Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I have got past caring as to why, I just want it to stop

Pits of a day yesterday. Had tried to rally on through the migraines with the wafer thingies but 5 days of migraines were enough to have me waving a white flag.

I rang Dad. That is how desperate I felt. He came round. I didn't expect him to...I wasn't acting rationally I was panicking too much.

The outcome was that a friend got me to an emergency appointment with GP (I was tanked up on lozees for fear of puking in the car).

GP has given me a prescription for stronger med to take when the migraines come along with sachets of an asparin/something else mix. To be honest, I would drink a pint of washing up liquid if I thought it would help.

The chemist didn't have it in stock but Dad needs to get some shopping today, so we will walk round there later. At present, and on advice of chemist, am taking 400mg of Ibuprofen.

All I want to do is sleep..and have alot of it. If the GP is right, that is what I will get because she reckons it will zonk me out.

It could be stress. It could be anything really. I had been getting various advice from different people. Dad was all for calling an ambulance (bit extreme). Another friend thought it could be high blood pressure, Dr J simply said "It isn't right and needs looking into".I kept thinking a blood vessel had burst in my head. Whatever, I just want the migraines to stop and if I can sleep for a few days, all well and good.

Needless to say I didn't get to the dentist. That is back in pending file (along with other plans I had made). Right now, one day free of a migraine is what I am aiming for.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

This is the song for when the spot needs hitting

The next batch

Something for the weekend - apart from migraines

Had intended to go and stay with Dr J yesterday. Got as far as the local shops and then the pain the neck and pulsating head kicked in. Migraines aren't nice at the best of times but when you are out (on your own) they are scary.

Daft mare that I am, had forgot to put a wafer thingy in my bag so was a trauma getting home and the nausea was pretty bad this time. After I had been sick, I then bawled my eyes out. Think that was the release after all the pressure.

Sometimes, things all boil up (not always evident from where) and I think that caused my migraine yesterday. I wasn't that surprised to get one. They are a regular occurance along with the joys of womanhood (both of which I could do without) and I have been getting migraines alot this week.

Maybe I shouldn't have tried to venture out but I had felt quite uppy. Actually, on reflection, I was pretty manic yesterday morning. From getting up it was doing this and that. Finishing off cards at 7.00 am, doing a load of washing, some dancing to music, cleaning kitchen floor. Too much too soon!

One thing that migraines do is slow you down....and when I have taken the wafer, even more so.

I vegged out for a while. Then thought I didn't want the day totally wasted so mowed the lawn. Perhaps that was a bit silly but I needed to challenge myself. To know I could do something. Was completely exhausted after that so slept through till the evening.

The positive is I can now sit out in the garden again and, depending on how hot and sunny it gets, might well do that today.

I got the new Pet Shop Boys CD and have been playing it this morning. The more I hear it, the more I like it.This is my favourite track and, for me, it is PSB doing what they do best:

Friday, 22 May 2009

Update on Direct Payments etc

Had visit from care co-ordinator.

Care co-ordinator is very positive about an application for Direct Payments. She does see the benefit in having someone whose time is dedicated to supporting me to attend therapeutic activities.

As discussed at last CPA review, the STR worker's remit does not fit my needs and my needs don't fit within her remit. I think I have been lucky to have had a year of her time. No I am not going soft, I just acknowledge that she has provided support (in the absence of) above her job description.

This, hopefully, will be resolved when the new care worker is in place. Still pending as they haven't found the right person for the job yet. Until that time (and when/if I get a Direct Payment) I will be seeing STR worker every other week.

Today's visit will be the last one. Care co-ordinator is moving on to another team. Actually, we had a more personal discussion about family needs and having to adapt jobs (in my case it was rather different) in order to be there for children.

I, due to prolonged bout of illness, had to give up work but it was the best thing I could have done. Not only for my sanity (such as it is) but so I could support Em in a more emotional and constructive way and help her (best as) with her education. If I had to pick one thing I have done right in my life. It was having that time with Em and being able to focus on her needs.

I felt we really connected today. Woman to woman. Weird that it happened as she was moving on but better late than never.

So until the new care co-ordinator is in situe, I will be co-ordinated (maybe not the best term for it) by one of the social workers. I don't have a problem with that. Before she goes my care co-ordinator is going to discuss an application for Direct Payments with them..and see how to get the ball rolling.

Yep, we discussed Lithium. I explained how totally spooked I am by the thought of it..she understood and said is not easy to try something when everything else hasn't helped but to talk my concerns through at next meeting with psychiatrist and that I am likely to be put on a low dose and see how it goes... in the meantime, to try not to worry about it too much. Then we hugged. That was really sweet.

I wished her all the best and I meant it. I do hope that she gets a better work/life balance in her new job. Everyone who works should have that...and those of us hoping to work in the future should be looking to a time when that is a reality rather than a pipe dream.

The All Clear

Latest blood test results were back with GP and we discussed them. There wasn't that much to discuss really because they were fine. My potassium levels are 4.2 (which is normal) and my thyroid levels are 16 (which is 4 points higher than last time and normal) so if I am happy to go on Lithium, my body is able enough to take it.

That got me in a bit of a quandry really. Do I actually want to go on Lithium? That is the most serious issue of all...and in all honesty the answer is "No". I am very scared of nasty side effects. I am sure there are people who get the nasty side effects but accept them because, for them, the positives outweigh the negatives and I think that is fair enough. It is everyone's decision to make for themselves. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be anything else (or I have tried everything else..with no real positive outcomes). I have a month's grace in which to research for myself and then go to psychiatrist with an answer. Ho hum!

Another concern is if I choose not to take Lithium will I be seen as a 'bad puppy' who doesn't want to get better? Will refusing medication mean The Trust will no longer want to provide any support service to me? Perhaps I am pre-judging them harshly but I am concerned that my STR worker will be withdrawn and she is of great benefit to me. I am still waiting to hear about the care worker. I will ask my care co-ordinator about that today, when she comes to see me. At my CPA review meeting I was told that I would be seeing someone alternate weeks to help get me out and about and that hasn't come to pass yet.

