Tag Archives: wheelchair

Falling…

I have the headache from hell. It’s been here since Storm Irma hit landfall in Florida a few weeks ago. It’s not going away now though.

I went to London for 3 days – home again after two whole years. Four years since I’d been to where I used to live and the West End, because once I moved to Leyton and was ill, I never could go back. I only went to Stratford (and frankly that was pretty good enough, too – great area!). This was the first time I had been and the first time I’d used a proper wheelchair there… But the biggest shock wasn’t being back in London (that was just normal, like visiting the hometown you grew up in and love). No… The biggest shock was coming back.

When I was there, staying in Angel [Islington], it was far from perfect. But things were easier. I wasn’t as ill. Wasn’t in as much pain. I was stressed to hell and kingdoms come, but I wasn’t as ill.  I was able to get up 1-2 hours earlier than [here] in north Wales, and with far more ease. But since I’ve returned to north Wales, the difference (whatever the difference is) has hit me with a sledghammer and then some. It’s, quite frankly, utterly shocking and horrible.

It’s bad enough this Aspie Girl had to leave her home (London) in the first place. Now, after going back like nothing had happened (except with more pain and a new wheelchair), the difference in… whatever… is striking. And maybe because I’m not used to it now, I can’t cope with it. With whatever it is here [Wales] that does make my condition that little bit worse. I don’t know if it’s a psychological thing affecting the Firbo, or a Fibro thing affecting the Psychologial. But whatever it is, it’s there and it’s real. And shocking. So to be so brutally tasked with trying to “Cope” with it, is boslutely horrible and really hard.

No, I did not expect this at all. If anything I thought I’d get a few days of respite, but not to this extent. Wishing now I’d stayed a damned week instead…

It was lucky I went with my new chair – GTM Mustang, from Cyclone. [Mine’s black and silver and so comofortable]. It made all the difference there. I managed to go around everywhere I wanted with absolute minimum assistance, which was amazing. Thus I question, how is it now, from the time I’ve come back, am I passing out with pain again? Did being back home make me stronger? Is there a radical difference being up north? Is the weather? Is it about living so high up [compared to London]? What is it about being here that makes it go from 9¾ was a maximum pain there, to being a minimum one here?

Even when I was very stressed there (just try taking the train from Euston station when you’re in a wheelchair!), it still didn’t get too bad… well, until I’d been on that damn train about two hours, and it was already 7pm! And yet, all I’ve done since is, well, nothing, because I can barely move.

Is it psychologically-induced? There’s no denying the immense depression and fear I have living here, and not back in London. I’ve never liked it here, and I am horribly resentful and fearful of life here. I feel restricted because I’m forced to be more reliant on others here – you have to drive or be driven here, there’s no public transport available (certainly not adaquate enough for indipendent wheelchair use, like London has). There’s a lot of depression and fear involved to being here. I am just a completely different person there – I’m home, safe, and I know and like how the world works there. Here… Nothing of the kind, and I’m terrified and agoraphobic when here. That can’t help.

It’s always cold and raining, so wet, damp, painful… meaning that it has an immense knock-on effect on my physical well-being, and thusly has a knock-on effect on my psychology. Clearly, the answer is that it’s everything together doing this. It’s a messy, tangled ball of knotted string…

The fact there’s no help or support in any real way, means I’m left floundering. I’ve had to ask to be re-referred to neurology because this is getting worse. Physiotherapy has dumped me (there’s no NHS money for long-term help, and she was a wet blanket and a half anyway…). I’ve been waiting about a year for psychological help, and I’m still waiting, desperately trying to tread water in the meantime. The pain clinic waiting list is a joke – they took 4 months to get back to me, only to tell me that from then (July) they notified me it was going to be yet another 9 months of waiting list to go. And nothing else has been offered, or is available, because I live where I live.

I had a nightmare of coming off the road on a corner of a steep mountain road and falling down hundreds of feet into a deep canyon. I turned around in my car seat, squeezed my eyes shut, and said goodbye as we fell and fell and fell. Just in the moment before hitting the bottom, I came round. Before then though, I didn’t realise I was dreaming… I really thought I was going to die. From disbelief in the first instance, I turned and accepted my fate. It was so horribly surreal to face death like that… and perhaps miraculous to find out it was just a dream.

It’s how I feel in life – it was a very Jungyan dream. I feel like I’ve gone off the edge of a cliff, and I’m just falling and falling… but there doesn’t seem to be any way to be woken up from this nightmare that I’m living in. And I just keep feeling like I’m falling the whole time, because there doesn’t seem to be any kind of end or stability in sight at all. I’m closing in on the 4th anniversary of the start of this [next month]… and I’m just not even close to getting this sorted out. I don’t even have psychological support. I’m just on a useless waiting list, and it’s not like those call centres where the phone queue tells you where your place is… They just make you wait in Limbo until you finally get that letter to say it’s “your turn”.

