Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Access To Private Restrooms In Stores and Gas Stations


 
12-18-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
Jim Gonsler
 
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Access To Private Restrooms In Stores and Gas Stations

I have Crohn's disease (a similar disease as IBD) and a few months ago I had a flare-up as result of eating something that didn't agree with me. I was in downtown Detroit at the time on a week-end late evening. Many businesses in the city do not allow public access to their restrooms that have signs posted EMPLOYEES ONLY.

I was in a bad way at the time and told the attendant that If I wasn't able to use the restroom, I'd have an accident. He relented begrudgingly and let me use the facility. However, I never felt good about that incident and have recently done some research. I have found that legally you are allowed to use any the restrooms of any businesses under "Ally's Law", a law imposed in 2005 in Illinois. There are about a dozen other states that have a similar version of the law including Michigan. See below for details:

The bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and was signed into law by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in August 2005. Known as the "Restroom Access Act" or "Ally's Law," this groundbreaking bill, which requires businesses to make employee bathrooms accessible to those with IBD, chronic medical conditions, and pregnancy, has since passed in 11 other states and is pending in several more.

Currently, Minnesota, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Connecticut have all passed this act or one like it. Hope this helps,
Jim
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Suffered badly with Crohn's/Ileitis till diagnosis in 1971and received bowel resection surgery to fix resulting obstruction and perforation the spring of that year. Few symptoms displayed since then, but diagnosed with Celiac Disease about 6 years ago.
Take Asacol occasionally for flare-ups (due mostly to antibiotics), supplements like multi-vitamins, Calcium and OPC-3 in Isotonix form.
12-18-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
CrohnsChicago
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You can order a FREE restroom access card from this site. The card came to me in less than two weeks:

MyIBD
http://myibd.org/RestroomMedAlert/index.php

Just show this card when you need to use a public restroom. Keep in mind Ally's law DOES have minor restrictions (a minimum number of employees must be working so as not to interrupt business activities) but thus far I have not had a problem.

I just show them my card and they escort me to the restroom lol.



FYI - For those of you in Illinois, I have provided a link to Ally's law which provides all the details, not sure if specifics are different for each State:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publ...?Name=094-0450
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Crohn's-Colitis May 2012
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12-18-2012, 11:09 AM   #3
Ozboz
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Can this card be obtained by someone outside the us i would love one of those
12-18-2012, 11:18 AM   #4
CrohnsChicago
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Ozboz, it looks like Australia may have a "Can't Wait" card of their own. Not sure what the laws are over there.

However heres a link I found to a site that offers a card with memebership
http://www.ibis-australia.org/information.htm

Can this card be obtained by someone outside the us i would love one of those
12-18-2012, 02:18 PM   #5
Jim Gonsler
 
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Thanks, I have to see if they offer a card here in Michigan. The card would save a lot of dialogue and suspicion. Thanks again,
Jim
12-18-2012, 02:21 PM   #6
CrohnsChicago
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Jim, the card link I posted (MyIBD) is good for everyone in the US. You can order one of those cards
12-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #7
Jim Gonsler
 
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Thanks so much, I plan to get one.
Jim
12-19-2012, 09:25 AM   #8
Laura Dawn
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I'm so getting one of those ! Thanks for the info
12-22-2012, 12:52 AM   #9
tots
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I handed that card to the nice police officer who pulled me over going 6 miles over the speed limit. He asked me "Do I even really want to know?" I shook my head no- he pointed the way to the nearest and cleanest bathroom!

Lauren
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12-22-2012, 02:54 PM   #10
CrohnsChicago
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HAHAHA! tots, I actually had a conversation with someone on this forum before about that.

It definitely comes in handy but I think there should be a disclaimer out there

"This card is not an excuse to speed...unless absolutely necessary" lol.
12-22-2012, 03:29 PM   #11
SarahBear
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Tots, that's what I had in mind when Chicago told me about these cards!

I tried ordering one maybe a month or so ago and they never sent a confirmation e-mail or the card. I tried again when this was originally posted, and still nothing. Is it working for anyone else?
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12-22-2012, 04:00 PM   #12
CrohnsChicago
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hmmm....I received mine in two weeks of requesting it. The only other card I am aware of is offered to paid members of CCFA.
12-22-2012, 04:19 PM   #13
mdul65
 
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I wish I had known about this law a month ago...even without the card. I was in Chicago a month ago visiting my daughter, we were shopping/walking - and it always triggers an attack. I had to walk two blocks and wait for an elevator in order the bathroom, in department store that I could access. I have offered to buy something/anything in order to be a legitimate customer in some stores, and still been refused. I spent an hour in the stall with spasms, diarrhea, and terrible cramps and sweats. If I had found one sooner, I might not had such a violent attack, I thought I was not going to make it to the restroom at all...and then was nearly too weak to get back to my daughter's apt. Nightmare (one of the thousands)!
12-22-2012, 04:24 PM   #14
Hobbes650
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Personally, I think it's sad we have to waste time with Ally's Law in the first place. Bathroom access should be free for all, without explanation. So pathetic...
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Ulcerative Colitis 1986
Complete Proctocolectomy with j-pouch 1987
Permanent Ileostomy 1991
Crohn's Disease (just inside stoma) 2012
No meds post 1987 surgery to 2012

Current Meds:
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12-22-2012, 05:46 PM   #15
tots
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I have the same card that's posted. I had no trouble.



Lauren
12-23-2012, 10:29 AM   #16
Ya noy
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That's awful. I live in Chicagoland and yes, it's a problem even for those who don't suffer from Crohn's or related afflictions.