I think I have made pretty good progress, with support of Dr J and friends when they have been around but a more customised support programme (befitting my needs) hasn't come to pass.

I could ask (again) about Direct Payments because the theory is that you can then use the money for something specific to your needs. For example, I could ask for a payment for somebody's time to take me swimming or to relaxation classes or yoga. None of my friends want to do any of these things. I will put that to my care co-ordinator today, although she hates anything to do with paperwork. I guess if she is unhappy with the paperwork I could discuss it with the psychiatrist at my next appointment. See if they can provide me with an application form and an advice line I can ring if I need support.

Meanwhile, back at GPs spoke to her about the tennis elbow which is bulging more and am getting muscle spasms with it, on top of the pain. She doesn't think having a cortizone, or is it cortisone?, injection is a good idea...and certainly not yet. She has prescribed me an anti inflammatory gel and advised me to use that with the arm band. If there is no improvment in a month she will refer me to a specialist. Fair enough. I really need to mow my lawn. I have plans. I want to set up a DIY beehive (thanks to Coffee Cup for links to helpful site) in the garden and buy some large pots and put flowers in for the bees. At present, I can't carry anything using my left is in the pending file but hoping not for too long.

It has been agreed to keep me on the wafter thingies for the migraines. The migraines had subsided but due to arrival of joys of womanhood have been back with avengeance. Such is life.

So am resting up..which is all you can do when the migraines come and hopefully things will pick up over the weekend. Which is supposed to bring the hottest weather so far this year. I really want to get in the garden....hmmmmmmmmmm...perhaps I should just go for it with the lawn mower??? Will think on that and see how I feel on the day.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Good Time...Yes, I had one

Get the party poppers out and it's jelly and ice cream all round (c'ept for those who don't like jelly and ice cream).

Strange innit? The bringer of doom writing that she had a good time but it's true. I know cos I was there.

When I woke up yesterday was very jittery about going out and more so about where I was going. Dr J was taking me to the flix. I haven't been to the flix for ages and I haven't been to Luton (doing anything social) for quite some time either. I thought that I might be challenging myself too much but there are times when you have to try to know where the limits are ...particularly as I am a person who seems to be in biggie type flux and/or stressed to fekk alot of the time.

I sat about procrastinating for a couple of hours. Mostly doing stuff on the internet but when I checked the clock at 10.00 am thought it was time to get my backside in gear. From then on things happened...positive things.

I walked to the hairdresser's (for my free wash and blow dry) was very lively in there. One woman was having a trial run of her wedding day hairdo and another loud and proud woman was taking over the place with her anecdotes. She said I looked like Magenta Divine. I think that is her name. The lady who used to present a music programme. I could see why...the black bob hair do, shades and aging punk gear but Ms Divine is about 6 foot tall and 9 stone the similarities were more to do with how I accessorised my body. Anyway, I was happy to be 'included' in all the banter and with hair looking good walked into Dunstable.

Before I go on, want to clarify that the sunglasses aren't there to try and make myself look hip....I got some prescription shades to try and prevent migraines. Overall, I think they are working (but later in taxi on way back from all the jollies, the driver asked me if I always wear sunglasses....I thought that was a bit of a funny question but have been asked funnier ones).

So I got to Dunstable and met up with Dr J and we got a bus to Luton. Another first in a long time. Apart from getting stressy because the driver waited 20 minutes before he decided it was time to move on, was fine. Enjoyed the journey and didn't get wiry as more people got on the bus.

We went shopping. Well, I went shopping and Dr J came too. He hates it but because I had some birthday money pretended he was okay with that. I didn't go in many shops. Usually is better for me to shop when I know what I want. In the end, I bought a retro bag from a market stall and have decided to keep the rest of the money until I want something in particular.

We walked to The Galaxy Centre and bought the tickets. We had planned to see 'Star Trek'.The next showing was 2 hours later and so we decided to see 'Angels and Demons' instead and then we went off for munchies.

I won't pan the film because I was enjoying the experience of being in the cinema and didn't want to ruin that. It turned out not to be my cup of tea. The trailer for 'Dillinger' (Johnny Depp as lead) looked good but that could be because Mr Depp looks good. Putting it on the 'To See List'.

We came out of the cinema around 7.30 and were both knackered so I treated us to a taxi home. Dr J had paid for the tickets and meals so fairsees sharesees.

In the taxi we were mellowed out...I said that we'd both done really well (that most probably sounds an odd thing to have said but for the pair of us was no small achievement). Dr J said that he nearly lost it in the pub when people were too loud...for him. (When people talk loudly he thinks they are talking about him). I had noticed he was getting paranoid at the time but thought best to let him roll with it rather than intervene. I have learnt not to say anything because he then thinks I am picking on him. He worked it through and that was that and the rest of the day was blip free.

Nothing more to add because the actions spoke for themselves.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The saviour of democracy or someone fighting to save his own arse?

Messiah of the week has to be Michael Martin. I know the bloke is clinging on to the ropes, having taken a beating from MPs (who will do anything to get 'The Telegraph' of their backs..wishful thinking chaps and chappesses).

However, he should have thought more about how animals behave in packs whilst he was climbing the tree of political success . For some reason I am thinking of CJ ..the original Reggie Perrin character...saying "I didn't get where I am today by staying put and being the boy from the collery works" Being alpha male...well of a sorts..takes some getting to and the pack will turn, when the alpha male is no longer able to deliver what they want. The pack will turn because, in times of crisis, they will bite any one of the pack that it suits their purpose to bite.

At the moment the Labour pack aren't openly taking chunks out of Gordon Brown but they will (behind the scenes, the arse of his trousers are missing).

Back to Mr Martin...someone should have reminded him that sometimes it is better to keep your gob shut..rather than accuse others of enouraging the media (wrongly) to seek transparency from the government.

