Apparently I probably could have been claiming at least the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance for the past few years. Incidents like this mean that I'm definitely entitled to it now, provided I manage to fill the form in properly. I've downloaded an enormous pack of Acrobat documents which tell you how to. Blah. It hardly seems worth going through hours of effort and grief for £16 per week, but then that would pay for the non-prescription stuff I need. (Can you believe you can't get lactase enzyme on the NHS? Avoiding dairy is all very well, but half my meds contain enough lactose to make me ill!). And if my health falls apart any more, it's better than a poke in the eye. Maaaybe.
Trying to work out what else I might be entitled to, but it's all very confusing.
Becoming quite distressed by the logistics of using a wheelchair all or part of the time. I've been working out how I'd get to work, for instance. There's a ramp up to platform 3 of Kingston station, which would deal with most of the problem, and I can actually walk, so could get myself onto the train - but how would I lift the chair up? Even the lightest wheelchairs are in the 10kg range, which is significantly more than I can lift at the moment. Wheelchair ramps exist, but you have to arrange help a minimum of 24 hours before travelling, and I expect people are strongly discouraged from wanting that help on a commuter service. Then going home again - platform 2 has stairs and a stairlift but the stairlift is kept locked up to prevent vandalism, so it would be no use. I guess with someone to carry the chair I could walk down the stairs, but argh - that's the whole problem, everything associated with trying to lead a relatively normal life involves other people. Right now I'm managing by getting other people to do everything outside the house, but it's driving me mad - for my own mental health I need to get out tomorrow. However, I am not actually certain that I could get as far as, say, Starbucks, which is the nearest place to here where I could sit down for any length of time (There are a few walls between here and there which I could perch on for a few minutes - I think I will have to become acquainted with them over the next few weeks). I need to talk to my new boss at work about my health stuff, but am not sure where to start.
Let's see if I can break the many-headed problem down into simple stages:
- I have been dealing with crappy health stuff for a large number of years.
- When something new arises, I moan about it incessantly for a few weeks/months, then intermittently for a few more weeks/months, then just get on with it, learning a way to adapt.
- However, I've been adapting for so long that I've forgotten what's normal - what is normal for most people.
- Moreover, I've been adapting for so long that I've also forgotten what many of my adaptions are - they've become "just the way I do it" rather than "the way I do it to prevent problem X".
- So when a new health problem turns up that affects one of my adaptions, I don't know what to do: because the only thing I remember is what's normal for me. And suddenly that normal has moved.
- I have in my head definitions of a "good" day and a "bad" day, and with this whatever-it-is flaring up, suddenly my best days are what I'd previously have considered bad days. Trying to remap mental territory is never much fun.
Don't think I'm moaning in livejournal instead of getting useful advice - I fully intend to speak to people who know what they're talking about, as a matter of urgency. But it's 5am, and no one will be in their offices, and I need to vent and collect my thoughts.
And I managed to burn myself on a baking tray again :(