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Barbara Bradley Bolen, Ph.D.

A Conversation About "Can't Wait" Cards

By November 28, 2012

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As many of you know, IBS is often shrouded in secrecy. Therefore, I am always encouraged when I see that an IBS-related topic gets some buzz. The issue at hand has to do with "can't wait" cards, which are cards that a person with certain health conditions might carry to use to gain access to restricted restrooms or to use to get in the front of a long line of people waiting to use a public toilet. The conversation began with a post on the ibshealth website:

The folks at IBS Impact took the topic and ran with it:

My thoughts? I like the idea. In a perfect world, IBS would be viewed like any other health disorder and people would willingly support the efforts of an IBS patient to get quickly into a restroom. However, we all know that the world we live in is less than perfect. So although the card is no guarantee of stress-free bathroom access, I still think it is a worthwhile tool. Even if it only worked some of the time, that is better than not having the card at all. If the card is met with resistance from business owners or people already standing in line, it is probably best to just gracefully exit, but you are no worse off than if you hadn't tried. But as can be seen by the above discussion, the issue is not so clear-cut. What are your thoughts? Would you welcome such a card? Would you feel comfortable using it? Feel free to join the conversation and leave a comment below.

On a related note, legislation has been approved in some U.S. States to ensure restroom access to those in need due to a medical condition. Here is some information from Amber Tresca, About.com Guide to Inflammatory Bowel Disease:

More from Dr. Bolen, your IBS Guide:

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December 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm
(1) cc says:

I think any public establishment should be required to provide public restrooms. If I know a store that doesn’t I don’t shop there unless I feel especially sure I’m ok at that time.

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