I think transparency should be there. A fundamental principal that governance is based on.It shouldn't be the media's job to hunt it out but if nobody else can, then I feel there is justification for the media to do so.

There is an opportunity for change here..maybe it will all amount to nothing really. The public will be outraged for a while...the politicians will make promises. A body will be set up and then after a while the rot will set back in but it is an opportunity for the public to be heard and for some change (that makes a real difference) to take place.

David Cameron is asking for parliament to be dissolved. Drastic but seems quite appropriate, although I can't help thinking it will play to his political advantage rather than being what is in the public's best interest. I think the public should be able to decide whether or not parliament should be dissolved, in a democracy. Whatever happens Mr Cameron is setting himself up as the new Alpha male. Alpha female...nowhere in sight.

Monday, 18 May 2009

On the Campaign Trail...straggling well behind

I got the campaign leaflet from the Tories. It reminded me that I have 4 votes in the upcoming local elections. Wow! I feel spoilt.

The councillor for my ward is a Tory (and I think has quite a strong hold). He seems to be popular. There has been some re-generation funding here but nothing that means much to me. It all seems to be for young families and after school clubs (which is good but doesn't cater for the whole community). Anything for old people is run by the church and that pretty much consists of a Monday lunch club.

The only thing in his campaign spiel that I related to was the push to get a local post office back. I miss having a local post office because is a trek into town when I need to go there. Not sure how the older members of this community have coped without the post office but they have had no choice.

I want to be part of the democratic process..although the loony vote doesn't count for much (unless you are of some use in a government reform campaign) so I have written to the councellor. Basically asking about 'care in the community' whatever happened to it.

I will write to all the candidates (who bother to send me a leaflet with their contact details). Dependant on whether I get responses and what the responses are..I will then decide which box(es) to put my 'X' in.

That's as fair as I can get.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Birthdays do taste better with Lychees

Overall it was a pretty good birthday. The lychees were delish!

There was a blip and it was a very strange place. Not that he is ever far from it but he was acting like he was 'gone' yesterday. Hang me for the cruel bitch part of me but I was rather angry because it was like he wanted to be centre stage with his illness. When judging people, you can only ever go on what is said and behaviours..on what you know of a person really (I don't really have much of a clue anymore to what is going on..only that I believe it is mostly horrid for Dad)...but lately Dad is becoming more spiteful. Being continually ill doesn't make for 'niceness', it can twist you (it twists me) but, and again, hang me if I am wrong, there is an element of personal responsiblity that when someone has capacity should be taken up and acted on. Then again, I am not sure if Dad has elements of dementia...or I can't really say I understand. Certainly my empathic side doesn't seem to be empathing at all well.

I try to remain unemotive...because to give in to emotions would mean I would be screaming/crying/gnawing at the carpet. When Dad said he wanted bottles of vodka and paracetamol for his supper, I replied that was not an appropriate thing to say today. Not that it is any more or less appropriate than any other day. He feels what he feels etc. But for that one day, I had hoped he would at least make the effort. I was!!!

Judging someone from your own value system is a bit daft really....cos people will be what they are..or whatever their illness makes them. Plus I can't stand on any moral high ground with my track record.

Dr J, uncharacteristically, commented and Dad apologised for his ignorance. I said he wasn't ignorant. It was illness but today was a bit different, for me. He, Dad, then started singing and then got snidey about how well I was doing and how lucky I am compared to him. I thought "Fekk that. I am not biting any bait". I ignored him and sat quietly..whilst Dr J tried to fix the roller blind (that may well become a posting in it's own right).

After that, went back home...was a bit mixed up for a while and nearly gave into temptation to loz it away. I didn't. Dr J was really supportive and he ordered in an Indian meal, wich was delish.

The positives of the day (Always best to end on a pozzie, when you can)were that I got sent some money through the post and went and had my hair done. The hairdresser gave me a free head massage and conditioning treatment. I got some lovely cards and a new portable cd player and silver bracelet from Dr J (as well as the home made choccy cake with choc fudge filling, choc icing and choc squares on top). My fav present was the pink and black stripey (above the knee) socks from a friend. They are totally fab!!! Don't get me wrong, I love all my presents but sometimes it is the unexpected ones which hit a funky spot.

Em is coming over today and am thinking about getting the board games out. We also have a dance mat for her playstation. Been a long time since we used that and I am up for a bop.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Who actually wants the public's vote?

Have been chundling, cos that is what I do, the relevance of voting in this country.

After watching 'The Wright Stuff', felt guilted out. Panel members and members of public phoning in insisting it is essential that people vote..that not to vote means that a person loses the right to comment on what goes on (post election). Hmmm...I don't actually agree with that (not as an absolute) because if the person believes the only choices they have are bad ones...then something else is fundamentally wrong with the 'democratic' process. Which is a massive question/debate, which I am not going to attempt to condensce into this posting.

There is another angle in regards to voting, for me. In that my Mum believed it was a right a woman should carry out considering how hard women had to fight to get that right in the past. Another hmmmm....

Thinking about the fortchoming European elections.. am rethinking my stance in regards to whether I vote or not.

I am interested to see who the local candidates are and what they have to say, in regards to what they are going to do (should they be elected). So far, all I have had is one campaign leaflet put through my door. It was from the UKIP candidate. I read it. It focussed on employment and immigration. I think they are both very important issues, and the former more important due to financial climate.

I do have views on immigration. Views that are most probably not popular. I can live with that, because, for me, it is about population and space and then trying to sustain the population that is here. I don't see it as a race issue because I think whoever governs this country should be more stringant in regards to influx [full stop] rather than 'cherry picking' from a white supremist perspective.

However, I will not be voting for UKIP (even though they seem the only candidate who is proactively seeking to be voted for). I won't vote for them because I don't think shifting to the right is going to make for a better Britain.

