Welcome back to another Mobility Monday.
Housing is a real issue for disabled people. Private properties are hard to come by and often unsuitable. Suitable council properties are like gold dust and come with other complications. It’s a topic at the forefront of my mind right now as even though I love the rented property we’re lucky enough to live in, it really isn’t suitable for my needs anymore and hasn’t been for a long time. This was made abundantly clear over the weekend when our high rise block of flats suffered another localised power cut to shared amenities. This meant we lost communal lights, our internet connection, our internal ventilation fans and the use of both lifts. A resident was also trapped inside one of the lifts for a short period, as it shut down due to the power outage with him inside.
This has happened numerous times before but I’ve always been lucky enough to be indoors, the only real inconvenience being I can physically not leave the building until the lifts are fixed. This time though, I was outside. I had actually just done a big weekly food shop and had with me 8 rather large bags of shopping, along with my family. I found myself stuck on the ground floor, needing to get myself and my wheelchair to the third floor. Not ideal.
I will just make the point that I am an ambulatory wheelchair user, so I can ‘walk’. There are ways around these situations for me thankfully. If I were not, this would be an even harder situation of course. I understand so many people would have it worse than me but I can only go by my own experiences, and for me, this feels super tough and isolating.
Thanks to the amazing lightweight frame of the Lith-Tech Smart Chair 1XL, my husband and dad managed to carry the wheelchair up to the third floor after they had got all the shopping up, while I dragged myself up each flight with my crutches. This was still a struggle as no wheelchair is going to be easy to lug up all of those flights of stairs but it was doable. If I had been using my NHS wheelchair I would have had to have left it unattended downstairs until the lifts were fixed. Not so much of a big deal you may think but sometimes the lifts have been out of action for over three days at a time. Not only does this leave me vulnerable indoors where I need my ‘chair but it would also leave the wheelchair open to theft. Sadly, I would have to consider this as no matter how safe a residents block feels, you just never know. I am so thankful my S-C 1XL was able to be transported safely home but climbing motions and stairs are really hard for me. On top of that, my heart was going into overdrive having my body unexpectedly and energetically upright. It did not make a good combination for my health.
I’ve been left with extra back and hip pain this weekend, on top of an unexpected migraine, which has really gotten me down. Living with chronic pain is relentless enough in itself but when you are forced into a situation due to accessibility that you know will exacerbate that pain to levels where you struggle to sleep… struggle to even catch a moment that it doesn’t sit festering in your brain, yet still have life and family responsibilities, it’s a real difficult hurdle to get over. It’s sometimes suffocating knowing I’m dependent on people and that my home isn’t a reliable place for me, yet I have no other options at the moment (I have researched, deeply) unless we get really lucky with a lottery win! Most of my posts here are about trying to bring positivity to disability but sometimes it really sucks and it’s OK to speak that truth.
I hope next week’s post will be a bit happier, for now I’m off to rest a bit.
EDIT: The lifts have been out almost all of today, too. I am lucky enough not to need to leave the house today. I really hope no one was stuck in either lift this time or left in the position I was yesterday.