To Restroom or Not to Restroom

Usually when I’m out and about, I’ll need to use the restroom.

This is not a big thing. Usually everyone needs to use the restroom when they are out, especially if he or she has been out for a few hours.

When I’m out in the community at an establishment and must go, my first thought is, I wonder what kind of roadblock I’m going to come against to navigate a restroom.

Do you have this thought? Probably not because navigating the restroom is just a mere thought for most, especially if you don’t have a physical disability. Unfortunately, me and many of my friends don’t have that luxury when it comes to restroom accessibility.

By me using my cute little red scooter for mobility purposes, I’m always thinking how to make my trip to the restroom a mission possible. Although, I know there’s an American With Disabilities code book establishments must go by when it come to making restrooms accessible, I still think of other things that has to do with accessibility and aren’t on the list. Most of these accessible “things” are just common sense.

A few things that get under my skin when it comes to restroom accessibility are when the accessible stall door only swings one way. If I’m by myself, it’s hard for me to open a restroom door by pulling, trying to hold it, and maneuver my scooter before it closes.

Although I can maneuver the restroom on my own, my favorite sister will go with me sometimes to make my life easier. When this happens, we usually have purses and many bags, especially if we’ve been shopping. A small narrow stall makes life difficult for people who need assistance.

I love babies as much as the next person, but would it be too difficult to ask if you could stow the baby table back up when you’re finished changing those stinky diapers. The table is usually in an accessible stall and if not stowed away properly it will make it hard for me to maneuver.

Why does most toilet paper dispensers have to be so low. It’s kind of hard to reach when it’s low. Plus, if a roll is out and I must pull the level to release another roll, it’s almost impossible if the dispenser is too low.

The sink in the stall is ok if the stall is huge. It makes it convenient but it’s a pain if it’s in the wrong place not allowing me to maneuver my scooter.

Washing my hands is a must but faucets that you must hold the button down to dispense the water are a pain. Soap dispensers that one must pump are difficult and paper towel dispenser that one has to pump are also a pain.

Finally, if your restroom has a door, why isn’t there an automatic door button? For some, it’s impossible to get in or out without it.

These are my restroom dilemmas. Although, I’m not generally a complainer, I occasionally need to vent. Today is one of those days. For the establishments that go above and beyond to make sure their restrooms are accessible, I want to say, thank you. For others that don’t, I want to say a lot more, but I can’t on this post because this is my work blog, so I’ll just say, get it together!

5 comments on “To Restroom or Not to Restroom

  1. Mary Pfeil on

    Hello Shari!

    Your last line made me laugh! All week I had been wondering what you were going to say about frustrations with restrooms. Recently, I used a public restroom at a local hotel in which the stall door was wide enough to enter with my wheelchair, however, the door could not be closed as there was not additional length to the entry so wheelchair could clear the door so it would close. The ADA has specifics about restroom stalls and other features, but it seems like architects pick and choose the standards to follow in making a restroom stall accessible.

    A benefit of the pandemic has been the use of hand sanitizer. I use this instead of washing at public sinks. It is far easier than using soap and towel dispensers. Towel dispensers are often across the room from the sink which complicates driving a power wheelchair with wet hands over to the dispenser. It works much better when the dispensers are next to the sink. Furthermore, if I have observed the towels being across from the sink, it is smart to get the towels before approaching the sink to wash. Okay, now I will get off my soapbox. As always, thank you for sharing your insight about the difficulties of living with a physical disability.

    • Shari Cooper on

      Hey Mary Ellen!
      Thanks for sharing your frustration with the public restroom dilemmas.

      I so love your observations, shared experiences, and helpful tips that I’ll be using.
      Thanks for being a great friend and advocate!

  2. Vanessa Moore on

    This is a great article and so true trying to navigate the restrooms! I always see all establishments through the eyes of my friends and see what doesn’t work. I did recently have to threaten calling the ADA to make change to a local entertainment centers accessibility.
    I also love the last line, keeping it professional on the work blog 🤭


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