So in the last few weeks there has been a sudden surge of coverage of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and related issues in the media.
First off we had the news that two Olympic medal winners have IBD – both silver medalists in the pool. Siobhain-Marie O’Connor of Team GB has ulcerative colitis, and Kathleen Baker of the USA has Crohn’s Disease. They are not the first Olympians with IBD – Sir Steve Redgrave off of rowing is a CCUK ambassador, as is Ali Jawad, Paralympic Weight Lifter. There followed a couple of good articles over on The Mighty about how that might make other IBD patients feel – you can see those here and here.
For me, I say hats off to them. I don’t think I could ever have been an Olympic level athlete before I was ill, and certainly not whilst I have been ill, so it is testament to them that they have achieved so much whilst being ill – long may they have continued success. It also motivated me to finally go and do my first Park Run at the weekend – I walked it, but it felt good to finally be doing some exercise again.
unfortunately the next story that popped up was less positive. An IBD sufferer was on a night out, and had a sudden need to use a toilet. He went to the (open) McDonalds restaurant in Huddersfield to ask to use the toilet, showing his ‘Can’t Wait’ card to security and staff, but he was then asked to leave – you can read more here.
Now I don’t do night’s out very often, but it seems very sad to me that there was no flexibility for this young man to be able to use the facilities despite being able to evidence that he had a need. Perhaps the staff didn’t think that someone with such a requirement should be on a night out at all? I think that this is one of the areas that needs awareness to be raised – we might not be ill all the time, but we sometimes need a bit of extra help!
More Toilet News
Supermarket ASDA (favourite of my sister in law) have taken a great step forward with the signage on their disabled toilets – reminding people that not all disabilities are visible. This is great, although I’ve never had an issue myself, it took me a while to build up the confidence to use a disabled toilet without fear of the stare – and I think having a bag gives me an extra weapon to flash if challenged. I’ve needed them in particular in the last few years when I’ve been wearing inco pads – although not all disabled toilets have disposal bins. If I was in charge, all toilets would be accessible toilets with proper disposal bins. And all car parking spaces would be parent and child sized!
Down With the Kids
Our final piece of news relates to a perhaps ill-advised MTV blog about the movie Sausage Party in which it was suggested that a possible sequel – Colostomy Party – could be a hit. There was some real anger on the various Facebook groups and on Twitter from people with IBD and colostomies that once again these devices were being presented as comical, rather than life saving. This follows on, apparently, from recent references on Eastenders and Hollyoaks to them being something that only old people have, and resulted in a very positive piece in Metro by Hattie Gladwell.
There was a counter argument that it allows for some education and challenge (the saying being no publicity is bad publicity) and personally within the context of the blog I don’t think it the worst thing I have ever seen – however for some people it will reinforce their thinking, so lets hope they also see things like the Metro article.
If you spot any IBD news, do let me know by commenting or dropping me a Tweet @doobarz