Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Many IC patients I talk to often still want to be able to travel or socialize and go to the theatre but feel it’s too much of a challenge to do so. For some it is, but others with a little help would still be able to participate in activities such as movies, theatre, flying etc.

Let’s start with things like movies, theatre, sporting events and so forth. One of the first things every IC patient should have is the ICA’s Restroom Access Card.  I strongly urge you to purchase the ICA’s Restroom Access Card ($10 for just the card; or if you become a member of the ICA you get one in your Welcome Packet). I have used my card on numerous occasions when faced with extremely long lines at various events. I always seek out a manager to assist me and don’t just whip it out and just try to get everyone in line to let me bypass them. If you get a facility manager, explain the situation, show your card, ask for their help, I have always been given assistance and either taken to a separate restroom, or escorted to the front of the line. Often theatres have special handicapped bathrooms, and you do NOT need to be in a wheelchair to use them. Just show your card, and do not be embarrassed or hesitate to tell a theatre manager you have this bladder disease and cannot wait in a long line and ask for their help. This has always worked for me in these situations.

Whenever I’ve purchased tickets for a special theatre event or the like, I always make sure one of the seats is an aisle seat and make sure that’s my seat, so I can easily sneak out without having to climb over everyone in my row. I’ve mastered the art of sneaking out quietly and getting back to my aisle seat without disturbing anyone around me!

If you are traveling by plane, as you will read on the ICA link I’m posting, there are excellent tips to use in dealing with the airlines when booking your trip and while traveling. In addition, again, the Restroom Access Card will be of great value in dealing with the flight attendants on board. This is extremely important to help you once you board the plane to allow you to get up and go to the restroom if the seat belt sign is on. Once you board, talk to a flight attendant and show them your card and explain your situation; again, ask for their help. This is key to being able to go whenever you need. The biggest challenge is once you leave the gate and are on the tarmac waiting to take off, if there are major delays, they WILL NOT let you get out of your seat, as they need to be prepared to take off on a moment’s notice. Be prepared for that. Be sure to click on the first link and scroll down to read the section on Airline Regulations. There are challenges, but they CAN be overcome as long as you have a plan and go prepared. As I suggested above, an aisle seat for you is an absolute must on a plane and even getting that seat in the back of the plan as close to the lavatories as possible is important. Get the flight attendants on your side; ask them to let you know when the very last possible moment before takeoff and landing will be that you can get up and use the lavatory is; the last time I flew I got one of the flight attendants to help me and she remembered during flight to ask me if I wanted to use the lavatory before they blocked the aisle with the beverage cart and also let me know before takeoff and landing that I should go right then and then we would be in landing.
The TSA website is an excellent resource as well; last time I flew I went to their website and I was actually able to email them some questions and got an email reply within 48 hours.

If you are traveling by car, there are some great smart phone apps available to help you find restrooms on the road while driving. There are several different ones and they each do it a little differently. I downloaded several and they’re also a great resource that I recommend. These can be found on the ICA website page I’ve posted a link to below.  There are also excellent, portable, disposable “potties” that you can purchase that I would recommend for use if you really cannot find a restroom. I will say fast food restaurants and gas stations have always been good places for me to use. No one even pays any attention generally, and I’ve been able to get in and out with no problems.

I want to encourage anyone that feels up to going to the theatre or taking a trip if they had a little help, that you might very well be able to do some of the things you love if you take advantage of the resources out there to help make participating in all these activities a little easier and still enjoyable.

Here are some great links to the ICA website! I hope you’ll check out these links and wish everyone the best of luck in your next travel excursion, whatever it may be!

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