost every person with IBD.

So, dear bathroom sheriffs, protectors of Law and Order in restrooms, defenders of disabled toilets, here are reasons why people go to the disabled stall:

  • People with ostomies who may have to change their bags need space for their utensils.
  • A lot of people “can’t hold it in” and need to use whichever restroom available to them- and that includes the disabled stall.
  • Some people with IBD have accidents, and often have to change underwear during the day. True, they can do that in a regular stall, but again, it is easier (and often quicker) when you have a bit more space.
  • People having to take medication and wanting to do so in peace. When I had my picc line, I got an infusion balloon of antibiotics every four hours. That meant that sometimes I was out and about and had to do the infusion. Unfortunately, there are not that many restrooms that have an extra room (like Nordstrom for example), and I felt bad using diaper changing rooms. So, disabled toiled it was.
  • Wound dressing emergencies. My surgery wound took its sweet time healing. And healing is a messy, messy process that includes pain and lots of messy fluids at inconvenient times. Encouraged by my doctors to go out and about, I quickly learned to have an emergency wound dressing with me, just in case. I needed it several times, and yes, I used the disabled toilet to change.

And while they don’t fall into the disabilities category, here are two more examples:

  • Women (and men) with kids. Unfortunately, public spaces can be very kid unfriendly. If you’re around with your stroller (and possibly another child tagging along), it’s not always possible to leave the stroller outside, or have your kid waiting.
  • Larger people may not fall into the category of disability, but I do think that everyone should have the right to pee and poop in an area as comfortable as possible to them.

These are just a few examples, but they hopefully make something clear. There is such a thing as invisible disabilities. They are invisible, because you can’t see them. So saying “you don’t look sick” makes you look….stupid.



Do I look sick? I had a picc line, a surgery wound and a wound vacc when this photo was taken in 2015


  1. This is so on point. Luckily, I’ve not been stopped yet but I think once our baby arrives and I need to take it into the toilet with me, people will think I’m just using it for the buggy space!


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