I don’t like being back. I wish I didn’t have to live somewhere that’s not interested in being good to me, and in fact, only makes things worse. There’s no long-term support of any kind, and I have no emotional support from the professionals. I’m a lost Aspie, falling and floundering… And I still can’t understand why they can’t help me to level out and fly…

 

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Please Make The Stupid People Go Away… (The PIP Fiasco Continues…)

It’s come to the point of I’m getting scared of what’s going to happen to me next. How much the people out there who are supposed to help you are not only just going to ignore you, but they’re going to kick you in the nuts when you’re down, too. With Jibgle Bells on their toes.

Two bad things happened today, and I’m wondering how much more shambles there’s going to be in out beloved Health & Social “Care” system before most of this place falls apart because no one can get the help they need to be even vaguely productive. Or even alive.

The DWP are even worse than a joke… It’s almost like they’re in the business of causing as much suffering as possible. Constantly, consistently, and completely.

I have tried and I can’t find anyone else quite like me… and it seems that because I’m quite unique everyone wants to put me down. Even downright lie.

Today I got the PIP assessment outcome. Turns out that they give with one hand and take with the other.

Firstly, I finally got the “Higher Mobility” component – lets get the one single good thing out of the way.

20160701_221010000_iOSSecondly, it turns out they lied outright on some of the “Daily Living” parts, leaving me with the same “Standard Daily Living” Component. I know this because I called the guy who looked at the case and made his decision. He explained what “evidence” he had been given by the person I saw… and it turns out they omitted some things and downright lied on others. They hadn’t listened. Clearly rushed the report. Missed giving them vital evidence and letters. Misheard or misreported what I had told her (how the hell am I supposed to be able to be able to still code and do my own sites etc “competently” or game when I’m like this???!). She even missed giving them verbal communication and somehow “saw” I had “good” dexterity – whatever hands she actually saw, I totally want them instead! 😤😡

In hindsight, she was all “Oh I’ll do this right now for you so it’s all done and with them”… and ergo clearly rushed it and did not do a good enough job at all. Or she was just mean. Either way, I got screwed.

When I called, at least the guy on the other end was willing to put me into the first stage of Appeal (some sort of re-review). He stated he would send me a copy of the main report, and I was to note my responses to them and why they were wrong. I was also to send a copy of the letter from the neurologist regarding the Hemiplegic Migraine diagnosis.

You know why…??

Because that inebriate I saw negated to send the diagnosis letter I gave her or mention it whatsoever. At all. It wasn’t even in the notes. We talked extensively about it.

So I’m hopping harder than a bag of frogs, and as pretty furious as my emotions will allow me to be without going into meltdown.

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Now… You’d think the horrible would stop there. But, oh no. This is my life we’re talking about. Sod and his Law wasn’t done with me yet…

Next, the letter that came with the PIP letter today was from a stock and repair centre for basic mobility. I was wondering why they had sent me what could possibly me the least specific, least helpful letter ever.

I understand from our Approvved Repairer that they have not been successful in contacting you to arrange an appointment to either deliver/collect/repair equipment etc., [sic]

I hall be most greatful if you will contact [them] to agree a mutually convenient deliver date and time.

I had no idea what it was about… Who the hell would? So of course I rang them. And the frogs swallowed a Tigger and they started hopping to the roof.

I had never been contacted by these people before, so what the hell were they talking about? Well, it turns out it was for a wheelchair. Some off-the-peg piece of crap they had probably dug out of the back room. You may be unsurprised to hear that was not the agreement nor what I requested whatsoever.

I had asked the physio (a wet blanket if I ever saw one…) to be referred to ALAC (Artificial Limb & Appliance Service) of Wales (based in Wrexham around here) to be assessed for a proper wheelchair for my long term needs. What do they do instead? They don’t even contact me, sending some nightmare chair to their distribution and delivery centre without even talking to me first… I cannot explain just how bad and unprofessional that is.

Let’s just say if that was a professional private company, they’d have their ass handed to them via the serious complaints system of the corporation. My mother is still a professional nurse in a care home, works with them all the time, and even when I told her, her reaction was… “What?? Why?!” It was three ways from Sunday deplorable. And of course I told the service centre guys to send it the hell back.

My reaction was absolute astounded horror. Actually, that doesn’t even cover it, but it’s the closest the English Language has, I think. I couldn’t even think or move (well, as much as I might be able to anyway). It was a good thing my father was home. He helped calm me, then I spoke to my mam at work so she could give me some decent jargon to throw back at them. But when I was all ready to go, no one even answered the phone. All I got was voicemail. Frickin voicemail. On a Friday early afternoon. Talk about a message of “bugger off and don’t spoil my weekend”…

Thus I sent them a rather lecturing and detailed email. With big words. Well, they asked for it, the buggers.

I’m already struggling with my own current wheelchair (do not ever go to Ableworld Specialist Department – they’re rediculous and pathetic, and I wish I had never, ever chosen them to get my chair though… They do not know what they’re doing 😤 They ruined my chair measurements and centre of gravity, got fittings wrong, and did not give me what I asked of them… And now they’re arguing with me about it!!  😲 ). I did not need all this as well. In this country [Wales] they are not taking disabilities, ASD, or chronic illness seriously at all (except for a few professional individuals). I’m 36 and struggling. I should not be struggling, illness and ASD or not. It’s not right or fair or even logical to stop people reaching their potential because you just get in their way.

