Monthly Archives: July 2017

Some More New Life Hacks

I have added two more “workarounds” for my Firefly (wheelchair) – a cup holder and an iPad/phone holder.

IMG_2249I found out that – for some reason – these things “especially designed” for wheelchairs cost a damn fortune. And there’s almost no choice anyway. So I found alternatives.

The cup holder I found is for prams and pushchairs – it’s a Go Baby Grow cup holder for parents to put on their stroller/pram, and it comes with extra hooks to tie to your push/wheelchair, which are very handy. They were a fraction of the price of the only specific wheelchair cup holder I could find here, and I even got it on one of Amazon Lightening Sale deals.

It’s hot and cold drink safe, easy to put on, and having the extra hooks ended up being really quite useful, when tied to my back push-handles.

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IMG_2252There’s also my iPad/Phone holder: That was on a lightening deal and cost about 10% of what specially made wheelchair ones cost.

This is an iPad arm stand mainly made for tables, but can be utilised with a number of things… and in my case it’s also a wheelchair. I have it clamped to the front, on the side leg, and it doens’t really overbalance or anything when you’ve put it on properly.

It’s been great and makes a big difference to using my phone or iPad, both in the house and when out and about. It’s both out of the way, easily available, and makes the device easily usable. It’s a stable product and the clamp is easy to use and holds in-situ well. I’m very pleased with it, and its an excellent life hack for the wheelchair.

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Thinking outside the box is really important when it comes to living outside the normal rules and you have wheels instead of feet.

Annoyingly, it turns out that walking people make things for wheeling people, then greatly overcharge because they just can. Finding any alternatives can be hard – and sometimes there just aren’t any. But other times, there are a lot more options if you look elsewhere.

Keep an open mind and allow some innovation, and never think the status-quo is all there is out there… Learn to look beyond it and you can get some great ideas! 🙂


My ASD: Mistakes. Are. Bad… Very. Bad.

I’m not even sure why they even exist… but these physiotherapists are just such a waste of time. She screwed up again – and I pretty much had a meltdown about it, also causing a big set of severe Fibro spasm attacks. Hoorah

After going to so much trouble to get the right date this week so my mother was here with me, the damn physio wrote in the wrong date anyway into the diary when she got back, and after waiting and waiting and waiting, I only find this out after I call when she’s an hour late. So that’s two ruined days because of her, which has just sent an already troubling and difficult week into a horrible tailspin.

It is clear that no matter what acts or policies that are in place, nobody cares about how they treat you when you have ASD. It’s OK for them – they’re not the ones who have to deal with the meltdown (or at least severe anxiety attack) that is the result of this god-awful thoughtlessness. After trying to deal with it all afternoon, I had an anxiety attack and mini-meltdown later on in the evening, after that panic built and built and built. It in turn ended up in a series of severe spasm attacks that were horrific and painful. But she didn’t have to care about that, did she? No. She could be ignorant of it, never know about it, never need to care about it. It doesn’t affect her. So why should she care, right?

Apparently, that’s how they all think. It’s certainly how they all behave… And it’s just horrible. To the point of being traumatising.

20160920_173759000_iOSWhen appointments are made, stick to them. Don’t be late. Call if you’re going to be late. Isn’t that “NT” politeness anyway? Well, it’s vital in my world. I’ve already had PIP mess me around. I’ve already been thrown into hell with the isobars down at 1000mb level, unable to even breathe sometimes it’s so painful. I’ve already had a hell of a morning, starting with 3-4 hours of going through the motions of trying to get up – yes, that’s how hard it is. And I’ve had to get up super-early so there’s enough time to do all this and regain an equilibrium before the appointment…

And then after all of my efforts I find the physio didn’t even try to get this right. After we brought out the calander and showed her all the dates my mother was available. She still couldn’t get it right. The emotional turmoil of this, of all my efforts for nothing, that the fact she could make such a mistake that cost me so much… It’s just too much to bare.

There’s also the other point that I cannot even begin to cope with changes… as well as the horrifying realisation that she probably didn’t get the message I left with their reception to cancel the appointment she wrote up, and that she might come tomorrow anyway. When she wasn’t supposed to. When I told her not to… And then I have to cope with that thought, with that change, with that intrusion, because she wasn’t supposed to come tomorrow… It’s horrifying to think that she thinks it’s OK to put me though such a thing, just because she can’t concentrate long enough to put the correct date down. It seems so unfair. It’s not like they don’t know I have ASD… They just don’t care, or have a clue about it. Or care to have a clue about it.

Proving legislation and policy  is a complete and utter waste of time.

