Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In which I discover that health and safety only matters in the workplace
I was walking through the park, minding my own business, as you do, when all of a sudden my world turned up side down. Literally. I'd put my foot on the side of a pavement pothole, there was a sickening crunch and my ankle turned right over. So did I, and a spilt second letter I found myself staring up at the sky with a searing pain in my ankle.
And what was my first thought? How on earth am I going to manage Smiley and the hoist?
I may have made some kind of unhappy sound because a face blocked out the sky and asked if I was alright, and luckily I had the sense to say 'no'. My Good Samaritan helped me to my feet, I mumbled a brief thank you and he left me clinging onto the railings...
I wish I could've been a wee bit flirty or something - it could've been the start of beautiful friendship, who knows?
Anyway, I was able to hobble home, dig out the crutches and crash on the sofa with an ice-pack. My Facebook friends rolled round and offered help with cooking, cleaning and shopping.
Once I'd got over the initial shock I got on the phone, because I assumed that despite the cutbacks there would be some help in a crisis like this.
Less than 10 years ago I could have rung Smiley's school - still part residential then - and asked them to keep her overnight. I rang the new service provider and I was offered a respite cancellation for this Thursday, which I have taken, but nothing for the day I needed it. Not even advice as to where I could get help.
Or I could've spoken to the district nurse - they are always good in a crisis. Yesterday I was not allowed to speak with her without a referral from my GP. I organised this by fax, but did not get a phone call until 24 hours later. When she rang, she was very helpful and told me what I should have done. No-one told me on the day.
So back to Monday afternoon. It was me, a pair of crutches and a severely disabled girl. Now everything did get done, with the help of my other kids, but there were a few scary moments, and I did fall over Smiley once, but she wasn't hurt.
As a special needs mum I expect to face challenges, but not that our lives will be unsafe or humiliating - you want to try crawling on the floor pulling your daughter inch by inch on a mat from the bathroom to her bedroom, because it's the only way you can manage?
Luckily it wasn't a bad sprain and I was able to hobble around without the crutches the next day.
But I still feel let down. And then a friend in the know explained that health and safety only matters in the workplace, not in the home, even if you're a carer.