Well it’s been a crap week. Last Thursday night I went to bed with a pain in my left hip. By the morning an injury I incurred in 2012, during the rehearsals for the Paralympic Games, had flared up. In fact it later transpired it was infected and by the evening my wife had to battle to get an locum GP sent out. The infection was spreading at a dramatic rate and we were both scared. When the GP arrived, he said we were right to panic and if we had left it until the morning, as we had been advised by the 111 operator, things might have been very serious. Oh dear. So I have spent the last week stuck in bed, pumped full of strong antibiotics, unable to do anything much. Luckily I write as part of my job and you can do that from a sick bed, so we aren’t heading towards poverty just yet. What has amazed me during this whole process of fighting to get my injury treated is how differently I am treated due to my being disabled.
It started with no one believing I could actually feel how much the injury hurts. I have no idea why I would lie, but doctor after doctor found it hard to believe that someone who uses a wheelchair can feel anything below their waist. The incredulity I faced about having sensation in my lower body is nothing compared to the reaction I got when I said I worked. This seemed to be unthinkable, even to my GP who should know my personal situation. I have had to start explaining the hourly, weekly and daily rates I charge to make my medical team understand that my job is not a hobby and that they do really need to to get me back to being able to work full time as quickly as possible. Crazy isn’t it that at a time when the government is pushing the idea of disabled people working more, those of us who do are treated by employable by society?
Another big issue is that I have to keep letting people down. I have had to cancel job after job, booking after booking and so many appointments I have lost count. Sure it’s all costing me money, but it is damaging my reputation too. I try my hardest to be a reliable professional whose word is his bond. If I say I’ll do something, I do it. I just can’t live up to that right now. Not only will my health deteriorate if I try, but if I did venture out of the house I doubt I’d make it through to my car, let alone through a day of work. It really is that painful. So if any of the people I have let down, and those who I may still have to let down read this… I am really sorry.
This is something that my doctors just don’t understand. It’s not only the money, my reputation is vital as I work in a cut throat industry. If I don’t do something someone else will. Once a chance has passed, it gone for good. It’s not like having a real job, with it’s sick leave and sick pay. As a freelancer, every job is vital, your reputation is king and there will always be another person who can do your job. Yet all I hear is just rest, stay in bed. As I have no real idea of the time it is going to take to get better, I have no idea if I should take bookings or not.
OK, this is all very woe is me, and having just read it back it is VERY woe is me but I just wanted to put it out there. Not sure what it is, or why I wanted to write this, but then I have been cooped up inside for over a week. A week when the weather finally broke, the sun shone and I had a full diary. All I do know is that to anyone I have let down, or who I will let down as I get better please accept my apologies. If I can I will be there, if not I owe you one. If you are a doctor, nurse or other medical professional please remember that disabled people are all different. Some can feel, some can’t, and some work, some don’t but whatever their personal truth is they need to be treated in exactly the same way they would be if they were not disabled.
OK, that’s enough misery. Normal service will be resumed soon. Bloody better be soon or I will pop with frustration and boredom. ARGH!
On a positive note, I’ve lost loads of weight! Always a silver lining for an ageing Goth!