I would like to see candidates out and about as well as getting their campaign leaflets. I want the opportunity to ask them what they intend to do..and also pose some questions in regards to my concerns. I wonder if Labour aren't bothering to canvas because they think they are already on a hiding to nothing. That is pretty cowardly, if that is what they are using as a reason not to campaign. I am not anti Labour Party, in this regard. I have yet to see anything from the Tories, The Lib Dems or other smaller parties. I am particularly keen to read what The Green Party has to say (if there is a local candidate). I would also be interested in the views of an independant candidate (again should they exist).

I don't suppose, as a manic depressive who hasn't recovered and isn't paying taxes along with the rest of the workforce of this country, my vote counts for much...but it counts to me.

It counts enough for me to want politicians to actively canvas (more so with a view to listening to what people say and acting on that).

I fear the BNP are going to do well, through the protest vote. That will be tragic. Hitler's party did really well and initially due to the cripped financial state Germany was in. Ultimately, the initial democracy was replaced by dictatorship, segregation, genocide and a world war. I don't think that is the answer to the political dilemmas within this country and it certainly won't make politicians more trustworthy.

My view is that a government should always be more fearful of it's people than the people are of it...although the ideal would be mutual respect. That seems an ideal that will remain just that but is an ideal worth having.

DIY Dentistry, The Zoo and Lychees

Tuesday night was spent prodding around my teeth and gums with medicated stick things. Really a vain attempt to get my facial orifice in some kind of half decent order. Yes! I should go to the dentist. I should but I won't...until I am in absolute agony that overides things like nasty flashbacks and the fear of being awake whilst someone hurts me...and just getting a whiff of the chemically smell sends me into a paranoid state. When it comes to dentist's visits I am an utter whimp. Plus I know that when I go (and I will have to go at some point....whenever) I will get alot of condiscending comments about the state I have allowed things to get in and will most probably be asked if I know what a toothbrush is.

So it was me and a box of toothpicks and I won't go into serious details because I am sure there is a general view that actually talking about what is done inside the mouth is a taboo area. In fact talking about dentists is pretty taboo. All I will say is that alot of bits of things came away and when I woke up the next morning my throat was dry as sand, my tongue felt swollen and I had one of several ulcers appearing (totally grosse stuff). I did contemplate (for all of 5 minutes) making an appointment with hell but opted for salt water mouth rinses and hope that whatever I have churned up settles down sharpish.

Yesterday was spent at the zoo. Friend and I became members (after 3 visits in a year we will have got our money back). Is value for me because I like it there. Lots of open space (out in the countryside) and animals, pretty much doing their own thing. Have long given up on my hope that there will be enough natural habitats for animals to remain in their rightful places although ideally and morally that is where they should be. It is man who has and will continue to destroy what there is, I am pleased that some of my species are prepared to try and conserve what is left of other species.

Anyway justifications for visit aside, I got out and about and it was an even better visit because it wasn't packed out. Some coach trips from schools, some parents with little un's in pushchairs, some couples and Debs and me.

My highlights were the Lemars and Giraffes. Usually, the highlight is going to see Azizah and I was particularly excited because she had a calf last year and I was keen as mustard to see him. Sadly, when we went to the Elephant section there were signs up saying that Donaldson (the calf) had died on Saturday. I felt pretty shite. I suppose because I have built up some human notion of emotional bonding with Azizah.. Is all twaddle really because animals aren't like humans and is all about how humans think animals are rather than what they are.

I wondered if she is grieving in her own way. I know elephants do grieve but apart from what I have seen on documentaries and read, I know little of it. Azizah was a rescue elephant, after her mother was shot when she was a calf. As I have written before, the trauma of that left her with an affliction in which she swings her head from side to side. More evident when she is getting stressed.

I saw her out with the other elephants yesterday. She was separate to them. Like she had chosen to remain private. I didn't see her swinging her head from side to side. I guess that is a good sign because the zoo staff have been working with her to get her to control that...although I don't like the control of one species over another...I do like to think that she no longer does it because she is no longer controlled by the trauma she had as a calf.

Anyway, I am imposing my own values on what I think Azizah is feeling and I don't know really but is sad, for me, that Donaldson died.

Was sort of deflated and not up for much else, although I didn't want to pressure Debs. She said her back was starting to hurt so I suggested we go see the farm animals (her favs) and then head off. Which we duly did.

I was knackered out by then. Am not used to the outside (even an outside place I like to be) and when we got back to Debs' for a cuppa all I really wanted to do was sleep. I thought when I got home I would sleep but the phone never stopped ringing and then I couldn't sleep and became pre-occupied with the ulcerated mouth situation. It doesn't take much to get me from holding it together to neurosis overload. Dr J rang and I was impatient with him. Was not him but that I didn't want to talk to anyone anymore. He said I seemed distracted. I said I didn't feel so good and was heading off. I am too pre-occupied with other people's comfort. I felt a heel and later rang back and apologised for abruptness but really if someone wants a bit of space and calm, surely if they say that then they should be given it. Oh, I dunno maybe when I am wiry I can't see anything for what it is.

Anyway, today is my birthday. Last week I was mentally cancelling it. Thinking of ways to avoid it ....only making it public amongst friends and loved ones would serve to make more of an issue of it. 'The lady doth protest too much' and all that. So I let it all be. I did decide to treat myself when I did the internet shop. Lately, I have been cutting back on what I order because the price of food seems to go up and on a weekly basis but this week I thought "Sod it" and ordered lychees. A rare treat indeed.

I am accepting my birthday with good grace. I shall endeavour not to be crabby and I shall eat my lychees and be grateful that I am lucky enough to have them to eat... but first, I shall return to my bed for a little snooze.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Beds and Luton Mental Health PartnershipTrust conducts investigation but doesn't make it public.

I wonder why?

I am referring to the investigation Beds and Luton Mental Health Partnership carried out in regards to the care they provided to Ikechukwu Tennyson Obih....The man who killed PC Jon Henry in 2007.

The investigation has been made public, following a Freedom of Information Act request by 'BBC Three Counties Radio'.

