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OT - IBS struggles

Merrigan's picture

Just a quick blog about digestion and crabby office people at work.

One of the bathrooms at work is a solitary one (no stalls). The people in that area feel as though it's their personal bathroom and don't like others using it. We all use this bathroom regardless, but it doesn't stop them from sending out passive aggressive emails, putting up signs about "smells", or straight up asking if it's "okay to go in there" when you come out.

I should probably say that this behaviour is born and tolerated in a heavily unionized workplace, which can work both for and against us.  Just a disclaimer.

The yucky part:  I have IBS. I'm lucky, because my sisters have Crohn's. I got quite sick with IBS a couple of years ago due to stress and lost an unhealthy amount of weight. Managing stress helped me to gain it back and keep food in my system. But it didn't keep these people from making comments when I would leave the bathroom.

Today they put up another passive aggressive sign in the bathroom about "smells". I've had a bad flare-up this week and it seems it was noticed.  Like, it's a bathroom. People poop in there. They should be used to 6'4" McDonald's eating cops pooping in there.  What the what?

I feel like running with it though.  The union protects me as well.  Perhaps a few poop emoji stickers should appear?  A bottle of Poo-Pourri?  Any ideas on successfully trolling my busy body coworkers?



lieutenant_dad's picture

Put enough different-smelling candles, wax warmers, oil diffusers, and incense sticks in there so the heavy perfume smell is worse than any body odor.

Though, I do feel bad for anyone who sits directly outside the door. While I'm sure you do your best to keep the bathroom smelling as best you can, that doesn't mean others do. It's likely nauseating for the poor soul who has to sit outside that door (assuming there is an office/cube right outside that door).

As a fellow IBS sufferer, I feel your pain. It's an embarrassing and gross problem to deal with.

Merrigan's picture

IBS sucks. Sorry to hear you're dealing with it too. Does your family have similar health issues?  Colitis and Crohn's are very common in mine.

The office with the private bathroom is about the same size as all the offices in my building. I get why they don't like people using that bathroom, especially because it's the only private one. There are spray cleaners and air fresheners in the bathroom, and it's cleaned twice daily by a janitor.

There's a history of bullying at work however, which was always among the older coworkers, and usually about clothing.  


lieutenant_dad's picture

No history of Crohn's or anything that severe, but my mom and brother both have IBS. I've suffered with it since I was a teen, and it has gotten better in recent years as I've been more active and eat better. Though, I've switched to IBS-C in recent years, which has not been fun.

BethAnne's picture

I would talk to someone you trust in HR about it, asking that they keep you anonomous. I would tell them that you feel targeted because of a medical problem and request that management put in some ordor control things in the bathroom (candles etc as mentioned above) and ask that snarky general emails stop and concerns are addressed directly with management to find solutions, not asking individuals to control the odor of their bowel movements. 

Kes's picture

Agree, approach HR about this, it's bullying.  It is awful that you are being targeted because of a medical problem that is not under your control at all.   What horrible, mean colleagues you have.  My son in law has IBS and I have nothing but sympathy for what must be a difficult condition to cope with.   They should just thank their lucky stars that they are not coping with this.  

Winterglow's picture

It's time they fitted an automatic air freshener on the door that works every time it's opened. One of the pubs I used to work in had one that smelled of L'aimant by Coty (dunno if anyone other than the Brits here might know what that smells like) and it kept the place fresh at all times. There are others that have timers and work every X minutes (as set). Nobody should have to worry about making a smell.

Mamabearof3's picture

I have ibs and get hypoglycemia during episodes. Horrible horrible combo