Saturday, 11 May 2019

THE DAY THE WORLD NEVER CHANGED


A lot happened since I last sat down to write anything. The idea had been to start doing news pieces still around disability and mental health issues but more generic and fun then so dark and gloomy and not always from my point of few. Unfortunately, that has not happened.

When I first started this blog it was to chart my progress on the run up to my amputations, the recovery and what happened next. It then grew into something more for me than just an online diary that people may or may not be interested in reading. It became a voice, a way to tell people and show people exactly how difficult life could be when you are disabled, but also to show others in similar situations that there is hope and to inspire people to get out there and start living their lives the best way that they can.

Now instead of finding fun light-hearted things to inspire me to write about, life keeps throwing me curve balls, so all I write about is the injustice, discrimination and exclusion people with disabilities deal with on a day to day biases.
I thought growing up in the ’70s, before things such as the equality act came into being, that the future for anyone with any kind of disability would be brighter. But let’s face it here we are in the 21st century and hate crimes or on the rise (just the fact they had to introduce a new law to cover these things says everything), and society is far from accessible or understanding at all, if anything I would say it’s less accessible in some ways, far less understanding and tolerant (and not just about disabilities) and less accepting.

Recently my son who has ASD and Tibia Torshin and my daughter were attacked on their way home from school, simply because he is autistic. Due to not being able to get a rise from my son who was trying his best to get home, they pushed his sister’s buttons, knowing that this would upset my son, trying to encourage her to fight. When my daughter refused they knew the way to get my daughter to lose her temper was to “trigger” my son, which they did. They did this by taking his bag, taking his pens and pencils out of his top pocket and knocking and throwing around his papers. This got them the reaction they wanted and he lashed out, hitting one of the kids who were in the midst of it setting off his triggers, name calling him, hurling abuse and mimicking his walking and talking. My daughter and son ended up getting kicked to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the sides, back, legs and in my sons head.

No one has been brought to justice over this, despite threats being made the week before about my daughter getting jumped through prank phone calls, despite ongoing talks with the school due to kids and teachers attitudes and bullying and despite reporting attacks that have happened previously to my daughters because their brother is autistic to the police. The children involved closed ranks, their families closed ranks and other people who saw what happened were too scared to say anything to the police for fear of reprisals. I even got accused of playing the victim, apparently having nothing better to do and my children accused of being trouble makers.

Welcome to a snapshot of equality and inclusion for anyone with a disability in the 21st century.

There are still so many businesses out there that do not understand what inclusion for people who have disabilities actually means. “But they make all toilets accessible now to everyone as not all disabilities are visible! “I hear you shout, and your right, but we still have people having to change their teenage child or adult on a dirty bathroom floor for the sake of extra space to put a full changing space in. “But public transport has disabled spaces!” another thing you shout at me and yes they do….but you see people won’t move out of the space if someone in a wheelchair needs to get on that bus. There has been plenty of stories in the press lately about people in wheelchairs being stranded by bus drivers, having abuse hurled at them by the other passengers for holding the bus up or even having to let 2 or 3 buses go past before they could get on one with the wheelchair space free. Now am not saying people with buggies should stop using buses, but it is my understanding (I refuse to use buses due to these exact reasons and how much anxiety it actually causes me, I would rather just not go out!), that there is one side for prams and one side for wheelchairs, if that is so then why is it not enforced if someone using a wheelchair needs to get on the bus? When I was younger (fair enough buses back then were not disabled accessible at all !!), but anyone who had a pram had to put it down and store it, just like you would if you were using a car and putting it in the boot. Half the time people are leaving the prams up and then the child is getting out and walking to a seat anyway, so wouldn’t it just make more sense to fold and store? I know the struggle of trying to manage a small child, a baby and bags of shopping whilst trying to fold and unfold a pram, but you did it, you managed, you had too.
I still get confronted every day by discrimination in various forms, even sometimes from friends and extended family (not all of them unintentional either, but that’s another blog post), and it can be disheartening, to say the least, and sometimes if your mood is not good it can lead to depressing thoughts that make you wonder why you bother and why you keep trying to be part of society let alone a productive one.

So what happened to the bright shiny future we were all promised? , the 21st century being all inclusive for everyone, everyone would be equal, no more segregation, no more discrimination?
In my opinion, for what it’s worth ( and after all it is my blog), sometimes there are days I stop and look around and honestly think it is worse now with exclusion and inequality towards disabilities then we ever were when I was a child.

