I am returning to work for 2 full days next week, so I thought I would be brave and venture out on my own today - by train! I was only out for 3 and a half hours and had to take morphine solution because I was in pain (before I even started). But nevertheless, I saw it as a challenge.
I only went 3 stops on the train to a very large shopping centre and walked around (as you do). I required a 'comfort break' so proceeded to go into the disabled toilet. As I opened the door, a lady with a disability 'walker on 3 wheels' came up to me and said "As you are not disabled and can obviously walk, you are not allowed use these toilets!" she then went on to say that only people with wheelchairs and who CANNOT walk were entitled to use them. I was gobsmacked but could see she was obviously annoyed with me about it.
I told her to go in first as her need could have been greater than my own, and that I would wait until she came out.
When she came out she went on to give me lots of information about different shopping centres, where you are given a disability sticker (to put on your wheelchair) so you can use the disabled toilet. Because I could 'walk', she said, therefore, I was not disabled.
I was going to go into a dialogue about how I'm in constant pain, have had 4 spine operations and cannot sit on a lower toilet seat without using grab rails to help me get off athe toilet, but was so shocked by her attitude, that I didn't say a word. Oh, apart from saying that just because I can walk does not mean I am not disabled.
I did not want to argue the point because she just walked off and left me there, with my mouth open! I was gobsmacked.
I have NEVER had reason to stand up for myself like this before and found it quite upsetting and very embarrassing. I do conceed that I CAN walk, albeit slowly at the moment and not all that far, but felt she was discriminating against me because I had no obvious signs of a disability and didn't use crutches, wheelchair etc.
It totally put me off my shopping experience and now I will feel guilty when I need to use the disabled toilet again in the future.
Has this happened to any of you before?
2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!