Scott Nesbitt requires a plastic, bendy straw to drink. (Carmell Nesbitt photo)

Scott Nesbitt requires a plastic, bendy straw to drink. (Carmell Nesbitt photo)

Victoria mother concerned by city’s potential straw ban

Carmell Nesbitt’s son has cerebral palsy and can only drink with plastic straws

When Carmell Nesbitt first heard the City of Victoria is considering banning disposable straws, she immediately bought more from the store.

Nesbitt’s 37-year-old son Scott has cerebral palsy and a swallowing condition, so he can’t drink without plastic, bendable straws. His dysplasia can also make him aspirate fluid into his lungs. Without access to straws, Scott could become dehydrated.

“It’s kind of like when you have freezing done for dental work and you try to swallow but it drools all down your face. It’s like that all the time for him,” Nesbitt said. “Even with the straws, he still needs other people to hold his cup.”

READ MORE: City of Victoria considers disposable straw ban

They’ve tried everything.

“Because he doesn’t have the motor control, when he drinks out of a paper straw it squeezes too tight and it collapses, then the straw doesn’t work anymore. If he uses a hard straw, he can’t get a good suction on it and can’t get the fluid up,” she said.

At the suggestion of a friend, she bought reusable silicone straws, but Scott found they were still too thick to get proper suction. Other reusable straws, such as those made of metal, are too hard. The ones that don’t bend can’t stay in his mouth at all.

“It’s just disastrous,” Nesbitt said.

READ MORE: BC Ferries to switch to paper straws

Scott lives in a group home, and goes out often to restaurants, especially to Tim Hortons for hot chocolate. He works twice a week, where he’ll eat lunch while at his job. He goes through six to eight straws a day, one with every meal and then every time he drinks between that.

“We always try to make sure we have straws with us and he brings them with him, but sometimes the supply runs out. He gets frustrated because it’s too hard to drink. He says no because he knows it’s going to make a mess and it’s embarrassing,” she said, adding that it also impacts his independence.

“I understand the issue of why they want to ban the straws for the environment,” she said. “However, before they do something like that, they really need to come up with another option that’s going to work for people like my son. I know there are some options, but there are still not enough good options available.”

READ MORE: Some readers say no to proposed plastic straw ban in Victoria


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Saanich Coun. Susan Brice and Mayor Fred Haynes are calling on the province to develop new solutions for emergency response to mental health crises with the consideration of a potential new 911 category. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich mayor, councillor call for new solutions to mental health emergencies

Shifting response from police to trained mental health team the best option, mayor says

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic, operated by Island Health, has opened at the University of Victoria’s McKinnon Gym. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens at University of Victoria

Clinic is staffed and operated by Island Health

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District residuals treatment facility at Hartland Landfill where residual solids are turned into Class A biosolids. (Photo courtesy CRD)
Plant closure sends more biosolids to Hartland Landfill

Saanich residents are concerned they were never consulted

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Left: Oakland County Jail. Right: Canuck Todd Bertuzzi on November 2, 2005. (CP/Chuck Stoody)
Former Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi arrested for suspected DUI: report

The Canadian winger had a complicated history during his time in the NHL

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

Most Read