 Now there’s food for thought.

Friday, 30 March 2018

WOW HOW TIME FLY WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN....NOT.

I hadn't actually noticed how long it had been since I had actually submitted here and a lot ...I mean A LOT has happened.

So as a quick catch up (try to keep up), going to quickly go through every thing now....

Finally finished University after having some resits to do. Unfortunately due to family circumstances ( which will become clear very soon), I had to leave with out my honors..which is sad.
My sister has been back and forth to the hospital with various cancer scares and at one point they thought the brain tumor she had had removed was back but it was a false alarm.

Then my husband collapsed in November whilst at the gym and was rushed to hospital. At first it was thought he had epilepsy so they carried out various MRI scans only to discover that he had a tumour in is right frontal lobe. That was just before Christmas. He went into hospital on the 2nd of January and had the tumor removed. Luckily the results came back as a grade 1 and we are just waiting on his next scan and appointment to make sure it hasn't returned or bits haven't been missed.
However we then found out he had a heart issue as well and has to undergo various heart tests only to find out that he has a hole in the heart and now has to undergo more tests with possible open heart surgery...yea that
The piece da resistance came when my dad took bad and stopped eating and drinking. Within a matter of weeks he could not walk or swallow and became agitated. He died on Mothering Sunday 11th of March, his funeral is on the 4th of April.

So there is a very quick overview of what has gone on in my life since the last I wrote.

Why am I writing now? Well to be honest I have had enough of the way society is now. I want to be a  person who speaks out , people with all kinds of disabilities are not being heard. Everything in this world is catered towards people who do not need to think about the same things we do before they go somewhere..anywhere. When you are a disabled person that all changes. there is so much you have to think about.

Too many people are affraid to speak out about disability for what ever reason, I want to be that one person who does. it is time the world and society as a whole took notice that there are disabled people in the world, in society. we do exist and we want to work, have a life, we want to do things that every one else does. We understand that there are going to be some things that we just can not do due to various reasons and that is fine, but the things that can be adapted we should be able to do and we can't...that's not fine, society, the world should start taking notice of that.

There are always protests for something, at the moment its gun control in America so there are protests against the NRA, protests from planned parent hood and these get huge media coverage. What about what is happening to and against disabled people? where are the protests, the media coverage? equality in wages is being debated and gets news coverage, what about the inequality that disabled people suffer from? There is protests and huge media coverage around the #MeToo campaign, Black lives matter, and then the coverage at the Oscars over how not enough black actors are getting the recognition they deserve...but hold on...don't disabled lives matter? Yes they do ,isn't there disabled actors, screenwriters, producers, directors etc out there that deserve recognition as well?Yes there is, but .. oh hold on no because Hollywood and the film industry in general would rather disable up an actor then actually use some one with a real disability instead of giving disabled actors a chance or up and comings their first break,  or just CGI the damn character altogether.(Don't get me started on this topic !!!), but "black" up a character well all Hell breaks lose. Double standards much??

So I ask again, where is the media attention on protests for people to get care in their home or to go out to work or have a life? There is none. I am talking about people who need care just so they can get out of bed in a morning, help to go to the bathroom, dress, shower and have a hot drink and meal more then once a day (I know us disabled we take the piss asking to eat and drink more then once, but what can I say? we are rebels). This is just to do the things that the majority of people take for granted, day in and day out. Now that care is being stripped away. Not only are we being isolated from society and activities that everyone else does, (God forbid we would want to have fun or a social life ) because business, shows and events have ousted us or forgotten to cater for us but we are now being shut up in our own homes or worse yet forced to leave. Sometimes if feels as if society and the world are forcing us to be housebound, the whole "out of sight out of mind" thing from the 40s 50s and 60s. I have gone weeks with out leaving the house , not being able to interact with anyone outside the people I live with and not being able to take part in social activities.

The hassle that most disabled people have to go through to  go out even for a couple of hours can be a nightmare and that is another thing that puts you off. I need to think about how to get there, is there stairs or do they have a lift, do they have disabled toilets and if so are they big enough for a wheelchair, is there steps to get into the building and if so will they have a ramp? I have been to restaurants before where I have had to enter by the kitchen,down a very steep ramp that the delivery's are taken in by, that has had a huge 6ft drop to one side and through the tiny kitchen and to my table. Do you have any idea how that feels when you are going out to a posh, expensive restaurant and you are wearing a lovely expensive dress and its meant to be a special occasion?Any idea how degrading that makes you feel? No you wont and more then likely never will. 