The following comes from the BBC Website:

It was revealed the trust had poor communication, management and training.

Secure hospital

Obih, of Winsdon Road, Luton, denied murdering Pc Henry but admitted killing him on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was found guilty of murder at Luton Crown Court in March.

He was also found guilty of attempting to murder a window cleaner.

Obih, who had been detained in the secure mental hospital in Rampton, Nottinghamshire, since his arrest was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack, his defence team said.

The court was told he was diagnosed with the condition in 2005 after suffering problems from abusing alcohol and cannabis.

Three Counties Radio has appealed against the decision by the trust to withhold key information into the case.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health Partnership Trust said it had a serious duty to obtain a balance between public openness and patient confidentiality.

It added in a statement: "The Trust extends its deepest sympathies to people affected by the tragic events in Luton Town Centre two years ago.

"The Trust is now under new interim management and many major improvements are being made to services across the organisation.

"The Trust is co-operating fully with the East of England Strategic Health Authority's independent investigation of the events which took place in 2007."

I am not sure what I make of the comments made by the Beds and Luton MH Partnership Trust in regards to the balance between patient confidentiality and public interest. Is more a case of 'witholding what is in the publc interest'. I think there is a case for 'corporate manslaughter' (or whatever the NHS equivalent is) and the previous senior management should be answerable....rather than having been moved, discreetly, out of the line of fire.

Just where is the accountability in all this? At least 'Three Counties Radio' weren't scared to ask questions. More of that kind of journalism wouldn't go amiss.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Sometimes, it has to be about boundaries and having some common ground that doesn't keep disintergrating

Having fretted a bit too much (plenty of guilt tripping along the way) to a point yesterday where I found clarity. For the first time in a long time. Not sure it will remain but at least I got some.

Was round Dad's and he was getting pretty confused about advocacy. He was telling me about an advocate who had come to the residential care home he was in at the time. He had asked the person about his pension and said he was "Disappointed that the advocate knew nothing about pensions". I am not 100% sure what an advocate is actually supposed to do or know (I know what I'd like them to do) but don't think a MH advocate should be expected to know about pensions.

It is about roles and knowing what a person can and can't do and people being clear about that. For sure when it comes to personal relationships (and depending on situations) nothing is black and white but people do still need to have some sense of where they stand, who they are and what they are able to bring to the relationship. Things have gone beyond blurry for me and I need boundaries back and not just so Dad is clearer about our relationship but so I am too.

Yesterday, I felt a bit more like a daughter and less like a guardian or more that I was letting go of chunks of the guardian role. This is in the hope that when the advocate is in place (and hoping that comes to fruition soon) that I can let go a bit more. Maybe a lot more but that depends.

I did feel the pangs of compromise coming back when Dad asked me about the 'nicey nicey' letter. I really didn't want to comment on that but Dad was getting in a pickle about it and saying that he didn't want to be forced to write anything. The only advice I thought was 'objective' to give was that he tell the support worker he doesn't want to write anything until he has an advocate who can help him with that. Even that smacked of me being placed in a decision making role but it was the best of all the options I could think of.

After that, and Dr J attempting to put a roller blind up in Dad's kitchen (obletives coming thick and fast in regards to wrong size screws and not having the right tools etc) the 3 of us played Scrabble. At last, we have found some common ground in which we can actually do something postive and enjoy ourselves. Is becoming a bit of a Sunday ritual.....Cake and Scrabble. I don't expect much more than that but if that is as good as it gets (pending divine intervention...yeah right) then that'll do ..... better than a prod in the ear with a red hot poker.

Need to swat up on me cake making skills:

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Bad Evidence, The Law of Averages, Experience and Iffy Outcomes

Have come back from a Punk Psychologist's blog. Yeah, it was the punk bit that really got me. :>)

The posting there was about homeopathy and a theory that it could actually be used effectively or that (with a fair amount of tweaking) be more effective. Well, I think that was the crutch of the issue. Not being academic, I can't always see the X's from the Y's.

The posting was also about, which is more in line with my thinking, 'research' that is bandied about as bona fide and is often based on pre set agendas rather than a more objective look at what the outcomes are.

I liked one of the responses, with the quote, 'even bad evidence constitutes as evidence'. I guess so because then there is an opportunity (should people accept the mission) that others who are more objective will look at the evidence and carry out research of their own. Well, as another theory it sounds plausable.

I thought about the evidence in regards to what has been going on this last year and half with Dad/MH Services and now Social Services and why I am now at the point where I can no longer provide him the support (playing Devil's advocate) that he needs.

Driven by despair on Friday, I rang my care co-ordinator, having a mini rant. Her advice was to get Dad an advocate. She gave me a number (for an advocacy referral service) which I rang and was advised that if Dad was happy to have an advocate they would seek the most appropriate service (either older age advocacy or Rethink Mental Health). The last time I tried to get an advocacy service for myself from Rethink (many moons ago), was when I was in acute care. I got an answerphone message saying I would be contacted within a few days and I never heard from them again. So am a bit concerned that we are already on a quest for a non service. still, one has to try.

Dad, now realising that I am burnt out, has agreed to have an advocate. Later in the day, he discussed this with his support worker who told him the advocacy service was "Useless". Interesting that, interesting because there seems a lack of insight into the mechanics and output of the organisation she works for whilst happily passing on messages of incompetence about another organisation.

Whilst on the subject of 'MH staff input', Dad also told me that the support worker is bringing round a letter for him to sign, in which it says he is happy with the care he is getting????? He said he thought that MH services were trying to drive a wedge between us (him and me).

If that is the case it beggars belief but there needs to be objectivity in any 'worthy' evidence base....So objectively, either Dad is telling porkies and I don't think it would be in his best interest to make up things like that or MH staff are 'concerned' about something (something like covering their own arses).

