The title of this post might suggest that I’ve been away on an IT course for a week and whilst that prospect doesn’t fill me with uncontained excitement, it would be infinitely better than the ‘IT’ that I’m referring to. This ‘IT’ should really have an SH in front it …
Saturday 14th January
The blister that mysteriously appeared on the heel of my foot last Saturday is now about the size of a kiwifruit. If it gets any bigger it will need its own passport. It’s something I might expect if I’d done a week-long tramp in ill-fitting footwear. Needless to say, I’ve done nothing of the sort. It’s like a huge water blister and underneath the fluid I can see a dark red patch which, to stick with the fruit analogy, I would say would be about the size of a cherry plum and about the same colour. I went to the doctors last week and they tried to drain it but the damned thing just filled right on up again. I don’t think this is a ‘normal’ blister and it’s playing havoc with my MS symptoms, possibly because I’m having to tiptoe on my left blistered foot while my right leg (which is the weaker of the two) is bravely trying to bear the majority of my weight.
By the evening my hips were stiff and sore, my left leg had gone completely numb, the kiwifruit felt as though it was close to boiling point and my right leg was so weak I thought I might completely collapse. I laid down, kept the blistered foot up and stuck a bag of frozen peas on it. About an hour later to my immense relief, the bloody thing burst of its own accord. I now have the suppurating remains of the kiwifruit to contend with and under the flapping skin, a squashed cherry plum which hurts like hell so I still can’t put any weight on it.
Monday 16th January
My daughter took my car to town today. She’s going to drop it in to the VW mechanics for the repairs that need to be done before I can get a Warrant of Fitness. I’m really looking forward to being able to drive again and have some independence but I’m on a waiting list for a disability assessment. Evidently these waiting lists can take six months but they’re hoping that mine might be considered more urgent as it will enable me to drive to work. We have access to public transport here but it involves taking a ferry which has no disabled facilities at this end, although there are at its destination, which would be kind of annoying if you didn’t know this and were making the journey the other way around. Anyway, I just hope I’m over this blister problem before my assessment comes up because I think I’d struggle to pass at the moment.
The doctor phoned and I need to go in and show them my burst blister which is weeping all over the place. Getting ready for my appointment when Katie texts with bad news. About a week ago a tree blew over in the driveway and it was shuffled out of the way by the landlord. She had forgotten about this and backed into it. When you’re not used to driving a VW Beetle, the fenders tend to stick out more than you expect and she’s dented the right hand side and taken some of the paintwork off. Bugger.
Blister seems OK and is re-dressed. Phoned the mechanics later in the day to see when my daughter can collect the car. Receptionist there tells me she hasn’t phoned earlier as this is her first day back after being away on maternity leave for eight months. There is no way Katie can pick the car up today because the job is going to be ‘very big and very expensive’. This is exactly what I don’t need to hear right now. I ask her to phone me back to let me know exactly how expensive as her statement of doom has left me in a state of angst and apprehension. I spend a dismal afternoon imagining myself making a disheartening effort to pay a bill well into the thousands on a WINZ benefit. I finally get through to the VW repair place after several attempts throughout the afternoon only to get a recap on the ‘madhouse after the eight month maternity leave’ situation and a ballpark estimate that the parts alone could be anywhere between seventy and a thousand dollars.
If all this ‘busyness’ is due to a surplus of customers, I am confident this woman will be capable of single-handedly remedying that situation in fairly short order. My blister hurts, my legs don’t work and my car not only needs repairing but is now dented and damaged and I have no idea how much it’s all going to cost. I have another letter from WINZ but I’m not in the mood to try to decide whether it’s one to ignore or action so I leave it unopened.
Tuesday 17th January
I decide that leaving my car in the hands of someone who can only forecast lengthy delays and large expense without backing it up with some facts and figures is naïveté to the point of foolishness. Furthermore if I have to listen one more time about this woman’s problems due to taking maternity leave, I will feel compelled to give her a blow by blow account of my own. I book it in elsewhere and they seem much more helpful and communicative but before my daughter can pick up my car the ‘helpful’ receptionist made her pay $97.75 just to remove it from the yard. I write an email to the Manager in the hope that I might at least be able to recover this amount but I never get a response. I won’t be going there again!
Blister is really shit. I hope this isn’t a relapse – what with this blister and the stress I wouldn’t be surprised but I try not to even think of that possibility.
Wednesday 18th January
Blister is still weeping and sore and this is having a really bad impact on the MS symptoms but I’m not sure what to do about it. I try lying down with my foot up as I’m feeling really buggered. There is a really lively rodent running around in the walls of the house and the action seems to begin just as I’m about to drop off to sleep. In fact I suspect it might be rodents (pl.). I put out some rat bait, hopeful this will put a stop to their nocturnal shenanigans. I walked up the slope to the driveway today which was very difficult. For a number of reasons, I think I’m going to have to move house. Walking up that slope in the wintertime is going to be a challenging undertaking once the rain and frost really set in. I find the thought of moving utterly exhausting. On the bright side, the WINZ letter was one of the ignorable computer generated variety (at least I think so).
Friday 20th January
I was able to get a house cleaner through Life Links who in turn go through Access who in turn found someone who services the area to come every Friday morning at 9:00am. I have one hour and forty-five minutes allocated to me. In some ways it’s a bit of a double edged sword as it means I have to get up early to get showered, dressed and breakfasted in order to tidy up a bit before she arrives. This sounds easy but when you have MS along with a blistered foot that needs dressing, successfully meeting the 9:00am deadline is quite an achievement. Furthermore I suspect the cleaner may have her own disability issues and it would be an understatement to say that she isn’t particularly efficient. However I doubt she’s earning much more than the minimum wage so I perhaps shouldn’t expect too much.
Today however I didn’t need to rush as she didn’t materialise until 9:45 and announced that she would have to change her hours as Access had altered her timetable. She now had other jobs before and after mine which meant that in future I would only be getting just under an hour of my allocated time. I phone Access to ask why my allocation had been cut down and get hold of their call centre. Evidently they hadn’t altered her timetable at all. The cleaner had cut her own hours down because she thought (incorrectly) that she had completed everything that was required. I spoke to the call centre again and told them this was rubbish and that I was being told it was because Access had changed her schedule. I wasn’t able to make it clear to Access that she hadn’t done everything that was authorised on their list and if they hadn’t altered her timetable, what this cleaner was actually telling me was in fact, a lie. The girl on the other end of the phone adopted a patronising tone and told me in a loud, slow voice that if the cleaner had done everything on the list she was entitled to cut down her hours. She seemed to be under the impression that I had a mental disability so I left it at that.
Just before the cleaner left I asked her again why she was cutting down her hours and again she told me it was because of Access messing around with her timetable, but this time I hit the voice recorder button on my phone. I phoned the local coordinator and explained what had happened. She was a lot more helpful than the call centre and talked me through their complaints process. I recoiled at the horror of filling out more forms. And what would anyone have to gain? It seemed like she’s the only one servicing my area and if she lost her job I doubt she’d get another one very easily. It would just be another poor soul floundering around in the WINZ system. Even though she’d lied to me, it wasn’t really her I was upset with. It was that woman at the call centre who would doubtless remain in her secure job for many happy years to come.
So I leave it at that and concentrate on completing yet another form from my insurance company. If I can only get this income protection claim approved I can get the hell out of this crazy system so I focus on that happy thought instead.
Saturday 21st January
It’s still Friday in the USA and Donald Trump gets inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. God help us all.