Friday, April 27, 2012

Ignorance is ugly

and pathetic as far as I am concerned. It makes me NUTS when people talk about things, make plans about things, decide how rules should affect other people when they have NO IDEA WHAT they are talking about because they haven't done the proper research. The case in point is regarding a little bit that is going around the ostomy community where certains public park/recreation areas are questioning whether to allow people with ostomies (colostomy or ileostomy) to swim in a public or semi-public pool. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!

Here is a little blip from the page in question:
"E-Mail Bag

Questions like the one discussed below are occurring more and more frequently in public parks and recreation agencies. Let’s make no mistake about it…at RAC we encourage public parks and recreation agencies to not only meet the minimum requirements for access and inclusion, but to exceed the minimum requirements.

Question: We have a person who wants to go swimming and has a colostomy bag. Has anyone ever dealt with this or do you have a policy in your facility about this issue?

RAC Background: We thought long and hard about this. The public parks and recreation agency that is asking the question is in Illinois and this question was asked by Terri Smith of Water Designs in Salt Lake City. Obviously, pool maintenance and patron safety are factors to be weighed. But the ADA makes it clear a pool operator cannot make a decision based on a fear or suspicion, but only on objective fact. With that in mind, here is the answer we sent to Terri.

RAC answer: Here are some thoughts. We suggest this is a good discussion between staff, the participant, and the swimmer’s doctor or physician’s assistant. Simply explain that the agency has never adopted a policy one way or the other and ask to sit down and talk about the issue. Start by asking questions about colostomy and focus on bag and seal integrity. In our opinion that’s really what this is about.

We did some research and some successful tactics used included:

First, limit swim time to 30 to 40 minutes. Water changes the wax seal around the ostomy and it loses its effectiveness. The swimmer must bring a second bag and be able to install it after swimming.

Second, swimmers should wear baggy suits and cover both the ostomy (the opening) and the bag.

Third, on some websites there were concerns about pool water infecting the bather with a colostomy. That’s an issue to discuss with the swimmer.

We did talk with John Rossetti at the Illinois Department of Public Health. He said this issue does arise regularly. He stopped short of saying a person with a colostomy should be banned from a public pool. He tried to draw a parallel between banning a person with bandages from the pool. But I don’t think the medical community sees a colostomy bag and the ostomy itself as a bandage…it is a tight seal.

Terri, I think that after an interview and an assessment of the status of the bag, a pool could, and I emphasize could, ban a swimmer with a colostomy if and only if it feels the bag or the ostomy lack integrity and that a leak is likely. Absent that likelihood (which of course must be supported by history or facts, not a hunch), let the swimmer in. But I’d never, ever recommend a person be banned without at least a face-to-face meeting and consideration of a number of alternatives (like the first two above).

Finally, someone smarter than us about aquatics ought to talk about cheek wash and compare daily cheek wash loads to the typical amount of fecal matter that leaks when the integrity of a colostomy bag or seal is breached. That’s above our pay grade, but we would love to hear the discussion."

Taken from Recreation Accessibility Consultants

My favorite part of this "email" is 'Second, swimmers should wear baggy suits and cover both the ostomy (the opening) and the bag.' Really? Well, then - I'd like people who are considered overweight to wear sargong wraps while laying poolside. Additionally, if you have cellulite please wear shorts. I mean WHO writes something like that? It is SO immature and IGNORANT!

Here are some THOUGHTS Recreation Accessibility Consultants - how about YOU educate yourselves and your membership about ostomies and how they function before you start proposing ways to prevent ostomates from swimming?

Here's Maggie's Vlog on the topic

And Charis' blog where she already has a temporary post up and plans to update it later.

And because this just makes me want to go watch The Legend of Billie Jean I leave you with this "FAIR IS FAIR!"

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