Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Twin Streams

If you watched Doctor Who this weekend, in the UK, you will have seen two Amy Ponds. One 36 years older than the other. The older one has to help rescue her younger self and by doing so, eliminate herself from existence. She didn't want to do it because doing so, would invalidate all she had accomplished and all that she had suffered and learnt.

This is one those impossible moral quandaries that can be discussed eternally, where the damaged profess that they wouldn't change the past, because without it they wouldn't be the person they are today. I agree that if I hadn't got ill I would probably be a different person, but I certainly don't think that person would be someone that I wouldn't want to be.

This weekend I was at a party. It was the 2nd birthday of a very sweet young man. I was surrounded by lively children and their parents. I looked at all these people who I met just before I got ill. They were all impulsive types, who travelled the world and partied hard, and now they are mostly parents who have laid their reckless activities more or less to rest.

Over the last 11 years I watched these wild friends travel and change and grow. I watched them start to take their careers seriously, buy houses and get married. I watched them get pets and then decide to have kids. I watched them mature and change, and they didn't have to endure 10 years of unending pain to do it. Life took care of it. They got older and wiser and had fun along the way. I can look at my friends and see who I would probably be, without all my suffering. I would be different, but not by much, and I wouldn't have had to rattle with drugs to get there.

So when older Amy has to choose between an existence of suffering or to have never lived that life, I would tell her, "save your young self and choose the path of less pain. Just because it's easier, doesn't mean it is wrong".

But in life we don't get to chose which path we take with the benefit of hindsight. We just take each choice as it presents itself. In real life we don't get to see the future consequences of each decision we make. That is the real reason we say we wouldn't change a thing, because it is impossible. I can't wish for something that might have been, because I will never have that. To waste my energy and sanity longing for normality, is not something I would do. So maybe that is what we mean, us damaged and battered people, when we say we wouldn't change a thing. Maybe what we really mean is that we accept we cannot change a thing and that we are just going to take each choice as it appears and face the consequences of those choices.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I got me some love!

I would like to thank Tink from Master of a Thousand Things, for sharing the love in her recent post.  She nominated this blog for the Liebster Award.  The Liebster Blog Award is all about helping blogs that have less than 200 followers extend their readership.  It is about promoting your fellow blogger by recommending them to your readership and vice versa.  If you like a blog, it is likely that you will like what the author likes and therefore a recommendation will mean that much more.

I have received this award before, but it was for my other blog, Stitched Together.  In some ways the award for this new blog means that much more.  This blog was quite hard for me to start, but I'm so glad I did. 

I didn't used to talk much about how my physical condition directly affected my life as I wanted to spend my time with the people I care about, enjoying myself and not talking about painful and hard subjects.  I have come to realise that it is only because people, like myself, don't want to spoil the nice moments they get, that those with good health don't know about the realities of life with poor health.  I decided that if I stayed silent, then the Government wins.  They can smile and slash our income and no one will object because they don't understand the effect it will have on the lives of all the sick people.  I have started telling people about those realities and I started this blog.  I don't want to be a health and politics bore, but these are important times that we are living in.  I don't want to be someone who sits back and lets others fight on my behalf.

If the current Government has it's way, during the next few years we won't have a working NHS, we won't have adequate social care, and the rich will be rubbing their hands together with glee because their taxes haven't gone up, to pay off the deficit that was caused by bailing out the greedy banking sector, and it's open season on all those lucrative Government contracts.

I can't stand idly by and watch the coalition demolish this country, that may not have always got it right, but certainly tried to.  My blog is my small way of joining the fight to enlighten the people who believe the "Scounger" headlines and the grossly misleading statistics released by the DWP.

Part of receiving the Liebster Blog award is sharing the love, by linking back to the person who nominated you and nominating another 5 blogs with less than 200 followers.

Here are my 5:

My first recommendation is HS and Me.  This is a new blog set up by A Girl in Winter.  I have read A Girl in Winter's blog pretty much since I started blogging.  She is a fellow lover of books and craft addict.  I didn't realise until earlier this year that she was also someone who struggled with health issues.  HS and Me, is her new blog about her health, that is very interesting and honest.

Another fellow crafting blogger Anniebead, has also recently set up her health blog about Living with Arthritis.  Both of these first two recommendations introduced me to new conditions.  I think that there are so many illnesses that are not publicised, and therefore people don't know that they have them, or what to do about them, so I encourage you to check them out, if only to learn something new.

Helen from Humanity before Hatred is another person trying to spread information and honesty about life without perfect health.  Helen is also a cartoonist of great talent!

Another fellow British angry and sick person, Steven from Tentacles of Doom, shares my passion for stopping the seemingly inevitable march of the current Government into a almost completely capitalist state, where the ill, the old and poor are shunted off the cliffs of Dover and pointed towards France. (oops sorry did that sound bitter??)  Steven's blog is full of details and quotes and links to other sources to back up the arguments that he makes.

The Broken of Britain blog just tips over the 200 followers mark, but I have included it anway, because I wanted all my recommendations to be about promoting the awareness of the realities of living with sickness or disability in Britain today.  There are many people who contribute to this blog, and it was one of the first places I became aware of the scale of the battle we are fighting.  It was this blog that told me about the 20% cuts being made to the benefits paid to the people with the worst health.  It was here that I heard about the new NHS bill that removes the obligation for the UK to actually HAVE an NHS, and it was here that I learned that I wasn't alone in being angry and frustrated with the way we are being treated, so that is why I have snuck this one in!

So once again, thank you Tink, for promoting my little blog.  I greatly appreciate it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

ESA Part 2

As I expected, I got a phone call from ATOS Healthcare asking me to come in for an assessment.  On my application form I listed the one week I would NOT be available for an appointment, and the date suggested for my appointment was guess what? Yes, right in the middle of that week!  What I pointed this out, an apology was made by the caller saying "oh yes, I hadn't read that".  I have to ask if this is the attitude about the rest of the form.

Another date was suggested, for the Tuesday after I get back from my holiday.  I apologised and said there was no way I would be in any kind of fit state to go anywhere for about a week after I get back - as when I go away with my other half, I pay quite a high physical price for my mental and emotional relaxation.  In the end we settled on the day before we leave.  My other half already had taken the day off work, so he won't have to request more holiday to help me get there.  At least I know that the building is wheelchair accessible, unlike some ATOS Healthcare Assessment Centres.

I'm glad that the assessment is coming before the holiday as I think if it was afterwards I would have spent the whole time I was supposed to be relaxing, actually worrying myself sick(er).

One thing that annoys me, is that at no point in all the paperwork and phone calls was I told I could ask for the assessment to be done in my own home.  I only knew this was a possibility because my friend was assessed for DLA many years ago, and she was able to have her assessment done at home.  When I was phoned by ATOS to tell me that ESA application form was being sent to me, I checked to see if I could have the assessment at home and I was told I could request that.  What I want to know is why are we not told that in writing and why did I have ask if it were possible?  Personally I don't want ATOS in my home.  My home is my refuge from the Government, ATOS, the NHS and the ilk.  Fortunately, I have a partner who is willing to transport me via car then wheelchair to my appointment, even if it had meant taking an extra day off work, in order to satisfy that need.  What I want to know is why is this option not publicised more?  I know that some people worry themselves sick about getting themselves to assessments and causing themselves more pain than necessary while they wait to be seen.  I have to wonder if it is because ATOS think the "really sick ones" will request a home visit, not caring that the really sick ones don't know it's an option and so put themselves through hell and back to go to an appointment.

I'll let you know how the assessment goes.