How to Fly on the Sly, Part 1: Conversations

Bathroom signSocial Strategies for Restroom Emergencies

As IBD patients, we know all too well how awkward it can feel when we urgently need to use the restroom in the midst of conversation. How do we slip away quickly without making a scene?

Individuals generally find themselves in of one two situations. There are times when we don't mind revealing there's medical reason for our need to dash off to the bathroom, and there are those when we would prefer to keep that element private. It¹s the latter situation that is tougher to address discretely.

The ideas on this list might provide solutions for you, but the real point here is to put some thought into your own ideas—before the need arises—so you have some one-liners ready to go. Some are sincere while some are humorous, and choosing the right one for the context helps things go smoothly.

When Nature Calls:

  • “I have a digestive illness, please excuse me.”
  • “It’s nothing personal, but something urgent has come up.”
  • “I got to run, and trust me, you don’t want to know why.”
  • Look at your watch and make a sound as though you’re late for something; run off in too great of a hurry to explain, or just say “Sorry, I’ll explain later.” You can always follow through afterwards but, to your luck, it’s often forgotten by the time you come back.
  • You could also try brute honesty with certain people: “Holy moly, I’m about to crap my pants!” You never know, it might be so shocking that they’ll assume you’re joking.
  • Simply say: “Excuse me” (or if you have to, just run for it) and explain when you get back.
    • “I’m sorry, I don’t get to choose the timing of these things.”
    • “For me, nature only calls 9-1-1.”
    • If they seem bewildered or remark that they don’t understand, then a simple response of: “It’s complicated,” generally does the job.
  • If the need arises and there is someone present who knows your situation, you can sometimes let them take care of it. Friends and family can get pretty good at covering for us in tactful ways.

    • You might consider sharing this list with them for some practice and planning of their own.
    • You could establish a code word with loved ones so they can help cover for you (in case they don’t catch on from the other clues).

These thoughts should help you come up with some more of your own ideas to use next time you need to leave a conversation. Next time we’ll talk about other situations that can be a bit trickier.

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Tags: Toilet Talk

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.