Self-service check-outs & physical disability

All I wanted was cat biscuits and some chocolate.

All that stood between me and said cat biscuits and chocolate was a self-service check out.
Sounds simple, right?
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
There are no words for how much these things annoy me. They annoy most of the able-bodied people too; but when you have mobility problems like I do, they are a total nightmare.
I have cerebral palsy so I can’t do anything quickly and I’m not very good at balancing, so I tend to only use one hand as much as possible when I’m trying to pay for my shopping so that I can keep holding on to my walker.
If there is another person operating the till they can obviously see this and understand it, unlike a machine who expects me to move at speed. A chashier often help me do my packing and give me my change in small bits, all without constantly asking me to please take my items.
I know I could always ask a staff member in the shop to help me, but the staff supervising the area is often busy helping people who’ve found themselves dealing with an unexpected item in the bagging area, so I’ve developed a few strategies to try make things easier:
  • As I often wear jackets of hoodies, I try and get my money out before I even start  and put it in my pocket so make it easier to get to. Obviously, I only do this if I feel safe to do so. Otherwise I put up with the machine asking me if I want to continue while I fumble to get cash out of purse.
  • I take a bag that is as wide as possible so that I can hang it on the side of my walking frame and just drop things into it, rather than having to cram they all into a smaller bag that won’t open out for me properly
  • If I have a friend with me, I ask them to help

 

What do you think about self-service check-outs?

The Unlimited Company Leeds Store Opening Day

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this post. I was invited to attend this Bloggers  Breakfast event by The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth, where I was given food, drink and a free opening day goodie bag – more on that last part later!

I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect when I accepted the invitation to go and see the new The Unlimited Company Store in Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, Leeds. I came away feeling really impressed and encouraged by what the future could hold for me as a disabled person.

Not only did they sell items that would make life easier for people with all kinds of disabilities, not just physical ones like mine, but they have a sensory room and a huge disabled toilet with a hoist, adult-sized changing table, and movable sink. And we all know how I often have some strong opinions on disabled loos.

I think the thing that appealed to me the most was that the shop has a resident Occupational Therapist who is on-hand to offer help and advice to anyone who needs it. She spent ages showing me a lot of things they had for people to look at and try out.

There are just so many things that I didn’t know existed. They have an adapted kitchen to show people what they can do now, and just how stylish they are. It didn’t have a ‘clinical’ feel to it at all, as many of you probably agree some of these things do have. I felt really optimistic about what my ideal home could look like in the future. Well, if I ever manage to get on the property ladder, that is. That’s a debate for another time.

Remember that rant I had about clothes shopping with a disability? Well The Unlimited Company even had that covered too, because they stock clothes from a company called The Able Label. I’ve never heard of these guys before, but I’m definitely going to be checking them out. They make clothes with velcro instead of buttons and zips! How amazing is that?

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Talking to in-store OT Rachel about The Able Label: photo courtesy of The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth.

If all of this wasn’t enough, I was lucky enough to be able to meet members of TeamBRIT. I’m not going to lie, sport would not be my strongest subject on a quiz show, but I have to say that car looks very cool. And people were impressed by how my walking frame Ivy and I had managed to colour-coordinate with it. I wish I could say I’d planned it that way all along, but I’m not that good.

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Meeting TeamBRIT – photo courtesy of The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth.

My goody bag had a TeamBrit cap in it too, (and they gave me an extra one for Rob, thanks guys) this totally makes me an honorary member of the team now, right? Right?

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I suck at selfies

They also gave me a really cute mini-hot water bottle which will be a huge help with my pelvis pain, or any other pain for that matter.

And what was the hashtag of the day, I hear you ask.

#nolimitsjustliving

Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

 

FIND OUT MORE:

If you want to find out more then I’m going include social media links below:

The Unlimited Company

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheUnlimitedCompanyUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theunlimitedco
Website: http://www.theunlimitedcompany.co.uk/

Simplyhealth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplyhealthuk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimplyhealthUK
Website: https://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/

The Able Label

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAbleLabel/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theablelabel
Website: https://www.theablelabel.com/

TeamBRIT

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeamBRIT/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeamBRITracing
Website: http://www.teambrit.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

Four years on from uni

So I had an entirely different post planned for today, and then Facebook (not so kindly) reminded me that today marks four years since I finished my multimedia journalism degree. Now I’m kinda freaking out.

I’ve been told that I was as good as written off by some people when I was primary school age. People didn’t think I’d achieve all that much, but as soon as I learned university was a thing I knew I HAD to go.

Then, when I got to the age that it was time to seriously think about these things my mum started to get nervous about me moving away, my dad started researching disabled access at unis, and some people started to tell me they thought I should stay close to home. At which point I told them, in slightly politer terms than this, that there was not a chance in hell I was staying close to home if I could help it. I was moving out, and that was that.

There was a point when I did almost go to a university 40 minutes away from where I lived, but then I fell in love with Teesside University, about an hour and a half or two hours away depending on traffic. The staff there were all really supportive, and the university employed someone to help me physically get around campus so that I didn’t get stuck anywhere and he carried my stupidly heavy bag for me.  (Sorry about just how much it weighed if you’re reading this by the way!)

In the end I got a great result on my degree, but perhaps the biggest thing I achieved was a whole new level of independence and and physical fitness. I overcame my nervousness about getting the train on my own so I could go home and surprise my dad for his birthday. I learned that I could get by on a few visits from a supportive living team a week, and some help from my housemates, and I walked almost everywhere because I didn’t have a car and was too nervous to get the bus by myself.