For sure, if Dad is happy with his care then he should sign it but considering he is ringing me every time something is wrong (which is happening on a frequent basis) I don't think that is the case. For his part he keeps saying nothing will make him better. I don't think it is my remit to try and work that through or provide appropriate care in that regard... I believe it is the remit of MH Services (along with other teams)to provide treatment and care that helps. I don't believe that they can make him better (all singing/dancing)....but I believe a more multi-disciplinary (as in team) approach to his care would make things more comfortable for him and actually I think signing that piece of paper will give MH Services the power to do little and without being questioned.

It is all the accumulative things (that aren't so little that add up to a big mess that has to keep being sorted...with me pushing and pushing)...that has led me to where I am ...Constantly mind fekked and migraines coming thick and fast.

Ex: Dad has agreed to have ECT. I have said "Your choice Dad" but am concerned about how he is going to get to ECT and back. I am not able to take responsibility for him in that regard. I don't mind (when able) going to GP visits with him but being responsible for his care after he has had ECT is not okay. I am no medical expert. He reckons that it will involve him using a taxi!!!

Do people taxi back from having ECT treatments? Is that medically/ethically acceptable for someone old and living on their own? Should it not be the responsibility of MH services to provide support for him, after he has had that treatment or get care support in place?

That is just one issue in regards to his on-going care needs. And that is why he needs (we need) an advocate because in the absence of agreements for MH/Care support (as and when) Dad turns to me and I am not and cannot be responsible for the level of care he needs.

I am wishing(rather than having any faith) that the advocacy support is good because I can see this all going even more tits up again. Another case of experience over hope!!!

NB: Apologies for repetition and rambling but needs must

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Am just about to write a letter to Dad's Social Worker letting her know how happy I am!!!!

Now what to do with the 165 million quid? I can invest it although think it might be safer to build another room in my flat to keep it in. I can go on a world cruise....Even better I can buy a cruise liner. Obviously, I will have to move because you can't keep 165 million quiet on a council estate (and not with the sort of media attention I am going to get). Perhaps I could have plastic surgery to change my appearance so nobody knows it is me, anymore.

Definatley going to build a customised care home for Dad with 24/7 care staff (and form filling is banned). He loves the sea so would build another one there for him. I think I would satisfy myself with an annexe, in each..after all I will have the cruise liner....and be busy sussing out the seven (and many other) wonders of the world most of the time.

Em's uni costs are to be sorted and if she still wants to do an MA in a year, she will have the choice..which she hasn't got now. Of course, she will have a new car and so on but don't want her doing a Paris Hilton. I want her most loyal friends to be other than the canine variety.

There's the charity in which ones to donate to. OOOOH! I know which ones I won't donate to. In fact, think I will use a big chunk of the money and go on the Secret Millionaire tv show and give it to those warm and fluffy people who haven't got a pot to piddle in but are nurturing their communities. Actually, I'm going to invest in some serious research on where the money has already gone in regards to charities and then make my decisions but young carers will do alright by me.

I would sue the local MH Trust and it wouldn't matter what their lawyers threw at me, which would rectify the balance of power somewhat (the power being where the money is). In fact, i would offer hefty legal support for anyone who has been damaged by neglect..and I reckon that would be the money gone. can't take it with you when you go!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

What makes you happy? ... it's some kind of sick joke

Ha! Ha!

Am laughing before I even start this posting and that is due to the irony of it all.

The title was prompted by a question posed to me yesterday and followed on from another meeting about Dad's care. This one was a CPA review but they all seem the same, with the end results being not much of any use.

I lost it. I don't know exactly why I lost it when I did but I really lost it. It wasn't long into the meeting. Dad was sitting there, looking all withered and small and saying how nothing has changed and he still feels so bad and he was crying.

Prior to the meeting, I had intented to keep schtum and that is because only a week ago Dad was saying how he felt bullied into things (not quite sure what things because he doesn't do much???)....I didn't want to be part of any bullying.

However, I think it was the futility of it all. Sitting there, with Dad and 5 MH/Social Care professionals, and the shrink turned to me and said "have you anything to say?". At that point I burst into tears and couldn't stop crying so I excused myself and left the room.

The crying continued. I tried to gather myself. I tried to think what I could contribute, what point to any of it and I couldn't think of anything and then more crying.

A couple of members of staff passed me and asked if I was okay. I said "Yes". What point saying "No"? There is sometimes nothing that can be done when what could be done hasn't been done already.

I remember staring out a window and seeing a tree swaying in the wind and thinking "If only I was like a tree" but I am not. I can't bend with the winds and change direction as maybe I order to protect my foundation, stop the boughs breaking. I don't know how and anyway, I am a human being and a seriously compromised one at that.

So the meeting ended and Dad was ushered out by staff. First thing that happens is he comes up and tells me he has agreed to have ECT and I cry again. He asks if I am upset by that. It is way beyond that for me. I say I can't talk about it. His support worker says that is something Dad and me can discuss at home. I don't want to discuss it at home. I had to get away so I made apologies for not being able to contain myself and went outside.

This is where the title becomes more relevant....His social worker (whom had told us previously she had signed Dad off but turned up at the meeting) came outside and offered me a ciggy. I duly took it and then she asked me why my heart is breaking and what would make me happy. I couldn't answer...I didn't know what to say.

She asked if winning the lottery or going on a world cruise would make me happy.?????????????????

I said all I wanted was peace and quiet. She then said that if I wasn't careful it would be me having a breakdown!!!! If I wasn't careful!!! How can I be any more careful? Perhaps if services cared more Dad would be getting better support and I would be able to be a bit more carefree rather than careful. I have had it up to here (points to ceiling) with being careful!!!

I think she clocked that the pep talk wasn't having desired effect and headed off.

Fekk knows how much later I went back and found Dad sitting with his support worker. I asked if they could ring a taxi and Dad told me he loved me. I told him I loved him.

I cried all the way home in the taxi. I know that didn't do Dad any favours but I couldn't stop myself.

