Jan Continues Her Search for the Perfect Potty

“Your leg is healing well,” the surgeon said yesterday. “I’m writing you a prescription for a temporary prosthesis.”


Fireworks started going off inside me and my heart began to sing: “I’m gettin’ a le-eg! I’m gettin’ a le-eg!”

I managed to restrain myself from whipping out my cell phone right then and there to make an appointment with the prosthetist, but as soon as I got into the car I jumped right on it. The company, which is based in Indianapolis, has a satellite location in Terre Haute, but it’s only open on Tuesday and Thursday. The person I want is only here on Tuesday. If I had missed today, I’d have to wait another week. I have things to do.

One of those things is to go to the bathroom. Yes, I’m off on my inaccessible accessible bathroom rant again. This week, it was in a medical building, of all places.

It was for my endocrinologist’s appointment and I actually got there in time to settle in. No, he was running late. One of the two. Or both. Anyway, I decided to go to the bathroom, so I scooted off to the bathroom in the clinic.

Now, I kind of taught myself to back my scooter up beside the pot and scoot over. It’s the only way I know how, and the only way that doesn’t conjure up visions of me sprawled on the floor, wedged between the toilet and my scooter. All that is to say the bathroom in the clinic had a sink next to the pot. No luck there.

So I tried the public bathroom in the hallway. There was room (barely) inside the handicapped stall to back up beside the pot, but no room inside the stall to maneuver my scooter into position.

And then the doc wanted me to have a lab test that required a sample. I just laughed.

While I’m on the endo’s office, I will tell you that we spent ages dealing with my basal rates and I actually did pretty well. For a couple of days. And now I’m back to the hypoglycemia. But I will lower my basal rates some more.

Oh. And my HbA1c is 5.9%. No, I don’t know how I did it. I do know I was low a lot, so I don’t know that a 5.9% is good for me.

The incident in the endo’s office came a few days after a visit to the Indiana State Museum to see the Titanic exhibit. I could only find one raised toilet in the whole building.

This was also the place with the inaccessible accessible parking spaces. How’s that? Well, you paint blue lines near the doorway, but you don’t paint the little stripes in between the parking spaces so people who use wheelchairs and scooters have room to get in and out of their vehicles.

My scooter, for example, travels in the back of the van or the trunk of my car. It can be assembled behind the vehicle, but I can’t walk to the back of the van/car to get to it. I also can’t walk from the scooter back to the van/car when it’s time to leave.

My tax dollars at work. I love it.

It was the same way at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: Spaces marked off for handicapped parking with no spacing in between.

Who determines the rules for these things anyway? And do they need a consultant?

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  • Mary


    Sure wish you lived in my state.

    I feel a whole new mission is starting to stir within you. Watch out ADA, Jan is loose and going strong. More power to you.


  • jim snell

    Thank you Jan for another excellent column. Not stated but clearly highlited in remarks how much seemingly small but critical disabilities create so much havoc in day to day life. When you have it all, one sneaks thru the difficulties unnoticed and unhindered. Add in the shortcomings and picture changes upside down.

    originally, i had these issues after stroke but after 3 years finally getting stronger. my eyes with the one eye off is still creating visual havoc that slows my visual response and raises same argument about how are environment is designed and why without regard to those with limitations and disabilities

  • bob sadowski

    parking and painting of stripes for handicap is regulated by the Feds it is called the American’s With Disablities Act and it sounds like these places are clearly in violation, they could face steeps fines for this violation, report them, or talk to whoever is in charge and point out that they are inviolation and give them some reasonable timw to fix or turn them in.

  • Deb

    Congratulations on the temporary prosthesis! I’m glad things are moving forward so well.
    Isn’t it annoying that the provisions of the ADA have to be enforced by the people they’re supposed to assist? Unfortunately, the people who do the planning and the painting of lines are probably able-bodied folks who have no concept of scooters and vans. So many people see the world from a very narrow perspective until something happens to shake their views. There are officials who are responsible for these regulations, though, and many people do make a point of bringing these mistakes to their attention. Maybe people who read your blog will be moved to do so in their own communities.

  • granny Pat

    Something else to consider… why at restaurants and other businesses the handicapped spaces are so far from the entrance. And I really do agree with you about handicap bathroom stalls. Upon occasion I use a wheelchair. There is no way to manipulate a chair in some stalls (and yes, these are in medical buildings) What were “they” thinking? Some of us usually use a cane when walking. Ten parking spaces is a long distance when one has trouble walking. And why is it that some people who are not handicapped continue using the scooters provided by stores? And then there are those who use the placard when there is nobody in the car who needs to park up close?

  • beverly keenan

    I do mystery shopping for many companies. Only one, Kmart, asks questions concerning accessability for the handicapped. The company also asks if a survey can be performed from a wheelchair viewpoint. Made me look at Kmart in a different light.

  • Sheryl

    Bathrooms are also covered in the American’s with Disabilities Act. However, there simply isn’t the manpower or resources to enforce this act.

    My husband is in a wheelchair full time. We actually had go find another specialist doctor when the one he was seeing built a new clinic and none of the bathrooms were accessible. All doors opened in which actually a pretty easy thing to fix even after construction.

    Good luck with all this.

  • Bob Hart

    Turn them in to whom?

  • Deb

    And what about the bathrooms with incredibly heavy doors? I can barely get my rollator in and out of them; I can’t imagine what I’ll do if I progress to a wheelchair.
    On the subject of handicapped carts in stores, however, let’s not forget that there are plenty of people with “invisible” disabilities. I’ve had to use the carts for years because I could not walk distances. If a store didn’t have a cart available, I couldn’t do my shopping. Now that my disabilities are more obvious, I guess folks believe I’m entitled.
    My mother had a heart condition which was invisibile to anyone else. Her apartment manager made a handicapped parking place for her right by her front door. There were complaints, and he patiently explained that it was due to a medical condition.
    I hope those of us who require some kind of handicapped accomodation will be the first to consider that those who use the facilities are probably entitled to them.

  • Cathy A.

    Jan – keep up the good work.

    Oh, and I love Terre Haute! I live in WA State, but visit family in Illinois & Indiana each year. Winters must be tough, though. We just have rain – can’t imagine life with a scooter in the snow.

    Congrats on the new leg.

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  • M.S.

    Better late than never, that is, me, to reply to this post ;).

    I use a mobility scooter in Disney World and on cruises. We do not always stay at DW hotels, though, and perhaps they have spoiled me.

    I learned the hard way, that just because a hotel says they have handicapped parking does not mean that they have curb cuts next to those spots. And that the spots/curb cuts may not be right near your room! And also that they don’t have elevators! Let’s not even talk about the edges of the curbs not being well-marked even after dark … (and how my scooter ran off the side of a curb one time because I have no depth perception and it’s worse after dark, and it was dark …).

    And this bit applies to some Disney World shops as well – if you’re going to be accessible, do you think that an automatic door would be required? And how about space for scooters and wheelchairs IN the shops, between the displays?

    Just sayin’.