It seems very few people understand just how difficult the daily lives of those struggling with mobility issues can be. Today, was no exception. Just trying to go answer a call of nature puts us in a bind.
Today, my daughter, who is an aficionado of late 19th and Early 20th Century history, took in a museum visit featuring the 100th anniversary of World War I, I was luckily able to get through the entire exhibit with the help of my walker. There is something about my tremors that can make me very tired and sitting once in a while is a big help. I really needed to go after over an hour of perusing the artifacts and memorabilia of the Great War when I felt a sudden urge to visit the restroom. Getting there was not a problem, using the facilities was another story.
I found out that a handicapped accessible symbol by the door doesn’t mean handicapped friendly. The wooden door to the ladies restroom was so heavy, it was all I could manage to get the massive structure open with one hand and manuever my walker with the other. Once inside, the stall designated for handicapped persons was only sized large enough for me and the walker, as long as I didn’t close the door for privacy.
What made matters worse was that I had to fold my walker and place it on top of the toilet to take care of personal business. Once finished, I had to manuever the walker off the toilet, get it unfolded and try to work my way out of the stall without falling or screaming for help!
It is understandable for many who design public restrooms to believe that is well enough to place a handrail in a slightly larger stall and think this will suffice. I propose the architects designing public toilets be forced to work their finished and completed projects with a walker in front of them, or sitting in a wheelchair, or any other apparatus used by handicapped persons to see on what level their thinking rests.
I would like to think every public toilet could be designed by asking for input from those who are handicapped before drawing up their overly simplistic plans and designs. As this toilet was located in a state museum, and recently renovated, I would think they had better sense. All the money allocated for building an elaborate structure as a showplace for our state’s history and a bathroom right out of the 1980’s!
The museums’ comment card was filled out by my daughter and I hope the card will not only be read, but its’ suggestions taken to heart for future museum goers.
Next time you are stuck in one of those horrid bathroom situations, don’t hesitate to speak up. It may not help change things, but keeping quiet will never change the status quo!