As we got out of the car, the taxi driver, whom I know from previous taxi trips, commented that I didn't seem happy today. 10 out of 10 for observation! I said that it wasn't my best day and he told me to try to be happy. I said "Thanks"..another irrelevant comment that allowed me to escape without more compromise.

Dad stayed with me for a few hours. We were mostly quiet. We went for a walk to the local shops (I needed movement and nicotine)...Dad needed groceries.

He did tell me that they have put him on a waiting list for more sheltered accommodation. That sums up what our lives have become. His life particularly, with me entrenched in it somewhere.

He asked me if I was happy with that. No! I am not happy with that (how could I be when he is so fucking miserable and it is all relentless?) but I said that it is about what makes him comfortable and if he is comfortable then I am okay with that. Just like the ECT. Whatever he thinks, or hopes, can help him is okay with me.

As a friend said "There can be no such thing as responsiblity when there is no power" and that is how it is.

And what would actually make me happier (cos I think happiness is transient rather than a static state of being) is for Dad to be safe, to have some kind of social interaction (outside of me and MH professionals)that suits him, some sense of value in himself and for me to be able to breath without worrying so much about him. It doesn't seem much to ask for but it is.

Happiness my arse!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The one really good thing about the Labour Party and something they got so very wrong

A friend of mine (who Twitters) said that the PM's wife twitters too and she has been reading the updates. The latest being that Mrs Brown always travels economy class to save tax payers' money (well more of it than other high profile politicians' hubbies and wives).

I am mostly ambivalent about Mrs Brown but feel that is more appropriate than what I felt about Mrs Blair. As in I don't think the spouse or partner of a leading politician is any business of mine...only when they start frauding the system. However, I have warmed to her on the basis that she isn't some 'celeb' style media hogging hag and that in the main she seems to leave the politics to her husband (which is actually his job).

So for me, she is ,at present, the only decent thing attached to a government which (from various accounts I am getting) is going to lose the next election and considering I am ambivalent about her that ain't saying much. Maybe I am not that ambivalent because I bothered to write about her. Ha! Ha!

And so I come to the yang of my yin in regards to people I admire. In tv world it has to be Jeremy Paxman. I like his bluntness and tenacity. Perhaps some of that is exaggerated when dealing with politicians but like to think that it is mostly how he is.

I also adored Miranda Richardson as "Queenie" in 'Black Adder because the portrayal was sublime.

Heading away from tvland and back to my reality - I admire Em's Nan for being a loving and compassionate constant (steady as she goes) in both Em's and my life. Despite having an ex husband who was the local bike (I nicknamed him 'Chopper' for all the wrong reasons). She is proof that women can make it on their own and bring up a child, in their middle to old age without taking sides or making the natural mother feel like an utter shite (I was capable of doing that by myself) in the process.

And back to what is so wrong about The Labour Party. A story in 'The News of The World'. ANOTHER newspaper, not normally bothered with. Then again, I don't respect any newspaper these days...only the odd story with the odd truth.

It lead with the headline "NHS execs collar £2.6bn" and went on to describe how bosses are now outnumbering consultants (and midwives!!!!)

The article provided a league table of shame and it was no surprise to me to find Beds and Luton MH Partnership Trust at the bottom...I mean the top that is in fact the bottom!!!... with 8.5% (7 million quid) of its total budget being spent on 'desk-jockeys' , with chief executive Paul Mullen who was on a handsome £115,000 a year. Sadly, they haven't kept up with the times as the Trust now has an acting CEO, although have to wonder if his salary is more or less than his predecessor.

I can remember writing that there will come a time (and not too far into the distant future) where the chiefs would outnumber the Indians. Well, it has come round too fekkin' soon and this is one of the reasons why I won't be voting Labour next time around.

I was going to vote Tory because of my local MP and as a protest vote but sorry to say that all my MP seems to be doing is writing letters to CEO's that they treat with utter contempt. ...resolving fekk all for my Dad and myself. As for a protest vote..well....I don't want more of the same (only with a different spin). I am most likely to turn up on voting day and write "Same shit, different names" on my voting slip. Okay, so only me and the adjudicating peoples will know but I am not going to vote for anyone who will change so little that is wrong and pretend so much that they will.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Excommunications ..and other things to do with relationships

Have been away in the Hinterlands with myself. Actually thought I was making some progress in the earlier part of the week and I reckon if a medical personage had seen me they would say that I have been. Managed to curb Loz use (although is another on going battle), got out everyday for walkies and started to make tracks towards promoting cards and sussing out craft fairs.

Midweek it all went a bit boobs akimbo. Dr J's birthday was Wednesday and although I thought he might be spending it down the pub, had hoped that it would go relatively okayish..his end. Was not to be. His relationship with his family has always been strained (there is a history of child abuse that has left him scarred and his family in denial). Such is the problem with 'times of celebration', they often rake up the past and rather than celebrating, people (me for sure) find themselves swamped by those things that hurt the most. Dr J, gutted that his folks didn't send him a card went into a downward spiral and when his father turned up with 2 bottles of cider and a tenner the next day, it was too late for him.

From where I was standing (too close for comfort and too distant to provide any real comfort), I thought it was better that he accepted the offerings rather than let his emotions take over (and that is because, ultimately, it is he who gets hurt) but that is always much easier said than done (especially when it isn't about me)..certainly when I said "At least they actually bothered to give you something" he lost it with me and accused me of being on their side. If anything, I despise them for what they did to him as a child and how they refuse to take any responsibility for that...but it isn't about me. I thought about saying "I am actually trying to help you deal with it in the here and now" but knew anything I said would be wrong. So I shut up and listened to him raging. I stopped listening Friday, when was clear that there was a cycle of hurt, anger, hurt that I wasn't part of and was perpetuating itself. I do understand is much easier to rage at someone (other than the people who are responsible)but I also understand that if you can't do something about it then is best not to pretend you can.

