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I have to go

I Have to Go!

We all have experienced it. We all try not to think about this when we are driving or get into the passenger seat of a car. I’m talking about the moment when you are driving and you have to get to a bathroom right away. Most of the time we can wait until we get home. But sometimes it’s an emergency and we have to pull into a parking lot of a fast-food joint or a Wal-Mart to run inside to relieve ourselves.

I developed a fear of driving because of bathroom use

Before I had my colon removed, I was using the bathroom over fifty times a day. I am not exaggerating! As my muscles in my backside were diminishing, I was having trouble making it to the bathroom in time. At one point, I was wearing adult diapers just in case. Driving became a very hard task to do. I couldn’t jump on the highway and risk the chance of getting stuck in traffic. If I wanted to go to Atlantic City, I had to take all of the back roads that had easy access to the bathroom. I hated driving. I started to develop a fear of driving. And we all know that if you are afraid to drive, then you should not get behind the wheel.

Denied the bathroom at a retail store

One day in July 2005, I was driving when I had to use the restroom. I was far from home and knew I had to stop soon. I pulled into the parking lot of a shoe store. I ran into the retail store and went straight to the person who was sitting behind the desk. I said, ”Excuse me, can I use your bathroom.” She could tell something was wrong; it was all over my face. She answered with a, “no!” I was caught by surprise. After she repeated herself, I started to tell her that I had Crohn’s, and this that and the other thing. I realized I really had no time to go through the whole story, When I asked the third time if I could use the bathroom, and after the third time she said, “No, it’s only for employees,” I told her, “watch me!”

The employee called the police on me for using the bathroom

I walked right past her to relieve myself. Upon returning, she had the door of her store locked, and she told me she called the police for trespassing. I honestly was speechless. I told her that I didn’t want to make a mess on her floor and that using her bathroom was no other option. Then I thought to myself, “What am I doing?” Why am I getting upset? This lady doesn’t have a heart, and will never understand. I allowed her to call the police and they did show up. When they heard both sides of the story the two officers were in disbelief. Of course, they were not going to write me up for trespassing. They actually asked the storeowner, “Let us get you straight, you called us because he had to use the bathroom?” The officers gave her a lecture about how to treat human beings. I had a grin on my face throughout the whole ordeal. I walked out a different person.

We deserve to be treated like human beings and should do the same to others

I realized that what the officers said was correct. We are humans with feelings. Sometimes the inevitable happens, and we have to take extraordinary measures. People have to understand and have a heart. I am a schoolteacher and since that day, I act very differently towards my students. If they have to use the bathroom, I allow them to. I always think back on that day, the day when I was denied the bathroom. Hopefully, you have never denied somebody of something important. My hope is that the storeowner that day learned a valuable lesson. I hope she does not ever have to endear what I do. I hope she changed her views about humans. I can only hope…

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    I would be grinning too! Man, some people out there really can be so cold hearted. Sorry you had to go through that!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Cherylann
    3 years ago

    I work in a factory and the doors are not accessible until 10 minutes prior to our clock in time. We have to go early so we can get a decent place to park, as parking is limited. So, therefore, while waiting to go in, my nerves get the best of me, and I got to go… there’s no “holding it” … when the urge hits, you better head to the nearest restroom.. fast! So far, I’ve only had one accident where I had to come home and change. But the other few, I have went in behind Supervisors or anyone that “happened to be at the right place st the right time” ….
    I have a very nervous stomach that triggers my Crohns attacks…

  • Paul Richman author
    3 years ago

    Hi Cherylann,
    Wow, I am sorry that you have to go through this. Thank you for sharing this story. Is there a way you can maybe talk to your HR department to explain the situation?

  • 4 years ago

    How well I remember the moments when my young teen daughter had the same panic stricken moments. I’d have to become the mama bear aggressor and deliver a 20 second elevator pitch as to why it was urgent that a person be helpful. Few people knew what Crohns was ten years ago. I can only imagine my own gloating if I’d been in your shoes with the police! Grrrr, no one crosses the mama bear when the cub is in distress.

  • Paul Richman author
    3 years ago

    Hi Ecanpaulin,
    Thank you for sharing! Your right, only a few people do really understand. But hopefully the word is spreading! Yea the police department were like, “Um we can’t arrest this person.”

  • Kelly Dabel moderator
    4 years ago

    Ecanpaulin, Thank you for your comment. Sorry to hear that your daughter had to go through that. Sounds like she is quite lucky to have you as her Mama Bear to advocate for her. Thank you for sharing and being part of our community! Kelly Dabel – Team

  • Jenn
    4 years ago

    I love this article!!!

  • Paul Richman author
    4 years ago

    Thank you!

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