Business, shows, events will only provide what they have, to the letter of the law and no further. Don't get me wrong they are companies out there that do go that extra mile and God bless them , for one am eternally grateful and thankful, but unfortunately the majority wont and dont.
I have had a hotel tell me, and advertised they where disabled friendly but had 3 steps up to the entrance and no handrail or ramp, there answer wast to send some porters out to carry me up......no ..nope..not happening mate.
I have had a cheaper hotel chain who's idea of disabled accessible room is to have wheels on their beds so they moved instead of raised solid legs and their idea of accessible bathroom meant a lowered bath and handrails every where....great am in a wheelchair with no legs soooo tell me how this works? It means that short stays when its not really necessary do me to have a shower there its meh but any longer then one or two nights and the cheapest option is ruled out. I have traveled by train and been left sitting at the end of the line waiting for some one to help me off with a ramp or been put on a carriage that was not wide enough for my wheelchair to get to my space or even better having to go into a carriage with no disabled toilet and no way of getting my wheelchair through to the carriage it was in.

Luxury brands are even worse ! Apparently being disabled stops you form wanting to be romantic with someone or splashing out on yourself for a special occasion or is it just because the people that go to these places all the time might be offended or upset by "gasp" "horror" a disabled person? 

Business of all types are loosing out on a fortune in sales and potential customers due to not paying attention or going the extra mile. I can not be the only disabled person out there who just point blank refuses to shop at or go into certain shops? 
For me the biggest pet peeve is Claire's. Sometimes its a double whammy, you struggle into and around these shops/events/venues only to have staff ignore you, pretend to be busy or talk to the person with you as if you are an idiot all because the company couldn't be arsed to do a quick course on disabled awareness. It seems the only way to get help is to draw unnecessary attention to yourself by either shouting across the shop or knocking things accidentally off shelves as you try to squeeze past, therefore drawing ( some what embarrassingly) attention to the fact that the person you have been ignoring for the past ten minutes by picking your nails intently or finding a piece of thread to pick off something or a box to move somewhere else, actually does need help. In the meantime not only have you drawn attention to your desperate need for help but lots of nosy, interested shoppers who will mill around to see what is going on and then whisper to their companions, sometimes not quietly about you or tut tut as they walk away. (it seems to be that companies also forget to train their staff to offer help as under the Disability Act 2010 ALL business should offer disabled customers access to ALL of there goods, this means that if you have something I want and its upstairs with no lift then you should offer to get it for me or if am not sure but give you a rough idea then staff should bring me a selection if I can not access it  ie along the lines of a personal shopper but with out the bossing around having them run around for you all day, yes some disabled people are wankers too).
It seems to get any media coverage on these things we have to degrade ourselves to the point of wetting ourselves on a train or being stranded for hours before anyone is interested, then once the shock value has worn off , pretty much like the shoppers, interest dwindles until the next disabled person has a shock value, media interest story to tell.
 I have been to events where photo shoots/ props for shoots have been up on  a stage and no way for any one with mobility problems or in a wheelchair being able to access that and no way for these props to be brought to them....thats discriminating as it could have been organised better so that it was accessible to every one who might attend. I have also wanted to attend events that have had a themed bar upstairs but again no access for some one who cant use stairs and again no way of bringing that experience to them.....again discriminating. All it takes guys is a little thought, not only are you discriminating but you are losing business and so is the stall or provider.

People who have the blinkers on only care when it happens to them or someone in their family then its "ooh we should have this and we need that and its not fair " You know what mate you didn't give a flying one before until it happened to you. I have been living with one form of disability or another since the day I was born nearly 49 years ago ( only recently been accepted into the grumpy git club lol).

Companies/business/event organisers should think about how much potential revenue they are losing now and how much in the future as disabilities are on the increase. Think about the customer and what they need not just profits as my Granddad used to say " look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves" How about when you are designing a building you actually get committy of disabled people together to look at the specs? what about if you are redesigning a shop you actually get some one disabled in to  go around it to see if it works? what about if you are kitting out a hotel why not bring in disabled consultants who can go through everything that could be possibly needed such as bath boards, hoists and raised beds? If you are organizing an event or show look at the spaces available to you then look at where you are placing stalls, guests and props.

