Having a day out can be a challenge. Michael is an avid explorer and he loves being out and about traveling on buses, trains and in the car. Sometimes the destination is determined by the facilities we can access for toileting. But once he is out and about there are not many options around toileting. Michael has complex care needs and needs full support for all activities. Michael uses a wheelchair to get around.
When we are out and about for the day Michael will need to be toileted. Most people have seen the stories of how many germs a handbag can carry from being put on the floor of a toilet, so can you then imagine lying on the floor of a public toilet yourself? Michael is exposed to this whenever he needs to be changed and we are out for the day and there are no appropriate places to be changed.
Sometimes the disabled toilets are so small there is very little room to lie Michael down on the floor, without his head hitting the cistern, or his feet being wrapped around it. It’s not a position you want to put yourself in and yet we are putting our children who are sometimes very vulnerable or susceptible to illness at risk because we have no choice.
I remember one time on a trip home from Sydney we had to stop for a toilet break. We stopped at a toilet facility on the freeway. The floor of the disabled toilets was completely flooded and I had no choice but to lay a blanket on the grass outside of the toilet block and change Michael there in the open. So much for privacy and dignity as I quickly changed him before another car came and stopped to use the facilities.