The medical side of having an impairment is time-consuming, expensive and very stressful. For those who do not have access to the internet or a sufficient income, things are much worse. With respect to the social aspects of having an impairment, I have found little or no comprehension among most Council officers of the medical and other challenges Disabled people encounter.
Indeed, in a number of instances, the attitudes, policies and practices found among service providers, including the Council, make things much worse for us. When I was impairment-free, I had no inkling of the time and effort you have to spend on getting treated if you have medical issues or the disruptive effect of this on your life.
I have found little or no comprehension among most Council officers of the medical and other challenges Disabled people encounter.
Currently, I have unconnected health problems in my heart, eyes and spleen. I have, on average, one hospital appointment a week which, including travel, takes 3 hours. Added to this are irregular consultations with my GP and visits to the chemist to chase up my meds.
Then there are the unexpected medical complications and treatments. For example, on one occasion, following what I thought was a routine scan, I was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery and spent eight days in intensive care. My lesson from that was to always carry my Kindle and a phone charger with me to routine appointments! And then there were the two emergency trips, with one being by ambulance, to the Royal Free.
We make our own “reasonable adjustments” and pay for them.
True, there are problems sometimes in getting appointments and the three hospitals I attend cannot access each other’s records, but I am not complaining about the NHS. The services I have received in hospital have been fantastic, so much so that I jokingly asked to stay on in ICU as it was like a five-star hotel.
I shudder to think how much I am costing the NHS; my wife’s recent surgery alone would have cost £60k if done privately. I find the medical side of having impairments very tiring, especially my heart condition, and my wife does also because of her hearing impairment.
We make our own “reasonable adjustments” and pay for them. We get taxis to ensure we get to our hospital appointments on time and I am purchasing new IT and phone equipment which enables me to see better. And our use of the internet to order prescriptions and make appointments is a great advantage.
Fortunately, we can afford all these not inconsiderable expenses. Many people with impairments are not so fortunate.