All I want to do is to be able to go out with my friends, be romantic with my husband or have fun with my family and am sure that's what all disabled people want at the end of the day. so listen up and wise up....

All we want..is to be heard
All we want is to be seen



Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Home truths – despair settles in

It’s been a while, dad has been moved into a care home due to his dementia getting worse and then was rushed into hospital where we were told that he had bowl cancer and things amped up at university with it being the final year. Change of location as the Psychology department was moved from St Peters campus to the City campus, final assignments, exams and final dissertation.

Speaking of changing campuses the trouble this has caused for me is unbelievable.   The move to the city campus was supposed to be a smooth transition until I found out that none of the lessons I had at the Priestman building where accessible. Add that to the up and down situation with my father, who as you may remember has mixed dementia, has caused me to miss out on workshops and lectures this semester. Leaving me at a disadvantage regarding my upcoming exams.

This all ended up with me in tears yesterday trying to hand in my dissertation project book and being unable to access the building and a able bodied woman banging on the toilet door in the shopping centre telling me to  hurry up…the disabled toilet  that is, which was being used by someone in a wheelchair…me.

People really don’t think do they? I mean we are supposed to be a society of caring, responsible, intelligent and understanding people…aren’t we? No… we are not!
I personally think that we as a society and a race we are de-evolving. I have tried for years to debunk the “them” and “us” divide but am wondering if it’s true after all.

No one will ever understand what it is like to get up every day and have to ask someone else for help you just to do the smallest of things like get out of bed, put pants on or stand up. It’s not just the embarrassment but the mental anguish it causes. I hate the way I am. I don’t enjoy it. I didn’t want it. It just happened and am left with the aftermath.

Society and the government sees me as a drain on resources, an inconvenience, someone to be singled out and criticised. Scapegoat for fraud, rising unemployment figures. My peers either pity me, or blank me there are very few who support me and have stood by me throughout this, but they, no matter how had they try can never understand what it is like. I have lost count of how many friends don’t bother with me anymore, or how often am over looked when it comes to nights out or family events, it’s an inconvenience you see. Me being in a wheelchair.

I  sometimes need help to sit up, get dressed, pick up things off the table or floor, get tablets out, and cook a meal. Don’t even get me started on having a shower. I can’t do stairs and need someone to help me step off a kerb. I can’t go anywhere on my own as I need someone to push me, I can’t walk the dog, go for a walk, swim, dip my toes in the water, go in the sea, walk on the beach, feel the sand between my toes, clean my own house, get to the girls room, wear funky socks, soak in a bath or even get in a bath or feel a carpet under my feet.

I take tablets morning noon and night and then in-between. They make me gain weight and bloat me even though I barely eat I still gain weight and can’t lose it. Yes I have the odd treat but you look at me, a larger lady in a wheelchair with no legs and the automatic assumption is “who ate all the cakes, pies and biscuits” and it’s thought that the legs where lost due to being fat, over weight and diabetic. They weren't. I feel disgusted in myself, don’t worry. It has been said to me that by someone that I am the reason that they have an eating disorder….they don’t want to turn out looking like me…fat.

The disabled complain about the “disabled porn” how we shouldn’t be inspirations, bollocks to that! I hope I am an inspiration to abled or disabled people. I work hard just to do day to day stuff never mind go out, work or go to university. 

I feel dead inside.

 I have sitting in front of the telly not leaving the house unless it’s my weekly one day a week trip to the town or off to the doctors or hospital to look forward to. No one would hire me due to not being able to guarantee when I would be in. I hate the way I am, I hate the way I look, and I hate my size. “Just go on a diet” “you need to move more look for wheelchair exercise” “just go on slimming world I did “yes and you lost weight because you are more mobile than me…it’s not that simple. I wish it was.

I get up every day, some days when I don’t want to. Some days I just can’t face it but I get up. Everything you take for granted, every little thing you do, needs the utter most planning for me to do or participate in, that’s if I can.

 A day out with my family, a meal, a trip or a holiday needs to be planned to every last detail. Access, toilets, fitting through doors, getting round, getting there. I worry constantly about getting in the peoples way or blocking things or places. I worry about being an inconvenience, the embarrassment and the mental torture I put myself through. When something goes wrong or there are issues accessing 
somewhere or something it makes it worse, it’s like ramming it home, rubbing it in my face.

I just worry.


This is not what I wanted, despite what you might think. I want a life, I want my life, I miss my old life.