where the cornflakes are

this blog may appear to be experiencing an on-going existential crisis - it isn't quite sure whether it's about knitting, crip stuff or life in general

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is there a doctor in the house?

Yep, and I've just squooshed his right foot!

Sometimes I get to do quite cool stuff for work. Last night I went to the launch of Melbourne Theatre Company's 2006 season. It was a fairly typical do, you know, the artistic director was a bit smashed and crapped on for way too long, everyone ooohed and aahhhed over the new program and there were many random B-list celebs in attendance (possibly C-list, I'm not sure how the classification system works).

All was popping along nicely. I'd had my wine glass re-filled a couple of times and I was thinking about heading home. I started to get the show on the road and kind of move through the crowd to the exit. I'm normally really good at negotiating crowds, but it seems that a crowd of increasingly drunk theatre people is a different kettle of fish. I'd only gone about two feet when I felt a really massive bump under one wheel. Yep, I'd run over someone's foot. Ah well, at least he can have a crack at fixing it himself, being medically trained n'all.....

It was Dr Karl Kennedy. You know, from Neighbours. Whoops.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The adventures of a crip in bed

After that title I know you'll all probably be expecting some kind of sexual content in this post but I'm afraid there will be none. Sorry to disappoint.

I took the day off work last Monday, had some stuff to do and my back right driving wheel was making a fairly disturbing noise. Rather than risk an impromptu breakdown at what is always an inopportune time, I thought I should get it looked at. A lengthy cab ride and four hours of sitting in a mobility aid show room later, I was back on the road. The lovely boys at the wheelchair shop (one of whom is a total spunk) replaced gearboxes in both wheels, so the theory was that I'd continue to be perfectly mobile, minus the death rattle. Yeah, right.

About 8.30pm that evening I was pottering around my flat when I noticed a really severe jerk in the very same wheel that had just had it's death rattle attended to. My first thought was "where the hell is my mobile phone?", which is always my first thought when something is about to happen that could potentially leave me stranded. I managed to drive this strange new version of my chair, with said wheel only responding when it seemed to be in the mood to get my mobile, and open my front door. I figured if I was going to need rescuing, I was going to need to at least have my door open so someone could get in. Luckily, the wheel didn't become completely unresponsive until this point, at which I called my lovely upstairs neighbour Rosanna and she came down to assess the situation. We both took one look at what was happening, agreed that my chair was totally wanked and the best thing was for me to simply turn in for the night until I could call someone with an actual clue about how to fix it. Being completely non-ambulant, I’m totally stuffed without my chair. I do have a manual one, but I can't use it by myself. As soon as I put any weight on the footplates to transfer into or out of it, the whole bloody thing tips over. We decided that Rosanna would take my keys and I'd have the repairperson ring her doorbell in the morning so she could let them in. Between me driving my left wheel and her hauling the right side of my chair, we managed to get me close enough to my bed for me to climb in. Where I stayed. For 15 hours.

Now I know it sounds pretty horrendous, which it was, but there were a number of things about the situation that were actually really fortunate:

∑ I was already in my pyjamas and pretty much ready to turn in for the night anyway (I’d even been to the bathroom)
∑ Rosanna was home and able to stay home from work a little longer in the morning to let the repair guy in
∑ Watching morning television lifestyle programs did wonders for my self esteem – no matter how crap you are, there’s always someone way more hideous than you
∑ They DIDN’T send the spunky repair guy to find me in my pyjamas and more than slightly dishevelled from sleep (he was middle-aged and bald)

Oh and for the technically minded among you, the actual problem with the wheel turned out to be something to do with the bearings and couplings in the motors, or something.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Delinquent blogger.... whoops!

Ok so I haven’t blogged in like a hundred years. I’ve been off having a life, sorry. Looking back I think there was stuff that happened that was worth blogging about but none of it is particularly relevant anymore. I’ll just start afresh shall I? With a bit of luck, regular blogging should resume. Not that I was ever particularly good at it anyway. Moving on...

Firstly, I just want to offer a public apology to Luke for not sending his CDs yet. I made him some ages ago and they’ve been sitting on my desk. The bright side is I’ve been discovering new bands and adding to the collection. But sorry mate, I’m a slack tart!

The other thing that I think might be slightly blog-worthy right now is the letter I received from the Equal Opportunity Commission last week. They wrote to let me know that the complaint I’d lodged against a music venue over 12 months ago has been “successful”. Meaning that they now have a crip toilet, and some portable ramps that they’ll put down to let you in. No word on my strong suggestion that the security staff have some equality training. Imagine that!

I’m glad something has happened at least. It was a pretty nasty process. The incident itself involved arguing on the street with several security guards for half an hour about their responsibilities under the DDA, having to sit on the floor and crawl under the merch desk to prevent being trampled while my friends carried my chair down some steps, enduring nasty looks from venue staff all night, and not even being able to have a drink because there was no accessible toilet. And yes, prior to purchasing tickets to the gig, I did call to ask about access and was told by a senior staff member that the venue was fully wheelchair accessible. What, did he think I wasn’t actually planning to attend at some point?

Six months later I had to go to the commission for a conciliation meeting. Such a load of crap. When I first got stroppy and lodged the complaint, I was under the understanding that the Equal Opportunity Commission were interested in, you know, equal opportunity. I thought that they would actually represent the person who had been denied equal opportunity. In fact, what they actually do is try and shut you up. If they are on the “side” of either party, it’s certainly not the complainant. I wasn’t allowed to bring anyone to represent me. I could bring one person, but they were not allowed to speak at all during the process. The conciliator started by asking me to explain why I thought I had been discriminated against. Well, as stroppy as I am, it was all a bit much and I ended up crying in front of these horrible bullies. I recall blubbering something about them being mean to me, among other things. Yeah, way to assert your rights Stell!

So now they have some folding ramps (that would be useless if you had to exit in an emergency) and some handrails in a spacious toilet. Big friggin deal. Unfortunately I think the major lessons from this process have been learnt by me, rather than them:

- Our DDA isn’t worth the paper it’s written on
- If you’re going to push it to conciliation, make sure you invest in water-proof mascara