Monday, 16 November 2009


The problem with winter is that it is cold and wet. The problem is that the grip is wearing out on my shoes. The problem is that I keep falling over. Once a week in the last two weeks. The first time I toppled off the kerb; it was wet and my shoes had only passable grip - the problem was The Stick is on my left and I fell to my right. Twisted my ankle and spent all weekend keeping the weight off.

The same thing happened this weekend... Friday, I wasn't really paying attention to my walking and slipped and fell - again The Stick is on my left and I fell to the right. Twisted my ankle (again) and had to buy an elastic bandage on my way to work. That helped and sitting down the rest of the day means it is only a bit stiff now.

In addition there has been a lot of random pain the last three weeks. Anywhere there is a muscle appears to be fair game. Hot water bottles soothe but don't cure; same for pain killers. Sleep and a large glass of wine appear to be the best solution!

I'm really looking forward to the cold weather. My internal thermostat is busted beyond belief. I seem to spend the whole time sweating and melting. I'm flinging open doors and windows all over the place. If this carries on once winter hits for real I will definitely have to take it to the Doctor.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Can you tell me where your disabled toilet is?

Disability comes in all shapes and sizes. Disabled people in wheel chairs, the ambulant disabled, those with vision difficulties, those with hearing difficulties... the lists are long and varied. The thing a lot of people do have in common though is the need for a toilet which is larger than the average cubicle in public buildings, often additional rails and support, and the need for the toilet not to be up several flights of stairs.

Personally I have difficulty walking, mostly because I have trouble with my balance. Stairs are therefore particularly hard for me (I also have creaky knees, which is just me getting older and nothing to do with the MS!). I also have trouble with my bladder... I couldn't live without my Tena Lady pads that's for sure.

On Friday I went out for lunch, it was a work affair - we went to a very smart restaurant in Soho. Towards the end of the meal I went off in search of the facilities. It wasn't a big place and it was immediately apparent that they weren't in the main restaurant room. The Gents was just off the bar near the coat-check. The Ladies was up a flight and a half of stairs, across and landing and down some more stairs.

After lunch we went to a nearby pub. Again it was a small place... again the Ladies were up a flight of stairs on the first floor.

This is not the first time I have had this problem in older establishments in central London. Because there is a requirement only to make 'reasonable adjustments' smaller and older buildings do not have a dedicated disabled toilet on the ground floor and the facilities are usually located upstairs or in a basement to maximise usable floor space. I have been to pubs where a member of the bar staff has guarded the door so that I can use the Gents on the ground floor, I have been on trips down service corridors to doors without locks... and when all else fails I have trudged up and down flights and flights of stairs. I am fortunate to be able to manage that, there are many who can't.