This is an open letter to the passenger on flight DL194 who had diarrhea. I don’t know who you are, but I hope this note finds you.
For those who don’t know, recently on a Delta flight that was 2-hours into its trip from Atlanta to Barcelona, the pilot made a decision to return to Atlanta due to a “biohazard issue”. An unnamed passenger on the Airbus A350 aircraft “had diarrhea all through the airplane”.
Dear passenger, I want you to know that you are not alone. Whether you have chronic digestive issues, or whether this was an acute situation, there are millions of people around the world who lose control of their bowels every single day. If you are someone who cannot relate to this, and are disgusted by this discussion, then I suggest you stop reading now, because it’s only going to get more descriptive.
I want you to know that I wish I had been there with you. I would’ve done anything that I could have to help you physically, emotionally, and logistically. I would’ve spoken to others who might’ve been horrified at what transpired, and attempted to help them understand that this was not a choice, and that sympathy was called for.
For the last six years I have educated people about the low FODMAP diet and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) full-time. I run Facebook groups with tens of thousands of people. We have a website that receives half a million visits every month. I talk about bowel habits with folks all day long, and typically, it is because they are having problems.
There are people who have lost their gainful employment. People who are afraid to go to parties, or on long trips, or even short rides in a car or on a bus, not knowing if they will have access to a bathroom when needed.
So, if this note finds its way to you, I want you to know that there are those of us out here who could envision what that day was like for you, because of our own experiences. That we would’ve helped you and would have done whatever we could do to normalize the situation. And we want you to know that if you need a travel partner, we are used to stopping frequently for bathroom breaks, and making sure we that know where all the lavatories are, and that you can join us for a trip anytime.
You can reach me through our Contact Us page. Or, if anyone else is reading this and wants to chat with an empathetic person with gastrointestinal issues, just drop me a line.