Tomorrow, either I’m going to be home alone when she comes, or my father remains here with me instead of attending his weekly visit to see his elderly mother. I don’t understand emotion generally, but I know that uncomfortable feeling of guilt. And that last option makes me feel a lot of that. The former terrifies the bejeezus out of me – I have no intention of being there alone with her. I’ll either say nothing, or say precisely what’s on my mind… which I’ve learnt that NTs do not want to hear. Apparently they’re allergic to the truth. The polite fluff they engage in is still beyond me, even though I generally attempt to emulate it. Probably quite badly, but hey… at least I try. Which is more that can be said for the other way – not many NTs [professionals] try to understand ASD-Land at all.

Like the physiotherapist. And PIP.

GrumpyBearI am “ranting”, but it’s so very horrible. “NT” people never seem to understand this – although some at least accept it. I’m terrified of tomorrow (and that’s actually an understatement), and the fact the isobars are still on the floor are not helping. It’s going to be a long morning, at the end of which, I have to call the receptionist back tomorrow to verify the appointment has been cancelled and the physio is not coming. She was supposed to call about it (the physio, that is) and reschedule, and she never did. With that evidence I can only conclude she thinks she’s still coming here. It seems that if she has a mobile phone, neither her receptionist nor myself have the details of it to contact her directly when she’s out.

I knew they were a waste of time, but since the initial attempt at contact was a farce. It’s not ending, either. It still is. I can’t see any reason to continue with this – it’s one extra burden I can do without, given there’s no payoff from it. I’m already ahead of her game, and so far she can offer nothing better. So I’m wondering why I’m spending the effort of enduring hours of pain and torment to get up in time for her to come, when she’s not actually even coming in the end, because she couldn’t do one simple thing right – write an appointment in her diary on the correct day. And repeating it all again in case she turns up tomorrow. It’s harrowing.

I really am honestly scared of facing tomorrow. I hope I get some sleep… It’s “only” 1:49am as I write this now. And there’s a long night ahead…

 

A Question of Sanity

 


Physi-Oh… Lordy…No…

The isobars are on the floor again (1000mb tomorrow, and I’m feeling it…).

img_0896I’m wearing arthritic gloves just to type this. My hands are aching horribly (well, they’re crackling, buzzing and being mini-shocked, like their on that electic ball at the science museum, and “clawing”, but “aching” could be shorthand for it).

My legs are even weaker and buzzing and my back in on another planet of wrong – and my abdomen is in constant spasm.

So, in other words, it’s a normal day for crappy air-pressure day. Naturally.

However, what I had hoped for – when that damn physiotherapist finally turned up – was that I would be able to be taught how to help deal with it. To have massaging exercises, or movements, or just help to deal with these day.

You know what I did get? A frickin’ printout that I could (just about) manage 3 of from it. On a really good day. That were already incorporated into my usual practice on my (fun!) DVDs. They could have just saved her time (and damn salary) and just emailed it to me.

stupid-people-shut-upShe poked a couple of times at my leg, asked me to move whatever I could. Then promptly ignored everything I told her and gave me the most basic printout I think she could find, made for people who could move things. It was for stiff and weakened people, maybe older, maybe who have been a little bedridden. It was not suitable for what I had, which was something for perhapse lower-body paralysis or stroke or MS (which is everything that this emulates, and often all at once…). They clearly have nothing specific to Fibromyalgia or Hemiplegic Migraine. It seems they may not even have something for the others either, which is strange and confusing – and entirely unhelpful.

The worst thing is, if they had come when they were supposed to, six months ago, these may have actually been relevant… a little. But now, that ship really sailed. Off into the distance, beyond the horizon, and far, far away…

I’ve done more for myself – found actually appropriate exercise DVDs and a great YouTube yoga video – all of which are both helpful and fun, all from my chair, with some on the floor. I found better stretchy bands than they were going to give me. I have hand weights. I wanted help going further, going forward, with better things, more intensive things. But… no. Just stuff I’d already covered, if I could do it. God only knows what help people with even more debilitating conditions or paralysis get from these people, they just don’t seem to have a bloody clue.

I don’t know whether it’s severely OCD “Heath & Safety” rules that I don’t know about, or whether they’re just idiots, but they’re really not helpful. Just next time, don’t bother me and email the damn printouts instead…

About the only thing I got that was useful was that she confirmed that it was not safe for me to even attempt to walk (and oh, I am so not making that mistake again now…!) – which will be handy if the PIP thing gets awkward again (but I’m fairly sure there will be no lying this time, at least). Otherwise, I’m not sure what use they are to me…

Carry Me

 

 


Sunrays Through The Clouds…

PIP Day.

It went pretty well, to be honest… which has shocked me no end. I felt confident going in, the day was lovely, isobars were right up at 1025mb, temperature around 23ºC, I got there early… Everything executed astoundingly well. We got a little lost, because it’s in a weird place by the Menai Bridge, to get to Anglesey, but Google Maps sorted that one out.. 😉

We actually went in right away after we got there. We were early, and it looked like the assesseor was ready to go hom early. So we were able to go on in about 20 minutes sooner, which was great.