Even on my most down and lonely days when I feel bad that I’m of where I hoped I’d be when I graduated, I could never think it was all a waste of time, even if I am pretty convinced I’ll be forever in debt.

Changing bedsheets

There’s been a few times now that I struggle with various aspects of housework, like doing the laundry and folding clothes to put them away or pack

I’ve found ways to make doing all these easier over time, like using liquid tabs instead of washing powder so that I don’t have to struggle with lifting heavy boxes of washing powder, and I think if I ever lived alone I’d probably invest in a washer/dryer so that I wouldn’t have to faff around trying to hang things on a clothes horse or getting the clothes from one thing to the other.

That said, the one thing I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fathom, and, yes, I know you’re never supposed to say never, is changing my bed sheets. I know enough able-bodied people who are a lot taller than my tiny 4ft 10″ who find that really hard and say they prefer to do it with another person.

Continue reading “Changing bedsheets”

Some more thoughts on my broken shower

 

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Some of you may have noticed that my walk-in shower has been broken this week.

It’s still not totally fixed but sometimes if we’re lucky it will work for a couple of minutes, long enough for one of us to get a really quick wash, and then switch itself off. I think the thermostat must be playing up too because the water isn’t getting very warm like it usually does.

I’ve written quite a few posts about how hard it is for me to wash independently without one, but I’m missing it functioning normally for more reasons that that.

Continue reading “Some more thoughts on my broken shower”

A catalouge of excitment

My appointment with the occupational therapist (OT) yesterday went well. We’ve recently had a new kitchen fitted in at home, so some of the tips and tricks I learned for managing to do a few bits and bats in the old one won’t really work anymore, which is frustrating and hard, given that it took so long to get used to them. Still, maybe the change will do me good and I’ll learn lots of new stuff that will be useful in the future.

The OT came out to the house and brought with her a couple of things that she thought might help me. These were a bread chopping board with raised edges so that things don’ t fly off and end up here, there and everywhere, like they usually do when I’m trying to butter bread. If you’re ever anywhere near me when I’m making a sandwich I suggest you stand well back because there’s a good chance you might end up covered in something, getting accidently elbowed in the ribs, or both.

The other one is a similar chopping board, with spikes on and a mini grater attached so that I could put something like a jacket potato on it while I get the cheese ready.   Usually when I do this, I have to hold the grater in my weak hand while it’s balanced on a plate, and the cheese in the other. Usually this means that the plate or bowl flies off it one direction, and the grater in the opposite. This makes a mess, and me even more frustrated when I have to try and clean it up.

These items have only been given to me on a short-term loan to see if I find them useful before I spend loads of money on things that don’t really work for me, which I think is a really good idea. The lady left me some catalogues to browse through too, which I’m really excited about, probably because it will remind me of going through the Argos at Christmas when I was a kid. I’ve had a quick flick through them and I didn’t realise just how much was out there! I’m going to sit and give them my full attention later with a cup of tea and see if anything catches my eye, or gives me an ideas of things we already have in the house that I can adapt.

We came up with a list of a few other things to try too over the next couple of weeks so we’ll see how things go. I haven’t played with these ones that she brought yesterday yet, but it’s on the to-do list for this weekend when I’ve bought some food to experiment with. I don’t watch to use the family shopping in case I butcher it beyond all recognition and it’s not edible afterwards. I know this might sound a bit dramatic but believe me when I say it’s entirely possible.

I really hope they help because it gets me down that I can’t help out with the cooking more. I’m willing to spend the cash if I think the difference will be worth it. This could be the start of something really good for me.

Surprise injections and more

So it turns out that the appointment that I had on Friday wasn’t so scary after all. In fact, I’d say it went rather well.

Quite a few things happened actually. We discussed maybe trying a new kind of splint as opposed to my callipers because they blister me so much, although I have to go for more appointments with a physio and someone who deals with splints to weigh up pros and cons first so I won’t go into details about that yet.

A few suggestions were made about things that might make my life in the kitchen a little bit easier. The occupation therapist who was there took my concerns on board and is going to do some research for me and try and get hold of some equipment for me to borrow to see how well it would work for me before I buy any. Again, I’ll let you know more when I do.

And, oh yeah, they gave me some more Botox in my left leg, which was an unexpected, (nice) surprise.

I’ve had this treatment done a few times as a kid, and once again last year as an adult and every time it has worked well for me. I mentioned to the doctor who was there (the same one who gave me the injections last year) that I thought it might be worth doing some more. She agreed that it would be.

“We can do it today, if you like” she said after giving it some thought.

“Er, yeah okay.” I said, a little shocked that that was an option.

And so we did.

I wasn’t expecting it but I wasn’t about to turn it down either.

“Bet you’re glad I came with you now,” Mum giggled as she helped me roll up my jean leg and gave me her hand to squeeze. Yes, I still like to do that. When I use to have them as a child, the would numb my legs  first with what they called “magic cream”. Now that I’m all grown up I don’t get that anymore, but I don’t think Mum minded me grasping onto her too much.

I personally don’t find that these injections hurt as such, it’s more like you’re being stung in my opinion, but it’s just nice to have someone there, you know?

Now that the deed has been done, it means that the intensive stretching has to start so that we can make the most out of it. So far, I think we’re doing pretty well at keeping on top of it, but it will be a couple of weeks before we’ll be able to tell what a difference it will make.

Let’s go, go, go!