Saturday, March 26, 2011

slow progress

I was hoping to be able to bounce in here with a post saying that, after all the things which went wrong on Wednesday, everything was back on track and totally fluffy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that's not the case. But things are slowly and steadily turning back to positive.

On Thursday morning I got a lift to Shopmobility, who are the nearest vendors trained and approved to carry out work on e-motion wheels. They took the tyre off and showed me the state of the inner-tube (I felt quite embarrassed) and they've ordered in new ones for me. Several friends encouraged me to try bike shops, or order online and do my own inner-tube replacements, but I'm not that keen to invalidate the warranty and insurance just to see if I can save £2 or get it done a day sooner - besides, Shopmobility schemes are worth supporting. I should be whizzing around again some time next week.

A big thing that went well is that I managed to get some affordable coloured envelopes online (from Ideal Envelopes, if anyone's wondering). I ordered them late Wednesday night, they arrived on Friday morning. I spent much of Friday writing out addresses in my Very Best Good Handwriting, and by the time Steve and I went to bed, all but one of them (waiting on a new address) was stamped, sealed, and ready to go. There was a little pang of frustration when I remembered I couldn't just trundle out to the post office with Steve (he's hurt his back and can't push the manual wheelchair either) but instead we drove around to several different post offices until we found one with wobbling-distance parking outside. UK envelopes in the box, overseas envelopes weighed and stamped for airmail by the post office clerk, and then as we went back to the car, a Royal Mail van pulled up to collect. So hopefully soon we'll start getting RSVPs!

Meanwhile, friends on Twitter and on other forums have provided a number of balloon company recommendations, so I've been phoning and emailing to try and get more quotes, and have booked an appointment to see one company next week. Hopefully I'll get something sorted out fairly soon and then everything weddingy will be right back on schedule.

Unfortunately I'm having the sort of day where being a passenger on a drive to a post office this morning wore me right out for the day - I spent most of the afternoon asleep and I'm still in bed typing this. It is therefore with a slight feeling of shame and a huge amount of gratitude that I say thank you to the protesters who marched in London today, including several of the Where's The Benefit posse. I only hope that a difference can still be made. As DavidG put it:
It’s quite simple, Mr. Milliband, we want an alternative strategy. If cuts must be made, we don’t want them to be targeted at those least able to bear them. And that is where the Labour Party is failing us. It was a Labour government that introduced ESA and ATOS screening, it was the Labour government that stood hand in hand with the Heil, the Scum and the Vexpress in demonising those of us on IB and ESA as fraudulent scroungers and under your leadership it is the Labour Party in opposition that is still supporting those policies.

People who voted for the Conservatives knew exactly what kind of ideology they were voting for and are probably very pleased about the cuts that are being made to services for poor people, disabled people, disadvantaged people, young people, and People Who Simply Aren't Our Sort Of People, but let's not pretend that Labour were or would be any better. Our political system is supposed to provide a formal means of opposition within the political system and I think the biggest motivating factor in all these protests is that meaningful opposition, carried out on our behalf by those who are supposed to represent us, is failing to take place as MPs scramble for a slice of the power pie and focus on relaxing the rules and increasing the spend on their own benefits.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stuff going wrong

As you can probably tell from the sparse posting, I'm not doing amazingly well at the moment.

Despite that, today was a gloriously sunny day, and I went into town fully intending to make the most of it. I had a lovely picnic lunch by the river in the park, then I went into town, planning to drop in on the shop that we had booked to do our balloon decorations for the wedding, because I figured they were a likely candidate to have some other party supplies I wanted.

They didn't.

I know they didn't, because when I rolled up to the shop, there was a big "To Let" sign over the door, and the windows were soaped over, and when I found a gap to squint through, the shop was completely empty apart from a couple of cardboard boxes. Their website had been taken offline, and their phone number just rang and rang and rang.

I can only assume they've gone bust. It's late March. The wedding is in May. I wonder if or when they were going to tell me.

So, if anyone can recommend a balloon decoration firm in the Warwickshire/West Midlands area, reasonably priced, who might still have availability for a Saturday in May, that would be helpful. Yes, I can JFGI, but I thought I'd ask for personal recommendations first.

