There have been some worrying stories in the news today about the effects of cuts to Social Services budgets. I can only assume that said cuts also apply to the IQ of the staff. I am generally the first to stick up for social workers, mainly because I used to be one albeit in youth offending, but today I encountered the epitome of reading from a script and not bloody listening.
I’d made a self referral to Adult Social Services for some practical assistance around the house. My hopes were that they could advise on ramps in the house and possibly loan me a bath lift as currently Mr Geek lifts me in and out.
They phoned yesterday whilst I was at work and I called back in an unusually uninterrupted lunchbreak. I spoke to a pleasant lady who had been passed my case & she started the telephone interview. About 5 minutes in, I began to wonder if she had seen my referral at all as all of the questions essentially repeated the laborious form I’d already completed.
As I tried to move the questioning on a bit faster, it appeared that she had become fixated on whether I could use a toilet. I said yes.
But do you need bars?
No, I have crutches.
But is it high enough?
Yes, and I support myself on the bath & crutches.
But you need help.
I informed her that my major problem is actually getting in and out of the bath.
Is it a normal bath?
It’s got quirks. Don’t be so judgemental! Oh. Yes. No, it’s not an adapted one.
But how do you use it now?
Well, Mr Geek lifts me in and lifts me back out again.
…and then I lost her.
No! Nooooooooo! Your husband must not lift you! No lifting! He will not lift you.
It is important that he dies not lift you.
I got that impression, but why?
And here I must quote word for word as I nearly dropped the phone:
“I know you may want to be clean for work, but you must make do with washing at the sink.” ….. “You could get someone to spray your hair with water and add a little shampoo or use dry shampoo. If you stop washing your hair, in fact it will get used to it and won’t require it”.
Let’s tackle this in stages shall we?
I want to wash because I retain some dignity not just for work, but you know, daily. Hygiene is rather important.
I ‘must not’? Must not??!
Well, it’s a good job you can’t read my facial expression right now, because one eyebrow is significantly higher.
And as for not washing my hair, I tried that a few years back as a hippy project and I can tell you now, whilst I only shampoo once per week right now of you stop entirely your my hair most certainly does not get used to it.
A home visit assessment was offered and aside from telling me to sleep downstairs, stop adequately washing and don’t be lifted, there was no sensible or practical advice given. This is not what I’d hoped for, and frankly I was quite cross (read fuming) that I was expected to set my self respect aside because I dared to have a physical disability.
And so ends the tale of why I daren’t let my fingernails slide off the edge of holding onto employment. Why I can’t allow myself to be looked after by these people. I am not subhuman, despite what a government department may think.