Slow and Steady

This isn’t something I say in real life because it isn’t helpful. I have to say though, I’m feeling quite smug at the moment. When I decided to change solicitors because the union one was crap, I got the sense that my union rep thought I was being a drama queen and greedy. Whenever I tried to explain that their defeatist attitude, and lackadaisical approach to something that could potentially be my only income was concerning me, I’d get a long bit of silence and then “I see”, in a tone that clearly said they didn’t.

Even after speaking to my new one, there was still a sense of me being a drama queen.

Now we’re in a fight with the company for something we have both been denied and guess what? The unions solicitors aren’t keen to go forward with it. So who they going to turn to? MY NEW SOLICITOR!

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In my quest to move on to living life instead of just  existing from doctor appointment to doctor appointment, I decided to try and work again. I learnt while doing  my old job that 8 hours a week was too much, I wasn’t able to swim or anything because of the hours spent preparing and teaching the lessons.

My tutor from my CELTA course kept telling me to apply to work at the college where I taught. I told her that it would be too much right now, but I wanted to temp so I still have a hand in teaching without the commitment of exams etc. and it had to be less than 4 hours so I can continue with my exercises and well being routine. She told me about a class who needs a tutor for 3 hours a week until Christmas, maybe in the new year too. It is just teaching, no paperwork, no tutorials, no tests. I accepted that. I went through Reed as their enhanced CRB check only takes a week.

Anyway I phoned Access to Work and it’s all changed. Before, you spoke to a friendly person who took down your details, then you were assigned to someone who would sort out the payment bit. It was a very positive government department, and I really liked dealing with them because you got a sense that they were happy to be helping people get back into the workforce.

Now, I was asked loads of questions in a very disbelieving tone. It was horrible. The person I spoke to said she had gone on the tfl website and saw that there is a bus that can take me there directly. I replied that I can’t get to the bus stop because it’s too far.

Then she asked me why I couldn’t drive there. I replied that driving, then walking to the classroom, walking round doing the lesson and then driving home is too much and will leave me in a flare up.

So she said “why doesn’t one of your family drive you there?” I replied I’m the only driver in my family. Then she said that she’ll make a decision and get back to me soon.

I came off the phone worried as hell, how am I going to manage if Access to Work don’t help me? I can’t afford to take cabs, there would be no point in me working as I’d be working to pay my cab fare!

I decided to test it and drove to the college. I was in agony by the end of the lesson. Luckily my sister has a friend who goes to the college and she drove home. My sister had to help me into the house. My legs were shaking really badly.  Apparently my sister’s friend started crying because she had never seen me in a flare before. I couldn’t manage the stairs so had to go loo in a bloody Flora container.

I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh about that in a few years.

The next day I nearly fell down the stairs. My mum’s OH had to carried me down. The next time we spoke he told me that he couldn’t sleep properly that night because he could get the vision of my feet nearly coming off the step while I was clinging on to bannister and my stick.

So no, I can’t work with getting transport help. I got an email to say they will help me for the rest of the year. I’m so relieved, but can’t help wondering, what will next year bring?

On Friday 17th November 2000, I left Harvester to go home as I had an early start at the next day. I saw a missed call from my friend Constance. I decided to wait and call her the next day. Instead of me phoning her back. I got another call. A call to say that she, along with 3 other people were dead in a car crash. Constance has a big family, and when I got to her house I was struck by how empty it was. That was when I heard the full story.

The call I missed was Constance inviting me to a wedding in Holland with her family.  A minivan was booked, but she was in a car with her two cousins and their friend. That empty space in the car was for me. If I had answered/returned the call, I would have definitely without doubt been in the car. How can I be so sure? Because I had a crush…

One of Constance’s cousins was lovely. I thought he was nice looking as well as a lovely person. I had only met him once, and every time there was a chance to see him again, I missed it as I was always at work. I promised that the next event come hell or high water I was going to be there.

A weekend in Holland with him? My idea of heaven. I would have happily gone sick at work for that.

After hearing the story, my sadness was tinged with a feeling of relief. At first, I tried to compensate that by being extra upset. I was round her house a lot with her mum. Slowly though, the relief kept rearing its head so I went the other way. I started downplaying our friendship in my mind and stopped talking to her mum. Even now, unless I’m reminded there are things about our friendship I’ve forgotten. It hit me recently and suddenly it feels like I’ve just lost her all over again.

I wanted to publish this on fb, but it isn’t about me today, it’s about you, Peter, Noel and Mark.

I feel as though I have to publicly say this though.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for forgetting how much you meant to me. I’m sorry for not contacting your mum as much as I should have. I’m sorry for the years I’ve forgotten your birthday and the anniversary of your passing. I can’t do much about the past, but I can try harder in the future. I love you Longstance and no matter what my behaviour showed, that has never and will never change.

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I went to the Aztec Centre today. The website says

The Aztec Centre in Croydon has the largest selection of assisted living and mobility aids in the area.

 

I went there to get a stick with a stool. When I’m walking I tend to stop a lot because it hurts my back. I tend to lean forward to stretch my back. I thought having a stick with a stool would be handy. When I get to the centre, there is a young lady who was very friendly and came to help me straight away.

Then it all went a bit wrong.

She showed me the 2 styles of stool sticks they stock and told me quite bluntly that they were both rubbish and a waste of money.  I appreciate her honesty, but I couldn’t help but be upset. I didn’t say anything to her because it’s not her fault, she’s just selling them.

Truthfully though, I did cuss her out on the way home in my car. I thought that if she knows a product is crap, why isn’t she reporting it and getting something done?

Then I remembered the amount of times I used to complain about products at my old workplace that were rubbish, and the powers that be never responded.

This pisses me off though. This place is The largest selection of assisted living and mobility aids in the area.

