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Just read this tweet on Twitter: "Great, now my IBS may cause me to get harrassed by flight attendents. Thanks a lot Al Qaeda" (@johnholz). This tweet summed up my thoughts this morning when I read the story about the second security scare on the same Detroit-bound flight as the one last week when a terrorist tried to detonate a bomb. The second incident involved a man who spent a significant time in the bathroom and would not come out even when flight attendants demanded he do so. Once the plane landed, it was swarmed by armed security personnel, but it appears that the man was not a terrorist, just someone who was ill.

Details are not yet available as to what caused the man to be ill, but it is probably safe to surmise that he was suffering from diarrhea. If you are vomiting, you can do that out in the main cabin - they even provide you with neat little bags. But the only thing that I can think of that would make a person refuse to unlock an airplane door even though people are pounding on it, would be diarrhea.

It is also safe to surmise that this turn of events would strike fear in the hearts of anyone who suffers from diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D). The first problem is that you now have a new worry: "What will happen if I spend too much time in the bathroom?" At the least, you run the risk of drawing attention to yourself. Every IBS sufferer I have ever met hates the idea that any attention might be paid to their bowel habits. The next scenario is that you are viewed by the flight crew and your fellow passengers as a potential terrorist. Worst case scenario, particularly if you look like someone's preconceived, prejudiced view of what a terrorist looks like, is that you emerge from the bathroom to be greeted by armed personnel and subjected to arrest.

The next problem is this new regulation that passengers must stay in their seat for the last hour of any flight. I don't know if this regulation has yet to be carved in stone, but it presents a major problem for anyone who has IBS-D. An hour is an excruciatingly long time to be trapped in your seat with your guts churning.

Lest your fears run away from you, let me inject a small voice of reason. One can hope that the events described above were an isolated incident. The flight crew on that Detroit-bound flight were bound to be jittery and so can be excused any over-reaction. Thus we can be optimistic and think that arresting someone for being ill on an airplane is not going to become an everyday occurrence. The real concern is the regulations that will stem from these latest airline dramas. As you know, we have been discussing advocacy on the site over the past few weeks. Here is an excellent chance to do your part for the IBS cause: Contact your local senator and make sure that they know that regulations that restrict passengers to their seats will pose undue diress on individuals who suffer from IBS. This link will lead you directly to forms for contacting your senator directly. Speak up to ensure that the skies remain IBS-friendly!

Related Reading:


[sub]Ill passenger causes scare on Detroit-bound jet Accessed December 28, 2009.[/sub]

Terrorist Scare, Airline Security and IBS originally appeared on Irritable Bowel Syndrome on Monday, December 28th, 2009 at 09:59:18.

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