Two stories, one theme: Disability

Two disability stories were prominent on BBC Breafast this morning. One, concerned with the creation of disability; strokes occurring in people under 65, all because BCC’s Andrew Marr has had a stroke; and the other that there has been no noticeable take up by disabled people in Paralympic sport after the games. Neither, perhaps is a surprise. 

Discussing Disability: Strokes

Firstly, strokes in people under 65. A dear friend has recently had a stroke, and her Facebook updates continue to amaze me, make me laugh, or make me write something in empathy or encouragement. What stokes have in common with Cerebral Palsy (CP) which I have, is that both result from damage to the brain, meaning that each person is affected differently depending which part or parts of the brain are damaged. This why discerning if people are ‘disabled enough’ to claim benefits or not. It is also why it is hard to gauge how well people ‘recover’, or regain ‘normal’ functioning from strokes. If you would like to read more on why healthy people have strokes, the Beeb have written a feature about it

Disability Sport and the Paralympics: what legacy?

The second story is concerned with disability sport in this post Paralympics era, and comes as no surprise at all to me. Nine in ten clubs saw no noticeable take up in their sport after the Paralympics.The reasons for this are many  and varied. The first comes from disabled people themselves, as pointed out in the BBC’s coverage; you are half as like to participate in sport at all if you are disabled, and if you can find a club near you which can meet you access needs you still need to be able to afford to get there, and have a way of getting there in the first place. Given the squeeze on people’s finances in general, and for disabled people in particular due to benefit ‘reform’, in my opinion this will become more and more unlikely. Of course, the head honchos disagree in terms of take up of participation as Tim Hollingworth argued on BCC Breakfast this morning that due to the success of Paralympics GB’s ‘Parasport’ and specific programs designed to ‘fast-track people to elite level disability sport. He also says that there have been clubs setting up from scratch in the post popular sports such as wheelchair rugby; However, this seems to be masking the real picture. I have pointed out before how the main men are hiding under the success of the games themselves. If you’d like to hear more on legacy, here’s an audio from Discuss winner, John Harris.

At a personal level, why do I not take part in more sport?

I go horse-riding once a week at best, thanks to the generosity of a local social enterprise, and absolutely love it, even in rain or the freezing. I have blogged about the horses before. However. to go horse-riding more often, I would have to go all the way to Middleton, to specialist Riding for the Disabled provision. They have much better facilities, according to someone I met by chance at the social enterprise’s last open day. However, as I cannot afford the taxi fares to get there, and would not have the care time nor the drivers for a notability vehicle. I have no way of getting there, or support while i am there, if anything was to happen to The Bag. 

The second sport I participate in is more mainstream. I have a gym membership that I rarely use. Some of the time this is simply because there are other things to do with my time. The other reason is that I often do not have the energy and therefore need to decide when I realy am to tired and whether I could manage it if I were pushed. I am not able to manage weights machines and things like that, more along the lines of gentle exercise  sometimes swimming, using three machines in the gym, and the toning chairs. However, I am unable to get there on my own because I cannot manage my manual chair; and there are so many difficulties with transport with my electric wheelchair. I am also unable to transfer safely onto machines in the gym without help, and this is often also true for the toning chairs as well.

Make like a Paralympian…






Today is officially a GOOD day!

It’s the first day I’ve been able to say that since the day my brother married his lovely wife on the 17th August, so what, 3 weeks ago? Even then, I was in pain and on the drug which I cannot name, so wasn’t feeling fabulous, though I had taken the lowest dose I could cope with. Of course I paid for that a couple of days later, and since then, I haven’t really got on top of the pain, been able to stop taking the painkiller, or been used to taking the painkiller. 

