Saturday, 30 August 2008

I Fell

I got out of bed and while standing to transfer to my chair I pulled the quilt up and carelessly unbalanced myself. As I felt the falling I threw myself at the bed and landed with my top half on it, on my front. Wriggle, struggle or haul for over 15 mins, I could not get out of that position. So I knew the only way to go was down further. Did I mention that I was naked and it was 10 degrees C in my bedroom.

So I slid slowly down onto my knees. I haven't been on my knees for over 5 yrs so it was a shocking thing to do. As I landed fairly gently, it hurt, my knees felt soft and useless and not like the knees I used to know. I tried to walk on my knees so I could turn and sit on the floor. Every 'step' really really hurt and as I tried to turn I fell onto my hands. Unfortunately my arms aren't what they used to be either and they gave way on me. I did a header into the bottom shelf of my bedside table and was terribly stuck.

I knew I had to get out of this position before I pushed my Vitalcall for assistance button as they would ring me when they couldn't hear me through the speaker. I wanted to be able to answer the phone (on the bedside table) so I could make sure they knew where the key was hidden. I didn't want the ambos breaking windows or door locks to get in.

So more exhausting struggling bashing my head and neck and finally I got slid down and onto my back. Rest for awhile and then get arm up to grab the phone. Thank Mum and Dad for my long arms, pushed the Vitalcall button, hear them calling me on the speaker and then the phone. At last I thought - it won't be long....

Then the ambo station called me and went through a checklist of symptoms to make sure I was not having a stroke, heart attack, asthma attack etc. I said "no I am just a crip who has fallen and no I am not injured". I did explain the naked, cold, on the wooden floor predicament tho.

So after awhile (still feeling very distressed at my new knowledge of lost capabilities) I rang a good crip friend who I know has been stuck in this same position. She listened and I cried and we talked and laughed and I cried.

After about 45 mins I rang the ambos back. They told me that they had lots of emergencies and they would get here asap. OK.

I rang my friend back and we did more of the same. After another 45 mins I rang the ambos again to be told that they had dispatched 2 ambulances to me but had to divert them cos of emergencies. This time I told them that I had a very weakening muscle condition and that if I lay here too long I will end up with pneumonia which is a common cause of death for us if we are left vulnerable. That did the trick. About 20 minutes later 3 ambulance officers arrived.

There was an older one (male) and two young ones (M and F). The older one I will call BOB as an acronym for Belligerent Old Bastard. BOB was just gonna go right in and haul me up. I said "No just let me tell you how. Straighten my legs out and then grab my hands and pull me into the sitting position". Well BOB did this but every inch of the way up he kept trying to let go on his assumption that I was "up". I had to keep saying "no further, further, further, I am not up yet". Can't the man "feel" whether I am holding my own balance or not? What a hopeless ambo.

OK now I am sitting. He was about to do another manhandle when I said "perhaps we could put my dressing gown on first" So the young woman did that. BOB then asked me if I could walk I answered "no" and he just started hauling perhaps with the other man on the other side. As he wanted to land me on my feet and let go again I had to almost yell at him that my legs wouldn't hold me (feet like fucking iceblocks by this time) but no he didn't want to listen and insisted on letting go. Down I went, albeit slowed down by him.

Then they did a big lift after the poor young male ambo had frantically tried to get my wheelchair around to me. BOB just continued like a bull at a gate and hauled me up and my dressing gown and bum caught on the front of the wheelchair cushion and it started peeling upwards. I told them that, so they just hauled harder. Still caught "you will have to get me higher" OK then it worked.

BOB was angry and belligerent when he got here. The two young ambos didn't dare to try to organise and just had to run around dickhead BOB's antics. I felt they were intimidated by him.

What a debacle.

I am now reorganising my emergency call list and adding more "home in the daytime people" into my list if I can find some. And I am going to ask my 85 yrs old very fit neighbour if I can give her a key and she can help. I doubt that she could pick me up but she could have got me sat up, warm and covered up with a hot drink and company while I waited.

I am still traumatised over this event and although it is nearly three weeks later am still exhausted from my initial struggles to get up.

