Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crohns Disease And Restroom Access

One of the worst symptoms of Crohns Disease is the oftentimes urgent need of using a restroom. This can be a painful and embarrassing situation, particularly in public places!

Many states now have mandatory restroom usage policies for patients with IBD and restroom access is guaranteed to patients just as access is guaranteed to anyone else with disabilities.

Unfortunately, the state I live in, California, does not have this law in place and I have sometimes found myself literally pleading to use a public restroom. I sincerely hope that eventually restroom access will be available in all of the USA, but for now I carry a small card that explains my situation, looks like a legal document, and saves me the embarrassment of having to explain Crohns to total strangers. I'll post a photo of this card later today. I ordered it online and it was free of charge.

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My Crohn's Experience: Introduction

My Crohn's experience started when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 15, during a time when very little was known about this debilitating illness, and drug treatment options were few. In this blog I would like to recount my nearly 40 years of experiences with this illness; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and discuss current medications available to treat Crohn's Disease, such as Humira, Remicade, 6-MP, Prednisone, and others.

Crohn's Disease is classified as an inflammatory illness which is caused by the body's immune system attacking healthy cells in the intestinal tract, which can lead to intestinal blockage, rupture, sepsis and death if left untreated.

I have had three intestinal resections due to Crohn's Disease and the last nearly cost me my life. I say this not to be dramatic, but to raise awareness that ignoring symptoms can lead to serious consequences. In 1999, I had what I knew was a serious flareup, but instead of checking into the hospital for treatment, I tried to ignore my symptoms. I ended up in the ER with a 105 degree fever, semi-conscious from septic shock, with a heartbeat in lethal arrhythmia and requiring CPR. My intestine had broken open and the septic shock had set in. I spent four days in the ICU after having major surgery to repair my intestine, followed by IV medicines to fight infection. The doctors did not expect me to survive the night, but somehow I did, and I share all of this in order to tell you that if you suspect something is wrong, and you have a high fever and severe abdominal pain, RUN, do not walk, to your local ER. Call 911 if necessary, but definitely do not take chances. Get to a hospital pronto!