Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Today I realised that I am worried. Very worried. I realised this as I read a blog by Andrew Collins, in response to a Guardian article about tax and welfare cuts. It was titled 'Fool Britannia'. Personally, I would have called it Cruel Britannia. And sadly, I feel that this is something, through personal experience, that I am fit to comment upon. I agree with Andrew Collins, and I have personal experiences to add too.
I have heard Cameron say as recently as last week that the hard working will be rewarded. And so you would hope they would be. However, what if you were hard working, and now through no fault of your own, you find you are not able to work at all? What then? Because benefits are being cut and they weren't that great to start with. Cruel Britannia indeed, and it's about to hit us all square in the face.
What makes a country Great, is the way it treats and respects it's elderly, disabled and vulnerable. Well, I'm more than sad to say we live in britain. That's right. No great. And with a little b. And this effects us all. Because, during your life, you will become one or the other.

In 2007 I was training to be a midwife, which I adored. I was single, and getting divorced from a Bad Man, raising four girls, going to the gym and having a very busy social life. And not to mention running a home. Life was full, and I was living it, right into it's corners.

In May 2008 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. And HALT.
Life as I knew it turned upside down. And I found myself in a world where you have to fight for the things that you do not want, but need. My wheelchair for example. Apparently, I couldn't have it because I couldn't use it in my house. Sorry for living in a too small house. An interesting way to penalise people. At home I get around by leaning on walls, door frames and furniture. What if I need to go out? What then?
You find you no longer have a voice, and that other people 'know best' They never do,and never will, especially if they see fit to not include you in your own care and own choices. So anyway, I won the wheelchair war, but I don't consider that a victory. I cried when I took that delivery. And not with happiness.

I also need a downstairs bedroom and bathroom, and the access sorting. 5 steps into my home is not compatible with wheelchair days/weeks/months. Then I'm housebound. And I'm in the longest. bloodiest fight ever over all that. And yes, like I said, I have been divorced.
It also emerged that I have rapidly evolving MS, which is why I now, not even 5 years after diagnosis, and for the last year, I find myself on two crutches or in a wheelchair when I go out. Which is a rare occurrence. As a country we have not evolved beyond adding more disabled parking spaces. The shops are still unwelcoming on the whole. And as for some of the people that work in them, well,they would appear to hold the belief that if you can't walk, you can't talk. "Does she have sugar in her tea?" This question aimed at your bipedal companion.
Laughable isn't it? Well, not from where I'm sitting. Welcome to britain.


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    1. Having been that 'bipedal companion' it still amazes me that the general public behave that way. And how shopping centers make ramps etc available but then there is no way of navigating through the stores due to all the floor space being taken up by displays of clothes. Another delight is when disabled spaces have a lowered curb by them, however the curb is still too high for a wheelchair user to push themselves over unaided.. ridiculous. Or when disabled toilets are used as extra storage by shops which then mean that its impossible to turn around in them sufficiently when in a chair.

  2. This evokes 3 distinct emotions in me. Firstly, one of sadness. I was 25 in 1974 when I was diagnosed. I remember well meaning people saying to me: "you're still young, they're bound to come up with a cure soon". I expect people have said similar to you. Well, they didn't then and they still haven't.

    The other emotion is, surprisingly, optimism. Not for that elusive cure, but because things have been made better for me and others who have these wretched illnesses. In 1974, mobility allowance wasn't invented yet. It didn't happen until 1979. Because of folk who dug their heels in and insisted that such a thing should be, we got what was due to us, finally.

    But, like you, I feel depressed because of the up coming changes to the benefit system. PIP? Will we even qualify under tricky new guidelines? Jumping through hoops, it looks like it. Yes!