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The Occupational Therapist and the Big Shirley Adventure

I had a visit from an occupational therapist at the city council. This happened a couple of times at my last house too. There, they couldn’t give me a ramp for the front door, because Kadek lived upstairs and that made it a communal entrance. Even though she wouldn’t have minded a ramp being there, regulations prevent government OTs from actually putting them in. I was given some portable channel ramps to make it easier to get my then-powerchair out the door, but I couldn’t put those down myself and so still couldn’t be independent with an assistance dog.

I did also get a toilet frame though, which I still find supportive to this day, and also a shower board, although unfortunately my new bath is too wide for it to stay up! So I just sit on the floor of the bath to shower, but it’s a bit painful climbing down there.

In this house I have the opposite situation; I have no upstairs neighbour now, but they don’t think there’s the room at the front of the house for a ramp that would be of the gradient they’re willing to provide. Plus, they insist on there being a flat platform on it, taking up extra room.

The regulations honestly annoy me because slightly steeper ramps would be fine for most people, but I also understand that they don’t want to be sued up the bum if a constituent has an accident on a ramp they installed.
We are completely free to have as steep of a ramp we like privately installed. It will just cost thousands of pounds.

The OT thought that a step lift might be an alternative at the front door; this page suggests they cost around £5,000.

That honestly seems like a bit of an overreaction for our front door when a slightly steeper ramp would do just fine. It also depends on us qualifying for the Disabled Facilities Grant, which seems like a bit of a nightmare to navigate. We have to contribute a certain amount to it, which can apparently be wayyyy more than the stuff would cost anyway, e.g. someone on Will’s wage of £22,000 annually could be asked to contribute £60,000. So much more than anything would ever cost to install!!!

Getting a stairlift is also dependent on the DFG. My butt is so bruised from shuffling up and down, I also hate just not being able to go upstairs at will and get something. I have to remember to bring things up at night if I will want to use them the next day before I go down, e.g. cleaning wipes or whatever.

This whole thing is a bit of a nightmare and it’s really holding up my Canine Partner’s application. I just want all this access stuff to end so I can get a dog and start living my life!

I also had a trustee meeting for the charity I run, which meant going all the way to a café bar in Shirley. Of course, I have just sold my powerchair Calpurnia, so Kadek had to push me in Percival, my manual chair, all the way! It was quite a journey, with a lot of hazardous potholes and ridiculously sloped pavements and kerbs, Kadek must be quite bruised as a result.

I tried to push myself for a while on the flatter areas but it’s really painful to do, especially across my collarbones and my neck. Why am I propelling with my neck?!

We had a good trustee meeting and a nice lunch. I got some photos of our pilot applicant dog, Max, picking up a dropped pen.

Contrary to what people may think, I am not going to use the charity to provide myself with assistance dogs. I am not well enough to go through training a dog from scratch again, I plan to use Canine Partners dogs for the rest of my life.

Kadek and I popped in to Lidl on the way back to grab some things that Will hasn’t managed to find during the weekly shop in Aldi. I was very tempted to buy the biggest bottle of shower gel I had ever seen, but getting it home would have been very nonsensical.

There was a man at the next checkout who was just solidly staring at me. I made eye contact with him three times and he didn’t even pretend to be looking at something else. If I was on my own I think that would have genuinely frightened me. What a weirdo.

Freya had an appointment to sign up to the new vets, I was planning to go to it but it was a bit of a logistical nightmare what with having a meeting, and Will not being able to push me home in Percival as well as hold Freya’s lead. So I just wrote notes for Will to take instead. We surprisingly had instant success with the things we needed as well! Back when we used the PDSA they would really drag their heels about stuff.

Freya has now been given a Seresto collar to replace the Scalibor ones she was using, because her second one just hasn’t been effective enough to protect her, and the previous spot-on treatments we went through also lost their effectiveness.

I also enquired about whether Zylkène would help with Freya’s general life anxieties (e.g. she can’t be left alone due to previous abandonment, is quite frantic with new people and especially dogs), and they gave us tablets to try for 10 days. I gave Freya her first one this morning. She accidentally bit my fingers while I gave it to her wrapped in ham! I don’t think dogs realise what weapons their own mouths are sometimes.
But yeah, she’s quite mellow at the moment, but would normally be on the sofa with me anyway. I guess we’ll see if she exhibits extra calmness in other situations.

The tablets sound quite good though, I wonder why there aren’t any for humans!

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