The outcome of this latest sorry saga (and acid phone calls and texts back and forth) is that his father has disowned him (for the squillionth time) which means his family have disowned him because they are all scared to death of the man. Yep, is despicable behaviour...and Dr J didn't help himself by giving his father ammunition but some people don't need ammo..they are arseholes anyway!!!

The problem solver in me says "Fekk em" because he is better off without them..only when you are severed from your family there isn't always much else to rely on particularly if you are a person who struggles with social situations and is paranoid to the max around other people. Some people learn social skills, some people do it because it becomes the only way to survive outside of your family (or is a natural development from being in a supportive family) and some people are so damaged that they can't because their family has been their safety net and destruction at the same time.

For sure...there must be a better way but that would involve some heavy 'family' realisation/counselling that I doubt Dr J's father would volunteer for. Is all about the lightbulb wanting to change because it realises it was faulty in the first place!!!! And I sense the counselling should have happened way back. Perhaps it is never too late but I think this might only be resolved with an ending to a high drama relationship film where the father is on his dying bed apologising (making his peace so he gets to heaven). Is it cruel of me to want it to be happening now? yep it is, but I have no care for his father. Maybe the bloke is sick...but I don't think so. Some people are fundamentally vicious and controlling.

It got me to thinking about me...and being the half militant/half soft arse I am and whether my behaviour damages my relationships with people. The answer is yes but my situation is very different to Dr J's. My family has disintegrated and I see it as my job (in the absence of) to try and hold what's left of it together...whilst all the time trying to hold me together. Is tricky stuff and maybe medication can partly help in that (or therapy) but I have to say I seriously doubt it. Some things take much more than medication and talking to make okay. Some things you just have to endure.

And so is bank holiday Monday. Just snother day for me and am hoping the forecasted rain stays away because I want to be out in the garden with my book. As a byline, the book is called 'December' and is superb. Is about a family (Dad, Mum and Daughter - who has stopped speaking) who are fighting to hold each other together, at the same time as trying to hold on to themselves. Perhaps is not so dissimilar to some of what I feel but the writer is gifted in getting into each individual's psyche so I empathise with all the characters and not just one.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Benefits and Work and Auntie Beeb apologises through gritted teeth

Below is an update from Benefits and Work website on claims made against them by the The Daily Mail and BBC.

30 April 2009

It’s been a very long battle, but after many months of dogged pursuit by Benefits and Work’s barrister and director Holiday Whitehead, and the eventual involvement of Ofcom, we have finally won an apology from the BBC over a radio broadcast about us last year.

Regular readers will remember that in July last year the Mail on Sunday published a story accusing us of “selling cynical tips on how to squeeze the most disability benefit from the Government –for £95 a time” and suggesting that the site was for “scroungers”.

In September of last year, after the involvement of the Press Complaints Commission we received a letter of apology from the Mail on Sunday. (Mail on Sunday editor apologises to Benefits and Work )

In October of last year we also received an apology from Tory MP Philip Davies (Tory MP apologises to Benefits and Work ) who had been quoted in the Mail on Sunday article as saying that:

‘As far as I’m concerned people setting up websites like these should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting benefit fraud.

'Genuine cases don’t need to employ a service like this. It’s for fiddlers.’

On the same day that the Mail on Sunday ran its story, Radio Two’s Michael Ball’s Sunday Brunch programme covered it in its review of the Sunday papers. Benefits and Work considered that Eve Pollard’s comments about us on the programme went even further than the Mail on Sunday’s when she alleged that:

“ tell you how to fiddle your way to getting a disability allowance.”

We duly asked for an apology.

However, the initial treatment by the BBC of our complaint was so appalling - including lost correspondence, failure to follow their own procedures and misinformation from BBC staff - that in August of last year the Divisional Advisor wrote to us apologising for the way the complaint had been handled and undertaking to provide additional training to one staff member involved.

Unfortunately an apology about the actual broadcast was still not forthcoming. Despairing of the high-handed treatment we felt we were receiving from BBC staff, who seemed to consider that they had complete freedom to repeat accusations about us without making any attempt to verify or add responsible journalistic caveats to their reporting, we turned to Ofcom.

Following Ofcom’s intervention we have now received an unreserved letter of apology from the BBC, which under the terms of the agreement, we are not allowed to publish.

It’s worth noting that whilst all this was going on we were approached for help and advice by three BBC TV and radio programmes seeking pro-claimant information and content - a service we provide for free.

For us here at Benefits and Work, it was shocking to discover the level of complacency and, in our view, sheer arrogance which exists at the BBC when dealing with complaints by ordinary people rather than complaints by media personalities or politicians.

The fact that the Mail on Sunday behaved more reasonably in dealing with our complaint than did the BBC says a great deal about the way that a taxpayer funded institution can grow to consider itself so much more important than the people it serves.

We look forward to the day when the licence fee is finally abolished and the BBC is forced to raise its standards to the point where they match that of a tabloid newspaper.

From a personal perspective, I think there should be an independant agency that helps people with issues around benefits because what benefits people get (that they are entitled to) depends on how supportive government agencies and charities are (in their local area) and more so how savvied up people who are close to them are. Is still a case of the most vulnerable and isolated people getting the least support in regards to this and other aspects of their care.

As for Auntie B, well it could just be me and my tastes but gone are the days of being able to find cutting edge documentaries, quality dramas or even half decent comedy on her mainstream tv channels. Beeb 4 isn't bad and has been known to showcase some class comedy but fings ain't wot they used to be, not since the goverment became Auntie's Nanny.

I actually don't mind paying for what I watch but find myself watching non mainstream channels more and more to watch anything of any relevance to my tastes.

A different case when it comes to the radio. I enjoy Three Counties Radio because of local stuff of interest and because it doesn't have chart pop crap on a loop system and am listening to Radio 4 more these days. Perhaps people should be able to pay for what they watch or listen to (depending on usage) because one thing I can't stand is programmes being interrupted every 15 minutes with advertising or every 30 minutes with news updates and I hate having pay so much (license fee) for so little of anything I want.