That was on the Tuesday morning. I got a friend R (thanks heaps R for looking after me so tenderly in my exhaustion) to come and stay for a couple of days to take the load off while I recovered. He left on Thursday. Friday night going to bed I did a simple topple onto my side while sitting on the bed. Stuck again. Didn't bother with any struggle as I knew better this time. Pushed my button but could not be heard via the speaker (which is another room) and couldn't reach the phone. It was 1 am and fortunately the neighbour they called was up and in straight away with the ambos hot on her feet. 10 to 15 mins at most I was stuck there. Lovely ambos this time. I told them about Tuesday and they advised me to say if I was asked that "I feel a bit dizzy". The point being that while dizziness is not life threatening in itself it might mean something that might be urgent. Or, they said, just don't answer the speaker. Lovely men who tucked me into bed with smiles and fun. Thanks guys.

Bugger me if I didn't do it again in the morning!!!!! This time I had already grabbed the phone off my bedside table before I even moved to get up out of bed. So I simply rang the other neighbour/friends and they were there quickly (after their son J ringing them as they had just left to go shopping - they came straight back). They got me in my dressing gown, gave me hugs, hot wheat bags to get me warm and a cuppa. I was very distressed as I was envisioning ALL of my independence going down the gurgler by this time. Later these same friends came back from their shopping with a bunch of flowers and some lovely Cookie Man biscuits. So nice. Thanks J & C and their two sons J & R.

Oh dear, the tears are starting to well up in my eyes even tho it was three weeks ago. I am suffering from Acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD right now. And I believe that crips suffer from CTSD Chronic Traumatic Stress Disorder (ie traumatic stress all day every day) brought about by Government neglect and society's exclusion, anti-disability behaviour and general prejudice. I feel scared and very vulnerable. I have been on the "UNMET NEEDS LIST for 6 years waiting for extra hours of in home support. I manage my whole life with just 12 1/2 hours of support per week at the moment. I would like to see an abloid get all their self care and household tasks and shopping and cooking etc done in 12 1/2 hours? No chance.

I live alone and do not have a carer as more than half of those on the DSP don't. Everyone seems to think we all have a carer. WE DON'T.

I believe that one of the reasons that I fell in the first place was because I had been struggling with makeshift shitting in a bucket toileting for nearly three weeks while they ripped my loo out to make it properly accessible. No alternative was offered while the loo was out of action. A perfect case of a gap we get to fall through while the abloids run around assessing and approving and then fucking up the mods. And this separate debacle is not over yet!!!

But that's another whole story "Diary of toilet mods" that I hope I have the energy to write one day soon.

Since all of this I have made serious complaints to DSA about their whole system which has been disintegrating or just fucked around with since they started their "restructure" into a "one stop shop". More like a "dead end street". "Fiddling while Rome burns" I call it. The bureaucrats are jumping as it was a very very angry complaint from a leading crip advocate. I have never used my "influence" in personal complaints before but this time I sure did. Every bit of my power I threw at them... They know me well as an activist/advocate so they know I am not to be trifled with. We will see what the outcome is - I will let you know.

Oh dear and life goes on........


  1. I shuddered, I shivered, all the way through reading your blog. I have a huge fear of falling. At my weight, which is not inconsiderable, getting up is hard for me and even harder for those helping me. I could picture every move you made in trying to manage on your own. Hope your advocacy skills and their fear of your voice gets things done.

  2. Glee, I came to your blog from Dave's. Like him, I shuddered as I read this post. I'm an "abloid" so I can't exactly relate, but it just makes me so angry that people aren't getting the services they need - here in the US or anywhere else. Keep fighting the fight.

  3. Elizabeth Jardine31 August 2008 at 11:03

    Hi Glenda,
    I could identify with all your struggles to move yourself. I haven't yet had to rely on the ambo service to pick me up, but it's only a matter of time. I hope you never have a similar experience again.
    I have put a key safe with combination number near the front door so people won't have to break dowm anything to get in and, like you I've compiled a ist of people likely to be home at particular times. It's pretty scary stuff, isn't it? Cheers, Elizabeth