Tuesday, October 21, 2014

As Newspapers go, generally I'm a fan of The Guardian. It doesn't specialise in sensationalist headlines,  but my view has been tainted by an article in Saturday's paper. This article was reporting on a lady with a disability, and was highlighting the additional costs faced by those with disabilities. As this lady manages to work four days a week, the difficulties that she faces are different, to those with disabilities that don't have the ability to work. Either way, having a disability does encore additional, and expensive costs. The only situation I feel able to comment on, is mine….

Initially I couldn't walk without assistance. So, I was given some NHS crutches. Thank you! However, these crutches were brilliant as a short term fix. I was heavily reliant on them, and, as a result, my hands became blistered and sore. So I looked around and found some amazingly comfortable, non skin blistering ones. But they were about £100. EEeeeekkk. But I reasoned that was a small price to pay, as it meant I could to move in comfort.

Then, as MS rapidly developed, I found the crutches couldn't cope with my wobbly instability. So I progressed to a wheelchair. I was given a wheelchair through the NHS, and again that was brilliant. Especially as it allowed me to work out what did and didn't work for me.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK:

*It was too big and wide for me.
*It was incredibly heavy, making moving, collapsing and lifting in and out the boot, up and down the steps outside the house VERY difficult.
*It's turning circle was HUGE. Not great when you live in a small/average sized house. With furniture. And people. And a dog.

WHAT DID WORK:

*Being black, it matched my leather jacket.
*When it was collapsed, it went in the boot brilliantly.
*It was free.

I was down to get a better one from the NHS, but I couldn't afford to wait. And the lady on the phone at wheelchair services, reminded me I wasn't a priority as I could sit up unaided. ERrrrrr s'cuse me? WTF? I need a wheelchair because I can't walk. Isn't that a priority? So, with the urgency being one sided, to be clear, FROM MY SIDE, I went searching for one to buy.
I had a little wheelchair knowledge, or so I thought. Turned out, when faced with loads of options, all I could say was that wanted it to be light, and with a small turning circle.

Anyway, I settled on one, and it was ordered, made to measure, and collected, quite some time before I even got a phone call from wheelchair services.

And now I've progressed/declined to a scooter……and so we started that journey all over again….Joy of fecking joys.

I love my scooter, for the reason of what it enables me to do, and where it enables me to go. ON MY OWN. Or, with family, on days out/trips to the park/. As yet, I am to master 'walking' the dog. We get in a bit of a tangle with the lead. And don't even mention the possibly of him have a poo….

Anyway, whatever the disability, and whatever your financial status, I find it best to be as self reliant as possible. And that's where the similarity lies between myself and the lady featured in the article. Working or not, whatever independence you have, hold on to it.

But all things being equal and all that, I really hope The Guardian continues to feature the many different faces of disability.

We all need enlightening, and to be aware that some people have VERY different lives, life choices and experiences to our own.

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