Some of you will remember my facebook update earlier this week about getting stuck in a hotel WC.
It was frustrating, unnerving, totally unexpected...and very funny.
I was shown into the bathroom by a member of staff - access was easy. There was an adapted cubicle in the ladies with ample space. All in all, pretty good.
It wasn't until I attempted to leave that I discovered a rather effective wheelie trap. It's hard to decribe in words, so I'll leave it to the stickmen.
Being stuck in a warm room when heat intolerant (i.e. one collapses) was not on my todo list, so after dislocating my wrist in escape attempts, I moved on to the moderately embarassing 'phone a friend'.
Only to discover that my phone had 'emergency calls only.'
No way was I calling 999 to say I was stuck in a loo! NO WAY.
Except...it was hot...and no passing ladies seemed to need the loo....
So I called 999. "Erm...it's not technically an emergency...I'm a wheelchair user, and I'm stuck in a loo....could you call the hotel and get them to let me out? - I only have reception for emergency calls."
Fortunately half way through the call a woman walked in. Poor woman. She was met by a set of wheels streaking past at lightening speed, to the sound of "Someones here!! I can get OUT! quick! THANK YOU!! I'M FREEEEEE!"
In my desperation to get out, I may have seemed a little rude, but should the lady who let the slightly panicky wheelchair user out of the loo at the Imperial Hotel on Russell Square, London, on Mon 9th December 2013 ever read this: You are my hero. I am extremely grateful to you.
And to any architects, interior designers, and owners of accessible toilets, please ensure that in providing access, you don't forget the egress!
[Note 1: Opening 1 door with the left hand, the second door with the right hand, and then wheeling backwards with the other hand is not possible due to lack of a third arm.]
[Note 2: The hotel's Health and Safety department are working on solving the problem. I will let you know when it's solved.]
[Note 3: Problem sorted, see How to respond to an access complaint. Good work, Imperial.]