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

‘We need to do better:’ VicPD responds to more parties, gatherings

Chief pleads with public to ‘think of the greater good’

What Victoria residents are looking to buy while social distancing

New search terms pop up on the Used.ca the top 100 list

Saanich community kitchen continues food distribution amid COVID-19 pandemic

New food delivery system launches March 27 for members stuck at home

COVID-19: Coping with isolation, stress and anxiety

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shares useful information on coping with pandemic

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

Most Read