Friday, 8 June 2007

The End to A Perfect Day

Corfe Castle, Dorset

Feeling very relaxed after a Perfect Day Out, I have spent some time this evening reading your blogs and re-visiting my own writing and your comments. I have often felt over-whelmed by the beauty and determination blogged elsewhere. A bit teary too. Being here is a good end to a Perfect Day.

I had to be in the relaxed frame of mind a Perfect Day brought me to, to push my fingers to type wwwdotbloggerdotcom because so much got tied up with blogger and blogging. I have felt incapable of writing as the Sally I know and feel comfortable with, until I had let time weave a new skin over that lesion. I have felt incapable of connecting with this important part of myself.

Update on my life, for the record, which apart from my Perfect Day, still sucks ...

The dinosaurs and money-bags are still lumbering over different ways to delay meeting my disability needs. Even my last resort, the Local Government Ombudsman, did not reply to my complaint about Dorset Social Services within four weeks as stated, but four weeks and one day on, emailed me to say: sorry, going on holiday for a fortnight, will contact you as soon as possible when I return. So that is alright, is it? I ask - to myself, as he has disappeared on holiday. I will still be here when you get back, provided I haven't fallen again, worse than last time.

The organisation I referred to as Adapta-Crip when I self referred myself to them last September, (as Social Services were going on holiday before they had time to refer me), have written and answered my question on why they have done nothing to help me with social services (keep up, sorry, but its a long sentence), as they are contracted to by social services and other government funding; saying social services have not made a referral so we do not have an open file on you. I cannot untangle that enough here or in my own mind, to add it to the list given to the LGO about the four year delay, sorry its now four and a half years delay, to answering my request for wheelchair access into and around my home.

The Speculative Burglar (no, not Burglar Bill, see post below, sorry too brain tired to link) may have been my neighbour after all, unlikely though it seemed at the time, due to ... well, nevermind, but he is receiving treatment. This is just supposition. That his sudden onset medical problem led him to behave in such an un-characteristic act. I could be wrong. But, sorry though I am for him, his dog and his wife, for me its preferable to the Speculative Burglar suggested by Charles Dawson's comment.

I miss Charles Dawson. His writing was always informative, entertaining, inclusive and intelligent. Whatever happened in the backgroud, it is shameful that a published diatribe, sorry, comment, on someone else's blog, should have been instrumental in his departure. For whatever reason. It is rare, as someone else put into words for me, better than me, for there to be a male crip writer, writing regularly, and that is not to detract from the other male crip bloggers, here in the UK, USA, and New Zealand, but you male bloggers know you are few and far between, so we could not afford to loose another valuable, respected and well loved one. For whatever reason. Shame on you that was the very public party to his departure. For whatever reason. Blessings on those of you who have visited (here) and emailed me. You have been in my thoughts.

Enough. Charles if you are lurking, blast you, come back ! Fight the good fight.

My Perfect Day:

Cloudy not sunny, warm not hot, Friday not Monday (not neuro-toxic drug day drugged), bouyed up by steroids, on a roll. Home Helps back in harness this week (fully forgiven; one's husband serving in Iraq, the other's friend died while they were on holiday - what am I complaining of !) and because they are back, the housework, shopping, laundry, all worked smoothly, so I have been able to have the energy to see a way clear to going out, safely with my PA. Which reminds me, not to complain of Social Services alllllll the time. I have had a budget through Direct Payments for some years now, 9 3/4 hours home care and one session 'day care' per week which pays the PA, which means I am able to go further afield safely. I acknowledge that many other crips are struggling, as I write this, to achieve the same basic rights for themselves.


My PA drove my Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, the twenty miles to the bit of the coast at Swanage that has disabled parking next to the short slope down to the short sandy beach with the wooden groynes to hang onto when the walking stick sunk into the sand, and to sit on at just the right height to have my feet in the waves ebbing and flowing away and towards me. I just sat there, blissed out, for an hour, and it is years since I have been able to do that. A combination of circumstances; steroids, PA, cloudy and just warm so able to cope, and a parking space right next to the bit where I could manage the beach, leaving the wheelchair in the car. Last year I tried the same town but could not park.

On the journey there, taking a back road that up until the last century had been the main road, we drove through leafy cuttings in the rolling slope, passing old stone farmhouses with stone tiled rooves (rooves ? roofs !), over tiny bridges over deep narrow streams, and small fields with thick hedges being left or cut for hay. One field gate open, so we pulled in and stopped for a picnic lunch. The field fell away down the hill in front of us, the restored Swanage Steam Railway toot tooted along the valley below, and the magnificent splendour of Corfe Castle stood in the gap between the two hills off to the right. We lunched with a hare, who was wandering along the field in front of us, delicately choosing which herbage to nibble for her lunch. Skylarks, chaffinches, honeysuckle and dog roses in the hedge, unchanged for hundreds of years.

I have been earning my living also. Using what spare energy I do have to put something back into the community as a volunteer, in recognition that I live off benefits.

Dorset is one of nine areas in the country to trial a Local Involvement Network: LINk. Being facilitated by the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health. To replace the Patient and Public Involvement forums, which, word has it, are being disbanded by the government because they were successful, or depending on which side you are on, because they had become local vehicles for party politics.

Anyway, my thinking is there is no money at County Hall for the other love of my life, disabled rights of access to the countryside and coast under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Class 1, 2 and 3 vehicles - wheelies), so rather than use my energy banging on about that, when there is little funding for replacing stiles with wheelchair accessible gates, I may as well see if the LINk can make a difference to funding for, wait for it, Health and Social Care. Another government initiative, bringing together (mixing up?) the previously separate National Health Service -v- Social Services and calling it 'Social Health and Care' (or was it Care and Social Health, or Health and Social Care ?). My entirely personal view is that it will start a war between the two, with each one grabbing a potential client a.s.a.p. in order to get a bit extra funding. As a community volunteer, to me it feels like I am involved in a game of chase the funding; use your energy in the field of community involvement that is the current government initiative of choice for government funding. Cynical, me ?!

I went to the first 'Event'. Well, they paid me (£10 food voucher and £4 travel expenses) and they had cakes and strawberries. I watched the Powerpoint presentation, read the information boards, talked to the bods with name tags on, and still didn't understand the questions. To one very helpful man from the Commission (helpful initially with my wheelchair ramp, then with the form filling and questions) I said; this seems very nebulous. He laughed. It is, he said.

That's all right then.
Its not me, not my cogdysfunct, not my impairment.
Its the government !

As a friend of mine says whenever his farming hits another batch of form-filling:
" Bloody government ! "

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