The Everyday Girl Guide to: Ulcerative Colitis on the Go

September 4, 2013

I travelled this weekend.  I had a blast, managed to keep the stress to a minimum, and ate carefully to reduce my chances of a flare-up.  I was doing great until…

… I got to Union Station, Los Angeles, and was told the bathrooms were closed.

I had checked ahead of time when I made my reservations.  I was supposed to have thirty minutes to use the bathroom before they closed up for three hours.  (I won’t even go into the idiocy of closing an entire major station for three hours just to clean.  Sectional cleaning, anyone?)

My bus arrived 35 minutes late.  This meant the bathrooms had been closed for five minutes and I was out of luck.  I needed a bathroom, but not desperately, so I thought I could manage.

UC doesn’t like it much when you hold off using the bathroom.

An hour later, I passed out.  When I came to, I’d had an accident and still felt awful.  Much as I hated to do it, I lay down on the floor of Union Station with my suitcase as my pillow until the bathroom would open.  Apparently, security didn’t like that and told me I couldn’t sleep on the floor.

“I’m not sleeping, I’m sick.”

“You can’t lie on the floor.”

“I need a bathroom.”

“Bathrooms are closed.”

“Then I’m lying on the floor.”

Apparently he eventually realized I was actually sick and found a way to get me into a bathroom.  I was able to change my clothing, but I was out of wet wipes, so I couldn’t even do a decent job of cleaning myself up.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so embarrassed to smell like one of the homeless people who live in and around the station, but I did.  I also felt awful… UC drains me.  Since I couldn’t lie down inside, I went out to a bench (security guard nearby) and went back to sleep until things got fixed.  Then I had to go home, rather than go to work, because I could barely stand up straight.

All of this would’ve been okay if I could have just used the bathroom when I needed to in the first place.  I can’t even think of a real solution to this one, since I had planned for the thirty minute window to use the bathroom “just in case”.  It’s just one more of the joys of having an “invisible” disease that people don’t know about.  Crohn’s, because of the gluten allergy, is more well-known.  Ulcerative colitis is like speaking Latin.

If nothing else, this incident definitely didn’t make me a fan of Union Station and reinforced for me the need to scout out bathrooms before I go places.

You know… like normal people.



2 Responses to “The Everyday Girl Guide to: Ulcerative Colitis on the Go”

  1. Lindy Jordan Says:

    Hey! I can relate to you and people not understanding what ulcertive colitis is. It is hard for people to understand when they do not see any visible signs or symptoms of you being ill.

    How are you currently treating your UC? I just moved from Canada to Bali, and this was one of my biggest concerns was my health and what would happen if I had an flare up here.

    To my surprise I have found that foods that bother me in Canada I can eat here, I have been symptom free. I am starting to believe that a lot of UC for myself anyways has to do with the perservatives in our foods. Everything so far, except McDonalds, has been cooked fresh as per your order.

    I look forward to connecting with you more


    • EverydayGirl Says:

      My only real treatment is to reduce stress, get enough sleep and exercise, and watch what I eat like a hawk (with an occasional bout of amnesia). I’m an advocate of organics, reduced gluten diets, and lots of juices when I can’t stomach anything else.

      I’ve heard (from my sister living in Germany) that our food quality in the States is far worse than most other countries. I’m not surprised. We’re all about processed, cheap junk. Maybe Canada is similar?

      Thanks for the comment!

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