I don't know where this is going, so eventually it will just end.
I saw Sam Cleasby on BBC Breakfast this morning. I had been pointed in the direction of her post "To The Lady Who Tutted At Me Using The Disabled Loos" a few days ago and it was well worth a read. The blog is about inflammatory bowel disease, it's something we live with here. Dan has ulcerative colitis, and sometimes it's not very nice.
The thing about being a chap with UC is that public toilets can be a bit of a nightmare. The ladies toilets consist of cubicles, the blokes toilet don't. There could be a couple, or sometimes only one cubicle, often a bit grim and frequently in use, occasionally not working - especially true in the case of our local trains. But when you've got to go, you've got to go.
Along with our emergency winter kit in the car we carry bin bags, wipes, toilet paper and spare clothes - just in case. It's never got to that point, but there's no way of knowing when they might be needed. People in our life know Dan suffers from this and sometimes it means he can't have a pint, or we have to dash off, or we can't go out for a meal. I do think people sometimes believe it's an excuse to get out of things though.
What changed things for us is when the former Manchester United and Scotland player Darren Fletcher revealed he had the condition. It had such an impact on his career, with him having to take a break from football, and having surgery I think that was the first time people we know really appreciated, if not understood, how debilitating it can be. In some cases it also kind of felt like people were taking it seriously as a real thing for the first time. This post "Ten Things Not To Say To Someone With IBD" resonated with me, I'm sure everyone with any illness or disability will have a similar list. I know people say things like this because they don't really know what to say or they want to show support, I'm not being nasty, it's hard to talk about illness, especially when it involves things we'd rather not mention.
Dan is really fortunate in that he hasn't had to have surgery and his medication helps with the worst of it most of the time, it helps with the blood loss and much of the discomfort, but he does get flare ups and they can have a big impact. People have enough to deal with without being mocked or judged by people (ill or not), why not be kind instead.