Thursday, April 30, 2009

Find a toilet

It's no secret that with Crohn's disease comes the dodgiest of guts that often means urgent dashes for the dunny. It's no big drama if you're at home or the office but what about everywhere else? I know when I'm having a bad day the last thing I want to do is leave the house. Sometimes I have no choice. 

I'm thinking about this today because my Crohn's has been flaring spectacularly the last few days and even Imodium hasn't made much of a difference. There was time not long after my last surgery where I had to go every half hour. Those were some hard times. Today wasn't anywhere near that bad, but it was enough to get me thinking about the availability (and usability) of public toilets. 

A lot of people I've spoken to with Crohn's have talked about having anxiety and panic attacks when they've been out somewhere and needed to use the toilet and there isn't one around. I personally have avoided certain places for years because I know that there is no toilet nearby.

Several weeks ago, my partner discovered a fantastic application on his iPhone called "Toilet Mate" which using GPS will tell you every public toilet within a 5 kilometre radius. This has got to be a Crohnie's dream app. I've tried it out and it is brilliant. If you have an iPhone (and live in Australia) I would recommend you give it a go.  

I don't have an iPhone. My mobile phone is about 7 years old, it doesn't even have a camera, let alone the ability to find me a toilet. Recently, my local council has been advertising in the local paper their "ongoing commitment to increased public amenities" aka building more public toilets. I've noticed them popping up in more and more parks and shopping strips. 

In my local area I know where all the public toilets are because it's my neighbourhood, I'm out in it almost everyday. But it's not like public toilets are advertised. There's no map of them. If I get the urge to go and I'm in an unfamiliar area I usually head for the nearest Macca's because they're generally everywhere. 

But then I thought, if Toilet Mate knows where they are, then there must be a way for me to know where they are. So I went to Google. Google knows everything. Here's what I found:

Find a toilet (Aus), Find a toilet (US)Find a toilet (UK) ~ These are the links to websites where you can find your nearest toilet. You can actually prepare for day trips and outings by finding where the toilets are before you go. 

Sitorsquat ~ This one not only tells you where the toilet is but whether it's worth going to. It allows you to rate the toilet too. 

SatLav ~ If you're in Westminster text the word "Toilet" to 80097 to receive an SMS of the location of the nearest public toilet. 

MizPee (US)Toilet Mate for iPhone (Aus) ~ Applications for your mobile phone to instantly locate the nearest toilet on when you're on the go and... well need to go!

So there you go. I hope this is as helpful to you as it has been to me. 


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