… My answer is what I have come to call The Queen of Darkness. With age I realised that this part of my Aspie (as I know it to be now) took over and just barrel-rolled over everything and everyone in her way. Darkness is her home. Bad things are her air. She fixes the wrong and doesn’t take crap from people. She [I] made it clear that “no” was not an option. That walking over her was not an option. That being an idiot wasn’t an option. It’s something that came out of me through necessity to survive my later teen years and 20s. Then… “She” disappeared.

Perhaps because that part of me was no longer needed. However, now it seems that she needs to return. So I guess someone’s going to have to put her Big Girl Panties on and get serious with people and life again. Otherwise I’m never going to get anywhere.

If there’s people out there who can lie and rig the system to the point they can defraud the DWP for years, there is most certainly a way to package the truth to also get what I require to help me live my life. To save my life. To get the same thing, but for real reasons. It’s certainly not right that I struggle so much, and these struggles get pushed under the carpet by the PIP people without another care in the world, as if they – if I – do not matter.

Nope. Not OK. At all.

She’s coming now to kick their asses. Hard.

 


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! 🙂


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

 

 


Independent Struggles

Second day of stumbling around, attempting to survive on my own under these… unpleasant circumstances. You would think it would be better. Easier.

Yeh… It’s really not.

It’s been worse. Now I’m sitting here, in my chair in the lounge, watching Andy Murray, alone and cold, unable to reach the damned radiator and turn it on (there’s a table I can’t move in the way), wrapped up in my mother’s fluffy dressing gown, I’m regretting being alive…

I’m certainly regretting being ill.

It’s been a nightmare day, and it’s not even over yet… Althouth it feels like it’s been about a week already. I’m in turmoil and frankly traumatised as to how much of the downhill slope I’ve actually gone. This morning, as always, I woke up confused, disorientated, with the only conscious thought emerging of that I was supposed to eat my meds… which were not where they were supposed to be. I was distressed and in pain, barely able to move and yet still attempting to find the medication.

Then the dog starts going bananas because the postman is at the door and the bastard just won’t leave the package and go  so the dog with shut up.

Both of my legs were dead (I could manage some twitches with my left, though… score!) and I couldn’t barely even feel them. I couldn’t get up and the dog wouldn’t listen to me. I was distraught and confused, becoming more and more panicked as I tried to make the noise stop so I might at least find my meds.

My father finally made the dog stop. I finally found my meds. I struggled to take my tea and coffee left for me. My back was burning so much I could barely breathe through it, my hands were numb, and I just about managed to get myself up onto my elbow for the few seconds it took to drink each one. Such a fun start to the day…

I lay there, so upset at the fact it was so difficult to do such simple things as get up and drink tea/coffee, anguished at the confusion and disturbed perception of where I was and even who I was… I was also in a rediculous amount of pain in my back. For company, for something for my mind, I somehow managed to get the TV on, playing live shows over TVPlayer on Amazon Fire TV Stick. It helped. After about an hour or so, I realised I had to go to the bathroom – so at that point I was forced to do something about that.

Unable to really move my legs, I dragged myself up to sitting. I pushed my stuffed baby penguin and favourite little pillow into my canvas tote, added my phone and iPad, then proceeded to put it back around my neck and carry it, dragging myself along to the stairlift, and finally into my chair. I had to take a half-glass of wine to dull some of the pain/paraesthesia in my back, and I had another downstairs – I coulnd’t put oils on; I tried (numb hands and small bottles I can barely hold anyway do not mix, especially when sliding with oils).

At least I made it to the bathroom after that, anyway. That’s definitely something very important!

I managed to place myself in the living room. Watched On Demand TV and helped dog with his paralysing fear of overhead RAF planes going around, until 12pm when the tennis started and the dog was happy again.

So here I sit. Many, many, many hours later. Hands are funny – buzzing, numb-ish, tense, a little spasmy and cramping, with some electric shock-like pain. My back, upper legs and torso are all kinds of not OK, from the beginning of real spasms, to buzzing, to cramping, prickles, and burning. My lower legs and feet don’t really feel like they exist and are freezing to the touch (despite being wrapped in a fluffy dressing gown). I am unable to get dressed on my own, and I realise I left my big cardigan upstairs (not realising I would need it). So I remain cold. Borderline frozen. Just hoping I don’t actually die of hypothermia on contract frostbite whilst I’m down here…

I managed to not throw my food on the floor again, at least. It’s a start… But this day is just so hard… It makes me feel terrible that I just really can’t manage for myself. I’m glad I don’t have to do this tomorrow (my mam is off work), I would not be able to cope. I’m not coping now. My head aches, my muscles and bones ache. The isobars are all the way up, pretty much, so clearly having help makes a huge deal as well..  Even putting things out for me doesn’t really work – it’s not exactly being “independent”, is it?

The fatigue is overwhelming. Not having the correct “care” is hurting me and having a direct impact on my welfare: You know, you just don’t realise what a big impact that makes on you until it’s no longer there anymore! The “new” version of Fibro Flareup is hitting me again… and funnily enough, I don’t really appreciate that, either… Seriously, is this day really not over yet??

 

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