Sunday, June 19, 2011

Can't (hardly) Wait

The other day while rummaging around in a draw looking for something, I found my ‘Can’t Wait’ card. I was so excited to get this card when I first joined Crohn’s & Colitis Australia. It was one of the main reasons I first joined. I pretty much thought this card was going to save me from so many hassles and problems when I left the house.

That was before I realised that nobody has really heard of Crohn’s Disease, unless they either have it or know somebody who has it. The population at large generally have no idea and now the card lies abandoned in the bottom of the junk draw. I’m not sure I ever even used it.

For those of you unfamiliar, during a flare-up, trying to hold on for any amount of time results in agonising, doubled over, just fucking kill me, abdominal pain. Often, holding it in, is impossible. The ‘I hope I don’t crap my dacks in public’ anxiety attack is still one of the worst feelings in the world for me, hence the ‘Can’t Wait’ card. Developed for just these situations. In theory you would pull out the card in a busy shopping centre toilet and the crowd of understanding and sympathetic people part like the red sea to reveal a makeshift path to the shining porcelain oasis ahead. In theory.

Can you imagine...

I don’t know what the men’s are like, but the women’s toilets always seem to have a line of at least three people (denoted below by different colours).

Flashes card to a line of impatient people.

"I have a 'Can't Wait’ card. I'm sorry but I need to go next”
"You have a what now?"
"A 'Can't Wait' card. It means I'm physically unable to wait to go to the toilet."
"I have Crohn's Disease."
"What's that?"
"It's a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It means I can't hold it and I get massive pains in the stomach when I need to go."
"What? Like lactose intolerance"
"No. Sort of. Look, I've got to go. NOW"
“Yeah me too.”
First person heads into the toilet.
"Where'd you get that card anyway?"
"From the ACCA."
"Did you have to pay for it? How much was it?"
"I could use one of those. I don't like waiting in lines, especially at the Supermarket"
"What? No. It's for the toilet. And you have to have IBD."
"I have IBS. I gave up dairy. It's fine now."
"You should eat more fibre. That’ll make you regular as clockwork."
"I can't eat fibre..."
"Well that's your problem right there. Change your diet."
"What's it called when you can't eat bread?
"Oh, my niece has that."
Toilet becomes available. I make my way to stall.
"HEY! I was before you."
"Yeah, no pushing in."

Seriously, you’d spend more time explaining why you have the card, it’d be easier and probably a whole lot quicker to either push in and risk being accosted by angry toilet goers or go somewhere else. Personally, I’ll use another toilet. Men’s. Women’s. Parent’s room. The Disabled. I’m not proud. If I’ve got to go, I’m going.

I think orange lady has something though; I wouldn’t mind a ‘Can’t Wait’ card for the supermarket. Or the petrol station. I hate that line the most. Those guys are relentless trying to sell you more stuff. No, I don’t want to buy 2 packs of mints for $7 to save 2 cents on my petrol.

Has anybody actually used their Can’t Wait card? I’d be interested in hearing what happened.


  1. Love your (not so) hypothetical conversation. If only giving up dairy fixed Crohn's disease... I'd love to have a card in my purse that reads "IBS ≠ IBD". I have had my Can't Wait card for about 2 years, haven't had the guts ;) to use it yet.


  2. @CooCoo Maybe instead of the Can't Wait Card we need brochures. Give them something to read while they wait for us to finish in the loo! And yes, the very first line would have to be "IBS ≠ IBD"!

  3. Some of us with sever IBS can't wait too. My grandad has IBD so I understand the difference in both diseases. I have been recently diagnosed with IBS however diet changes, stress management, nor the antidepressants I was prescribed have made me suffer any less. With all the treatments I still have chronic almost daily severe IBS-D. Just a thought.