Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Thank God for knitting

I wasn't going to blog about this, because it's almost too painful a subject - but when I win through (please note: 'when', not 'if' :) ), I won't be able to celebrate if my faithful readers (both of them!) don't know what's been happening.

I have three visits a day from my carer for meals, and a further call every morning to give me a shower. Quite apart from needing one as everyone else does, I also have very fragile skin, which doesn't need much encouragement to break down, so it has to be washed daily. As long as it is, I have no problems. If it isn't, I get painful breaks in my skin, and leg ulcers.

To cut a long story short, Social Services has reviewed my care package and decided that I only need a shower once a week. The rest of the week I can just be washed down - like an old car, or the front step, perhaps! They won't allocate any time for the washing or showering to be done, either - it has to be fitted into my already rushed breakfast call. I have mental images of my sitting in the shower (I have a walk-in shower and shower chair) with my bowl of porridge, trying to eat while Jacky, my lovely carer, washes the bits she can reach!

If I insist that I need more showers than this, the District Nurse will have to give them. Of course, she has plenty of time to do this, not to mention it being an ideal use for her expertise and qualifications. Not that Jacky doesn't have plenty of those - but her job is personal care, and the District Nurse's job is performing medical procedures!

The ill-informed and unsympathetic woman who conducted the review also let slip that this was nothing to do with my needs, and all to do with money. And when I pointed out that 'normal' people had showers every day as a matter of course, she informed me that my circumstances were different, and that I could only compare myself with other Social Services' clients.

I think that was when I accused her of viewing me as a second-class citizen....

So. I am now unable to sleep, unable to eat, and the proud possessor of a banging stress headache. When I try to explain all this to people, I end up in tears of frustration. But I will not give in.

I have the District Nurse calling tomorrow, and the addresses of the overall Director of Social Services, as well as the Director of Adult Services, the section under whose dubious care I come. Oh, and the phone number of the Disability Discrimination Helpline!

I will not be treated like some kind of sub-human with different needs from everyone else. I just hope my health holds out while I fight.

As for today's heading - well, it's the only thing I can concentrate on at present, and the only thing that can calm me down when I start to get wound up. This is not a hobby. This is a lifeline.

1 comment:

vickitheknitwit said...

Heather, that is abysmal! They have no right to decide anyone doesn't need a daily shower. I'm so sorry you have been upset by this stupidity and hope it doesn't have too many knock on effects healthwise. Surely your doctor will support your need for daily showers?
I'm horrified.
Love & prayers,