The bigger problem is there are very few public restrooms in downtown Chicago, and those few public restrooms are primarily located in a handful of parks, public buildings, and malls.

The even bigger problem is that downtown Chicago has a large population of homeless, and there are even fewer shelters open during the day. Most shelters open between 6-8 in the evening and require occupants to vacate by 7 am.

Literally leaving them with no place to go--and no place to wash up.

I've been in public restrooms in downtown Chicago, to find homeless individuals washing their hair, and even taking a complete "sponge bath"-- putting their feet in the sink to wash them. This is something I've personally witnessed, at the library, Millenium Park and even at Waterplace Mall on Michigan Ave. Not just on a rare occasion either.

It's more than a little disturbing, and would be even more so if it happened while I had young children with me. Aside from sanitary, I have safety issues with this.

So do private businesses, why is why many smaller businesses have rules prohibiting public use of their bathroom facilities. Ally's Law in Illinois only applies to businesses that are staffed with at least 3 employees--for that very reason.

In my opinion, the first problem that should be addressed is for adequate facilities to be made available to everyone. Ignoring the issues faced by those who "fall through the cracks", is not going to make them go away.

The second, is that being a victim of "collateral damage" is not acceptable.

I wish you the best!
12-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #17
Devynnsmom
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Does anyone know if you can order one in Canada? I have been googling, but no luck so far.
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Devynn (12 years old) was *unoficially* diagnosed with Crohn's disease in Dec 2009.
That diagnosis was changed to Ulcerative Colitis in Mar 2012.
Pentasa ASA Dec 2009-Mar 2012 (dosage tweaked a couple of times)
Mezavant Mar 2012- Nov 2012
Sulfasalazine-Nov 2012
12-23-2012, 02:16 PM   #18
Earnellzwifey
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I hope Mississippi have a similar law. I live in the country and several miles from any store some times I do have to speed to get home before my bottom explodes. Lol I have not been pulled over before but am scared it will happen one day. I hope my handicap tag will help if I can not get a card here.
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32 medical conditions and counting. 22 pills a day with daily blood sugar testing and urinary cathing.

If you live in the loo , because you always gotta poo , then this is the place for you.
12-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #19
hawkeye
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Does anyone know if you can order one in Canada? I have been googling, but no luck so far.
I thought CCFC had a cellphone / Ipod app at one time that had the closest restroom locations
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12-23-2012, 11:17 PM   #20
Devynnsmom
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Hmm.. I don't know. I will have to look into that, thank you.
12-24-2012, 01:16 PM   #21
CrohnsChicago
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I hope Mississippi have a similar law. I live in the country and several miles from any store some times I do have to speed to get home before my bottom explodes. Lol I have not been pulled over before but am scared it will happen one day. I hope my handicap tag will help if I can not get a card here.
Currently the only states that have Ally's Law in effect are: Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Connecticut

However that shouldn't mean you can't try and use a Restroom Access Card if you can get your hands on one. Although it is not the most favorable response, I guess the worst they could say if you try to use it in other States is "no", right?...
01-14-2013, 01:49 PM   #22
2thFairy
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You can order a FREE restroom access card from this site. The card came to me in less than two weeks:

MyIBD
http://myibd.org/RestroomMedAlert/index.php

Just show this card when you need to use a public restroom. Keep in mind Ally's law DOES have minor restrictions (a minimum number of employees must be working so as not to interrupt business activities) but thus far I have not had a problem.

I just show them my card and they escort me to the restroom lol.



FYI - For those of you in Illinois, I have provided a link to Ally's law which provides all the details, not sure if specifics are different for each State:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publ...?Name=094-0450

I got mine in the mail today. Thank you SO much for this link!!
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"The colon seems an unlikely candidate for dramatic effect, but now and then it serves that purpose well." The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation
01-14-2013, 01:55 PM   #23
SarahBear
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I still haven't received a confirmation e-mail or card from them...

Well, I've tried three times so far and nothing, so I sent them an e-mail about it.
01-14-2013, 02:11 PM   #24
2thFairy
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I had given up and it suddenly arrived today. I didn't recieve any confirmation either; it just showed up almost a month later.
01-14-2013, 02:13 PM   #25
SarahBear
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Thanks! That gives me some hope! I tried several months ago, then again when Chicago posted the link in this thread, and once more today. I went ahead and sent them the e-mail, so maybe they'll fix the confirmation e-mail problem.
01-16-2013, 09:01 PM   #26
SarahBear
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Came in the mail today! Very excited.
01-16-2013, 09:07 PM   #27
2thFairy
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YaY!!!
02-02-2015, 08:57 AM   #28
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I know this is an old thread...but was just looking for info on obtaining a card. When I click the link above it goes to Mount Sinai website. Does anyone know how to go about getting a card? I can't find any info on their website, wasn't sure if Mount Sinai is who provided them previously. Thanks!
02-04-2015, 08:35 PM   #29
Cross-stitch gal
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Since I saw these recent posts I've been pretty much banging my head against the wall trying to find info for here. But, this is what I found. There's a law here in the states passed in 2005 called: Ally's Law which has been passed in a few states. I am including the info on that as well as a few others I found. Unfortunately for the most part, the only real "I can't wait" card is through CCFA if you're a member (only thing is it costs money). But, I'm hoping some of these links will help. I googled restroom access card WA and found something for my state. It might be possible for your states too. Never hurts to try…

http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/Glossa...Access-Act.htm

http://www.ccfa.org

http://www.bladderandbowelfoundation...oilet-card.asp

http://www.doh.wa.gov/ForPublicHealt...RestroomAccess
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02-05-2015, 06:02 AM   #30
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Thank you, I appreciate your help!
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