STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.
WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility.
First contact: on every hospital admittance – and I had a lot - an OT would turn up with a pile of paperwork to be completed – the same forms each time. The idea was to ensure that my home environment was ‘safe’ for me to return to.
Errr , isn’t that my decision? I am an adult of sound mind, yes? OK, this is a new experience for me and, yes, a bit of advice would be welcome BUT this is a hospital not a prison, no? Not to their mind! If they were not satisfied, they would not ‘sign off’ my release.
I found this all very odd. I had naively assumed that the health service was just that – a service that I could choose to use or not. I found the assumption of responsibility for my welfare, without reference to me, absolutely bizarre and very unwelcome. Naturally, I made my views clear.
Second contact: some months into 1998, an OT from social services came to see me at home to ascertain my ‘care package’ requirements. She was thrilled to discover that we had income. This meant that we would be paying for all my needs. Fantastic for her!
She looked around our home and declared my bathroom ‘unsafe’. Her recommendation? Bed baths. On a long-term basis? Yes. She had to be joking? Not at all. Many disabled people manage with just bed baths. I laughed and asked, ‘why on earth would they do that?’ It was no laughing matter. If an OT considered a bathroom unsafe and there was no money available, there would be no bathroom. Grants might be available but not for people like me…too much income. Any adaptations I might need, I would have to finance. She made other recommendations - all ugly, excessive and expensive.
We politely declined most suggestions as my consultant was still advising us to give it more time. I was provided with a list of care agencies to arrange my own care and a hoist. Some weeks later, I received my care plan. It said:
'Client is self funded. One mobile hoist provided.'