I had a semi-fruitful search for the additional party supplies I was looking for - as in, I found some, but they were quite a bit more expensive than I could justify. Scratch that idea.

I got a cup of tea, which helped, and then started to make my way back to the other end of town to be picked up, and that was when I realised that one of my Awesome Wheels had a flat. Happily, since I was being picked up anyway, I was rescued within the hour - unhappily it's a real flat, pump it up and you can hear the air hissing out, rather than just a bit of a drop in pressure. Tomorrow I'm off to see the chaps at Leamington Shopmobility to find out how much it will cost to sort out.

I'm trying to focus on the positive - I had my lunch in the sun by the river, I did get rescued, Shopmobility will be able to get me mobile again one way or the other, and at least I found out about the balloon place now rather than in six weeks' time - but it does feel like it's been rather a crappy day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Census 2011

About a week ago, the 2011 UK Census dropped through our door along with more or less every other door in the country.

The instructions on the front require people to fill in the questionnaire on or as soon as possible after 27th March 2011.

This is probably why the letters page of the Times on the 9th March carried indignant missives from people complaining that they'd filled in the form already and attempted to post it back but couldn't fit it in the postbox (I'd link but it was a paper copy of the Times that I'd picked up in a McDonalds in Norwich). I think that if we applied DWP form-filling rules and charged every household who couldn't follow that instruction £50, we'd have a chunk off the deficit in no time or at least be able to fund an adult education programme in English Reading and Comprehension.

The other bit which makes me smile is the indignation about a thirty-two page form!!!!! which is considered by many members of 'alarm clock Britain' to be an astonishing amount of difficult and time consuming paperwork, while us filthy disableds are going "only 32 pages, sweet!"

Better yet, once you're past the opening questions about "how many people live here" and "list their names", there's only four pages per person and most of that is tick boxes. I can't imagine it taking anyone more than five minutes unless they live in a house full of people who are unable to fill out the form on their own behalf, in which case we'll call it half an hour but that includes finding a biro that works.

Finally, I'd like to encourage all my readers to take the advice of the excellent @Scaryduck on the thorny issue of Question 17.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brave vs Stupid

IF you have a painful injury or condition which manifests itself by way of inflammation...

... and IF you see a doctor and the doctor refers you to physiotherapy and advises you to take ibuprofen (a well-used anti-inflammatory medication) while waiting for the physiotherapy appointment.

Take the freaking ibuprofen already.

It is not brave to struggle along without medication.
You will not get a Brave Little Soldier prize for enduring unnecessary pain.
Pain =/= moral superiority.

If you are worried that taking ibuprofen will "mask the pain" and that this will mean you do more than you should and cause yourself more damage... stop when you think it's sensible, rather than waiting until you are experiencing "oh gosh I'm damaging myself further" levels of pain.
It's a bit like how in order to wake up and function at 7am, you go to bed at 11pm, even though you could stay up longer. You don't insist on waiting until you physically cannot keep your eyes open any more or on going without sleep altogether because you think sleep will "mask" your tiredness.

Yes, pain is the body's alarm system to tell you something's not right.
You've acted on that warning by seeing the doctor and getting the physio referral. Enduring further pain is like leaving a burglar alarm blaring even after the thieves have left the scene and the police are on their way - upsetting and pointless.

It is not clever to refuse to even try your doctor's suggestion.
If you really feel you must not and will not take the medication the doctor tells you to, it is ridiculous to neglect to tell your doctor that you are ignoring his/her advice.

Yes, the over-the-counter box says that if symptoms persist you should consult your doctor for proper medical advice.
You already consulted your doctor and were advised to take ibuprofen - that IS proper medical advice.

Yes, long-term use of NSAIDs including ibuprofen can lead to stomach problems.
No, a few weeks until your physiotherapy appointment does not count as "long term".

And finally, if you must be this much of an idiot, don't expect me to be impressed when you tell me!

I'm pretty certain that the person this refers to doesn't read this blog. But I really needed to get it off my chest, and it wasn't possible at the time.