Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Following on from my last post, I carried on in the bit-under-the-weather vein for a few days and met with repeated frustration on the balloon-quest and several other things I wanted to push forwards with. It wasn't a great week.

Nevertheless, some wonderfully good things happened - we started to get RSVPs from wedding guests, and Pip has got a decent job that actually uses his skills and qualifications, and Steve had a much-needed full weekend away with a friend. I was able to get quite a bit of rest in, and then on Tuesday, I just turned into an incredible luck magnet.

The first thing that happened on Tuesday, was that I managed to book a new balloon decoration firm.

The second wonderful thing happened - Shopmobility had received my innertubes and my wheels were fitted and ready to collect.

The third wonderful thing was that the ever-lovely Carie, ably assisted by the charming Miss Kitty, gave me a lift into town to collect the wheels. While we were about it we had a spot of lunch and cooed over lovely little baby-hats. This seems to me like a marvellous way to spend a lunchtime.

I should have bought a lottery ticket at that point, but I had to go home and recharge my batteries, physical and metaphorical, so that I would be able to thoroughly enjoy my trip to Naidex the next day.

My PA picked me up bright and early in the morning and we managed to get to the NEC with only one minor burst of getting lost (the NEC is so well signposted that several roundabouts actually have more than one exit marked as "NEC" which is generous, I'm sure, but ultimately not helpful for navigation purposes). My Blue Badge was checked and we were ushered through to the disabled parking hangar, and from there on in... it was weird. But in a good way.

I've never been to a crip-centric event before and suddenly there were these three huge halls full of companies wanting to sell me stuff. Not to prescribe like NHS/Social Services/AtW and other 'official' groups do, and not to find a way of adapting their existing product or service to find a halfway point like shops do. But to actually sell. It wasn't all or even mostly wheelchair users, but everything was accessible and there were enough of us that it felt entirely normal to be at seated height (usually I feel a bit like I'm trying to navigate a foreign world made up of steps and buttocks). I also saw at least one other person with the e-motion m15s, which was nice and made up for the man who perhaps didn't realise how loudly he was saying "f---ing show-off with fancy wheels grumblegrumble etc."

There's some wonderful inventions out there. A few of my favourites were:
  • A small phone, too small to be much use as a general phone, but that wasn't what it was for - it had just two buttons to be preprogrammed with emergency numbers and was small and light enough to be worn as a wristwatch (it also tells the time). Infinitely preferable to those emergency-button lanyards that reside uselessly on the bedside tables of elderly people up and down the country.

  • Adjustable height kitchen worktops, so that a prep space, sink, or hob can be raised or lowered at whim enabling one kitchen to be usable for multiple people with different needs in the same household - like a woman who wants to sit down and a man who's tall and dislikes having to stoop all the time.

  • SafeSpaces, which are basically like indoor tents. Designed with autistic kids in mind, they create a small, manageable, safe place for sleep and timeouts. They're soft, waterproof, wipe-clean, with low beds, and they're anchored to the floor 10 inches from the walls of the room so that the user can't hurt themselves. Inside, there's all sorts of sensory therapy stuff, and it was so soothing... I sort of wanted one myself!

Then there was all the tried-and-tested stuff - mobility scooters, wheelchairs, lifts, ramps - and I remember being thrilled to spot grab rails in a whole rainbow of colours rather than just boring clinical white/dark blue.

A number of Twitterers had been planning to go, and although due to the harsh realities of spooniedom some people couldn't make it, I was pleased to meet up with @GentleChaos and @FunkyFairy22 at lunchtime. My PA, although employed directly by me, has been involved with Social Services for several years, so we decided that she would go and say hello to a few familiar faces in the halls while the three of us chatted. It was marvellous, we thoroughly put the world to rights. It's been years since I met new "internet people", particularly on my own, and particularly meeting females, rather than being one of a couple of incidental females in a male-dominated group. I'd like to do it more often.

Unfortunately on the Thursday morning I woke up with no spoons (expected) and an absolutely stinking cold (wasn't quite prepared for that). Each is making the other that bit more unpleasant. However, once I've shifted the cold and can breathe through my nose again, we should be full steam ahead for the wedding!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

The adjustable height worktops have been around for quite a while - I think there were some in my halls at uni in 1998 (in the two or three 'accessible' flats - though the halls were on a hill 5 miles from the uni served only by ancient double decker buses...).

I also saw them in sheltered/close care flats a few years ago as part of my work.