Armchair spectator

Today though, as I was watching the swimming on the TV, in this case the 15 yr old paralympic swimming star Josef Craig smash the world record for the men’s S7 400 meters free, and his team-mate Jonathan Fox look at though he was about to try to better it, but think better of it, and then speed up again, like..  well like something very fast when he realised his Russian? competitor had caught him, raced him to the wall and beat him by something like one 100th of a second. I realised I did actually feel pretty good (i.e. awake!) and relatively pain free, I decided then I was going to make like a Paralympian and go for a swim! I have confess, I cannot remember the last time I went swimming. It has to be… oh least since Wendy stopped being my PA, so that would mean I haven’t gone swimming at all this year! My carer arrived right about then, but to his credit (is he carer A?! he didn’t flinch and helped me pack everything and taxi it to the pool. The only question he asked had to do with whether I had the energy to walk with my Zimmer from the taxi, to the lift, the changing room, the pool, swim, change and do it all over again!! I boldly said I wanted to try, so off we went! 


Make like a Paralympian…

The first couple of lengths I did, my body had forgotten what to do. It was the strangest feeling. I made to do the movements of an adapted breast stroke, (more or less arms only) and then adapted front crawl and nearly drowned on the way back. Oh dear, great start. I think in all I managed about 14 lengths in half an hour, with at least one full five minute break in there. It’only a 20metre pool so your talking 280metres in 30 minutes…!! When I did some swimming competitions in my late teens, I was an S4, but my coach was querying S3, I reckon I’d be an S3 now!I Looking at LEXI decoder, I’m an S3. Anyway, none of that is relevant and was just for my own amusement. It gives you some understanding of my level of disability.  


Wednesday wonderings…

II showered and changed without much fuss, and made my way back through the building to wait for the taxi. Not entirely without incident though, my carer stepped neaty out of the lift, only for it to send me back down to the gym again! I made my way back up, and this time had the sense to put my zimmer just in front of the sensor so I had time.  have no idea how on earth I used to manage to do all of that carry on without a carer. It used to take me hours though, then I would be lucky if I made it as far as the car park before some kindly soul would stop and tell me I looked shattered, and was I okay. So I’d smile I say, yes of course, I get my own stubborn way home! how vulnerable was I then? 😦 


Once I made it home, I shot off down to cash machine to draw out enough money so Carer A could whizz their way to guisley to collect my repaired manual chair from B and w mobility on the other side of Guisely. Do any Leeds based friends know of anywhere nearer that will repair and service chairs? Pehaps for an even slightly more economical price? I realise these things are expensive anyway. The kind of costs that those before me fought so hard for Disability Living Allowance to pay for costs such as these. Oh what will happen when we have Pip? return. This motning, I got a delivery of medical appliances, two massive boxes worth which carer A put in the cupboard for me while I went to the cash-spitting machine.


Just as I retuned another curier arrived with more medical supplies, this time a huge stock of my appliance and the various accompaniments for the tummy bag, which should last me, oh, 6 weeks at best, a month realstically.. Carer A arrived bavck in a little under an hour, with chair this time. Just enough time to put all the medical supplies away. Carer B very kindly put everything in it’s on place complete with labels a few months ago, which has made the world of difference. Carer A trooped out to the mini-recycling centre with I don’t know how many trees worth of card. He’d more than earned his megre wages by this point, but the four hours was up anyhow, leaving me just enough time to finish this before my ‘hungry’ joes  lasagna is ready! Off to eat before I have to collect prescriptions and medication..It never ends….!!

I'm All Olympic-ed up, Go TeamGB

I love plinky… cause sometimes it asks great questions and offers great prompts to help me write one post every day. Sometimes though, it asks stupid questions like “Will you watch the Olympics”, on day 10 of said Olympics. I’ve been watching avidly since the opening ceremony, sometimes admittedly just because it’s more interesting to watch than the usual daytime telly fluff, but other times I am completely absorbed in the TV, like yesterday during the Murray/Fedderer Gold Medal Match, or swimming, gymnastics, equestrian. That said, I can’t wait for the Paralymics, and quite a few friends have said the same. I don’t want to say too much more here, as I shall say more here in the coming days and possibly on The Big Bible Project blog. For now, of course I shall continue to watch the Olympics in my Olympic-ed up flat, no matter how shoddy the BBC coverage is, or how many ‘highlights’ they show. (endless repeats, however you dress them up!) Go Team GB you are amazing!!

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