The woman I saw was really nice; a real nurse. She was sympathetic to my situation and could see what was going on – and seemed shocked that I didn’t have everything set up already, given this has been going on so long. She was also shocked when I pointed out it had taken six months for PIP to get around to seeing me after seeing my application. All in all, she seemed on “my side”, which was of course a huge difference to the previous idiot I saw, when I first got PIP.

She talked to me, listened to me, took my 14 page “dossier” of every detail I could think of that I’ve recorded and updated as things have become worse. What I didn’t remember, couldn’t say, or couldn’t portray properly, was all in there, so they had all the information they required right there, so they didn’t have to remember everything. Hopefully, it came in useful.

I was amazed it seemed so easy. That she made is so easy – she was lovely, affable, friendly, talkative, and your typical nice nurse, really. I was very lucky to get her, really. She made it easy to talk to her, was familiar with the neurologist who diagnosed me, and seemed very well-versed on my Asperger’s. I’m not used to that!

I hope I will at least receive a fair assessment this time. She seemed to understand the situation, at least. All I want is for their official paperwork to reflect what I have to go through, and not undermine it. She said she would get the report sent out by the end of the day today. There’s a chance I could get a PIP rate that reflects my circumstances, rather than one that undermines it. If they’re as fast as she is, then I will hopefully get the upgraded PIP level sooner, too.

… Yeh, OK, probably not, but you never know…!

 


Getting Ready for PIP… Again…

It’s the day before PIP: Take Two

I was nerve-wracked before, but now I’m just mad. My 2 large packets of paperwork are ready. I have everything I can think of set – frankly still basically in place since last week – and I’m ready to be irritated and bored by an inebriated idiot who probably doesn’t know much… if they’re anything like that last one I saw, that is.

After the cancellation of the last one, my life went crashing into a tailspin, exploding into all kinds of awful things. It’s basically been a living nightmare for the past five days, and I can only dearly hope that with this finally over with, I can relax a little and get on with still learning how to walk with wheels.

Yesterday, it got a little better… I went to see my sister in Southport and had a good time wheeling around and chariot-racing with the dog all along the prom, gardens, and down the pier – it was definitely something the people of Southport had not seen before! It was a good day out that was more like “me” and I was able to be pretty much completely indipendent, or the dog helped me out. We all had dinner together in the evening in a lovely place called the Fisherman’s Rest, then made the long journey home.

It was the first time in a very long time I’d had a long, successful and fun day out somewhere. It was also the first time my new chariot – my Firefly – had been on a big outing, and she did very well, and I’m really pleased with her. That paid it forward to today, where I had a fairly relaxed but active day. I have much more confident in my little Firefly, and I managed to do a scary thing (which normal people don’t find scary) – which is to see my cousisn’s little baby. Babies scare me, so to meet one, see one, hold one, as a practice before becoming an aunt for the first time, took courage. With my Firefly I had the confidence to do this, and met the baby and her three-year-old older brother… who’s a little maniac and so fun to play with!

To end my evening, before having to face the long night ahead before this awful thing tomorrow, I watched the movie Hidden Figures, which completely blew me away – especially since the story was based around real people and things that really happened. It was terribly inspiring, shocking and heartbreaking, as well as utterly astounding and amazing… and I love the fact it literally took a woman to get a man into space – and to the moon.

To see other women work so hard to trailblaze their way into computer programming, aeronautical engineering, Astro-physics, complex mathematics, over 50 years ago was simply amazing. It was also heartbreaking to watch the horror of segregation they had in America back then… As a Londoner living amongst everyone in a melting-pot, it’s simply unthinkable. As a girl who was never encouraged at school to push for maths or had an opportunity to study computers, to see those who had gone before burning their way into this world right at the top, it’s so encouraging, helping to feel like there really is a place for me in such a world. I’m no savant genius like they were, but I’m capable, and got jobs in IT people that far more “qualified” for it than I was on paper were overlooked for. Being able to do it without formal training is pretty lucky – and then I also get to thinking what I might have been capable of if everything that occurred, well, hadn’t.

In a way, because of the last couple of days, I’m going to this appointment feeling a little more like myself again. I’m relieved at that I will have this form on control – I have dyed my hair, I’ve been out [properly] for an active, full day-out for the first time, and I’ve had good and nutritious food, and I’ve had a far more relaxing night than the last time. I do feel like I’ll have a little more control when I go, at least… so I hope that is something in my favour.

I’m not happy about going at all, but at the end of the day I’m hugely worse than I was when I first ever saw PIP, which must be nearly 2 years ago now. Their original assessment no longer stands, so they really should be documenting that… if they possibly can… I think it’s quite clear what level of esteem I have for these people!

… So… Wish me luck!