Yet they have only 2 styles, and each of them are rubbish? Fix the fuck up.

I know I can buy it online, but there are things that you do need to see. If I had bought either one of those sticks online, they would have both needed to be sent back. That is not always free. Also, lets remember a lot of the people who need these aids may be elderly and not have computer access.

On one, the actual stick on one wasn’t wide enough  have a solid base. It was more of a long umbrella width than a stick. The other seat was low, made from elastic, and hard to get up off.

I know everyone’s conditions are different but I honestly don’t know who would find those helpful. The assistant knows that they are not helpful. So do something about it.

I’m going to send this post to their customer service department. Will anything change? Who knows, but at least I know I tried.

This, coupled with the wheelchair scenario and the fact my room still hasn’t been hoovered over 10 days later has left me in a  bad state today.

Bed time for me.

Well that is what private gyms owners seem to think. I’ve been going swimming at my local pool for years, as it’s the only non stretching exercise that doesn’t hurt a lot. A few months back my friend invited me to his gym. It had a heated pool, jacuzzi and a steam room. It was bliss, and I didn’t feel as sore as I usually do the next day. I decided that while it’s like 30 times (Nope, I’m not exaggerating) more expensive, it was worth it.  I started looking around and what I found surprised and irritated the hell out of me.

The Nuffield gym that is down the road from my house has no disabled parking, and the walk to the reception is far. It would be a nightmare to use a wheelchair in the car park because it’s gravel. While the pool is on the ground floor, I couldn’t use the gym even if I wanted to because there is no lift. I didn’t sign up there because when I went for my trial day, the jacuzzi wasn’t working and when I got talking to the members, it sounded as though it was a regular occurrence.

I then tried Solutions. Again, no parking, no lift and the gym is upstairs. The pool itself was lovely and warm. The shallow bit was so shallow, I hit my head on the floor when I was swimming! The doors are also fire doors and are really really heavy. As there was no lifeguard, I had to wait for someone to come out of the changing room to get back in there. The jacuzzi had 3 steep steps. Just no.

Greens was a good experience on the whole. They have disabled parking, and a private disabled changing room, which led straight out to the pool. The water was a bit cold, but still warmer than my local pool. The only problem with this gym was the steep steps into the jacuzzi and the stairs to go into the steam room.

There are 2 Virgin Active gyms near me. I knew as soon as I parked by the first one that it was going to be a problem. It only had steps going up the door. They weren’t steep, but the fact that they were there alerted me to the fact that people with mobility problems were not catered for.

I was proved right when the oily salesperson came up and sneered at my 4 wheeled trolley. There were 3 flights of stairs to get to the changing room to get to the pool. I laughed. Hard.

Then we get to the final one, the other Virgin Active. It has disabled parking, and lift to the gym. They have something none of the others did. A hoist! I can get in and out easily. The steam room and jacuzzi are all one level. The jacuzzi does have steps, but they are the very very shallow ones. On the whole it’s a nice space and I’m going  to look forward to exercising there.

 

All the others should fix up though. I think it’s disgusting that in 2012 people with mobility issues are not catered for.  Swimming is the one exercise that is almost always recommended for people with chronic pain. Even if not swimming, just exercising  in warm water is good enough. For most of these journeys, I used Dial-A-Ride, and the people I met on them were very interested in whether or not we were catered for. The market is there, but it seems like very few private gyms are interested in us.  Maybe the owners only want a certain look for their club…?

Two things have happened today that have made me mad, and have to laugh or else I would just cry. 

Let me start with a back story. As my previous tenant left my flat in a state, I had to buy a new washing machine, fridge and oven. In Currys, they had a self-propelling wheelchair. It was so handy and I felt independent.

As well as that, I was going to a pool that had a long walk way, and by the time I got out of the pool, I was dragging myself to the changing room.

I thought having a wheelchair would be a perfect way to get around, so I went to see my doctor and asked for a referral. He gave me one, but being the inpatient woman I am, I decided to hire one for 2 weeks from a local place. It was called a lightweight self-propelling wheelchair. I didn’t think about the weight too much because it’s lightweight right?

Right. If you don’t have back and neck pain.

I have to rely on someone to get it in and out of my car, how is that being independent? Also after a while my neck started hurting so I ended up getting pushed. Independent? Yeah right KMT

So today I needed to go to the bank. I drove around for 45 minutes looking for a space to park. What’s so funny about that you ask? I had the wheelchair in my car! If I could take the wheelchair out of the there would be no problem. None whatsoever, but I can’t take it out so I have to drive around hoping a space because available while carrying the thing that enable me to park anywhere. What can I do but laugh?

When I finally get into the bank, they told me it would have been better for me to do it online! After I finished with my main business, I was asked if I wanted anything else and I said no. When I got back to the car, I was like DAMMIT I wanted mobile phone insurance. I have a HTC One X and I dropped it from chest length a few weeks back. The whole of the screen shattered and I was left smartphone-less while they tried to repair it. It was horrible! My sister gave me her old Blackberry to use, and sorry blackberrites, your brand is rubbish.

So I decided that I would insure it over the phone now. Guess what? I’ve spilt water all over my phone and it’s not working. I’m pissed, but laughing too. Only me.

So it’s over.

The rest of the people who were injured in the accident have been paid out. As mine is more complicated, I still have a way to go. It’s starting to move now, and I’ve got papers to sign, reports to write, reports to check and assessments to go to. There is no way I’d be able to teach and deal with this case as well. I guess leaving because I wasn’t getting paid at the college was a good thing!

I’m so jealous of them though. For them it’s over, they don’t have to do all of the above any more. I know my time will come and I will get something that will help me live my best life. I’m just tired at the moment.

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