Just now I was going along a main road at about 25 mph in my Triride. As is quite common the car behind seemed reluctant to overtake me. I think people feel a bit nervous about what might happen? I could also hear the sounding of a horn that I assumed was the car behind that car giving the slowed driver a hard time.
They both then overtook me, and yes the car behind the car behind was driving pretty close to the one in front of it. The first car was being driven by an old lady. As they both disappeared into the distance the aggressive driver seemed to back off and stop harassing the old lady though. Nevertheless I felt a bit aggrieved that it had happened at all, and decided that if I caught up at the next red light I’d have a word, and say something about aggressive driving. Indeed there was a red light that soon appeared and the angry driver had stopped. As I approached I saw that car had one brake light not working. That was enough to change my thinking…. and when I tapped on the driver’s side window and the fella rolled it down…. I said ‘ Hi. You’ve got a faulty brake light ‘. The ( black ) young fella said ‘ oh have I ? Thank you! Which one is it ?’ I said ‘ the left one ‘.
He gave me a massive smile and said ‘ Really appreciate it. Have a great day!’
And it all could have gone so differently, couldn’t it…..?
It’s not unusual in relationships to go through problems, to have arguments and challenges. What I always face though is the fact that the other person just doesn’t even begin to realise just how much my paralysis affects every aspect of my existence, including the way I think, and the way I am, her refrain therefore being ‘ but this is nothing to do with your paralysis!’ Except if I wasn’t paralysed, this very situation right now wouldn’t have occurred, that other thing wouldn’t have happened in the first place… the way it affects every waking moment, and how much I’m awake at night, as per this post at 5.12 am now … I remember being normal, and having the freedom to think normally, without the huge and dark presence of my spinal cord injury, with all the life strangulation i have. I remember having the liberty that normality brings. The Liberty that means for example that your relationship troubles are by far at that moment the most significant and emotional thing in your head. I remember that very well. I remember when having had a night without sleep that it was a really big deal to me, that it would ruin my day. Now tho, a sleepless night is nothing to me. I have far worse challenges in my every day than feeling a bit tired. Now though the ‘ difficulty’ the relationship is going through is, to me, always, always dwarfed by the blinding migraine of paralysis, and always insignificant compared to the constant other omnipresent problems I have.
I’ve never had a girlfriend who gets that. For her the relationship blip MUST be surely the most emotional thing in my head. Except it’s not. I don’t have the freedom to think that way. The ‘other stuff’ always trumps and overrides, way exceeding the day to day ups and downs and ebbs and flows that health normality allows you.
We are writing to you as you have previously been identified as someone thought to be clinically extremely vulnerable and at high risk of becoming very unwell if you catch COVID-19. We wrote to you last month advising you to follow shielding guidance until 21 February.
We are now extending that guidance and advising you to shield until 31 March 2021. We will write to you again in mid-March with further advice.
Whilst the national lockdown has been effective and cases of COVID-19 are now falling, the levels of infection in the community remain high and the virus continues to pose a high risk to people across the country. The risk remains particularly high for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable. Therefore, the Government strongly advises you to continue to follow the shielding measures that were introduced in January to help you protect yourself. More information on the guidance and the support available to you can be found on GOV.UK, or in your previous letter dated 7 January 2021 if you received one.
You are advised to stay at home as much as possible, although you can still go outdoors carefully to exercise or to attend health appointments. You are strongly encouraged to work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home then you should not attend work.
Whilst you are strongly advised to follow these extra precautionary shielding measures to help keep yourself safe, this remains guidance, not the law. You must, however, follow the lockdown rules that apply to everyone.
Please make sure your GP has your most up to date contact details, including your home address and, if possible, a personal email address, so that we can contact you quickly in the event that the guidance changes in the future.
This letter can be used as evidence for your employer and the Department for Work and Pensions to show that you cannot work outside your home until at least 31 March 2021, including for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) purposes.
If you need support to help you follow the guidance, especially if you are unable to arrange this yourself or through friends, family, or other support networks, your local council may be able to help. You can contact your council and register for support or request priority access to a supermarket delivery slot at the Shielding Support website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support. If you already have priority access to a supermarket delivery slot that will continue – you do not need to do anything further.
You are advised not to go to shops or pharmacies. Instead try to shop online, ask family or friends to collect shopping for you or get help with food and medicine deliveries from NHS Volunteer Responders.
It is also really important to continue to look after your mental health. The Every Mind Matters website is accessible for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. If you or someone you care for are experiencing a mental health crisis, we urge you to make contact with a local health professional immediately.
Clinically extremely vulnerable adults are receiving priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population. The vaccine is likely to make an important contribution towards protecting you from COVID-19. People are being contacted about vaccinations by the NHS, but if you have not been offered a vaccination, we are now asking you to come forward to book a vaccination.
The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pmseven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available, you can also call your GP practice.
Even if you have had both doses of the vaccine, you should continue to follow this shielding guidance as we continue to assess the impact of vaccination among all groups. The people you live with should continue to follow the public health rules and guidance as long as they are in place, regardless of whether you or they have received the vaccine.
We will continue to update you as the situation changes and, once again, we thank you for your efforts to keep yourself and others safe.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Well it’s definitely not over, is it? Not by a long way. I’m not even supposed to go out. 😳
My ‘ routine’ in the morning includes being in a standing chair ( where I’m strapped into a standing position ) for an hour. To do this, my regular chair has to be taken outside to my terrace, and swapped for the Standing chair, which is kept outside under cover.
This morning though I needed to adjust a brake on my chair, so I asked my help to take the wheels off and turn it upside down, and then spin it around so I can reach the right part with a spanner. I can’t bend, so the only way to do it is with one arm from a lying position in bed. Having finished that, my help said ‘ it’s a bit dirty, so I’ll brush the mud off it ‘ I suggested she do that outside ( obviously ) to make less mess. Ultimately the chair had to go outside anyway, because it was being swapped for the other one. Get this for logic though –
She CARRIED the wheelchair ( minus the wheels ) outside, brushed off the mud, then CARRIED the chair back inside, then put the wheels on, then pushed it outside again… I watch with a mixture of amusement and complete dumbfounded’ness as she does this kind of thing. I mean I love her to bits for her general dedication to me… but sometimes I do wonder how she’s managed to stay, well, stay alive..
Turns out that my letter was en route, which had allowed me to get an appointment. Very straightforward all of it. I came home and cranked for an hour, having forgotten to take it easy. … I definitely don’t have any weird side effects, though I slept deeply last night ( which I don’t do very often )
And I’m getting the vaccine! Tomorrow, at the Stoop. That’s the Harlequins rugby club in normal times. That’s good. Actually I just filled in a form ( having not had a letter yet ) online, and bingo! I’m in. Both my mum and Dad in Wales have had theirs – important given they live in the most COVID deadly part of Wales – more people have died in their locality than have in whole countries … 🤦♂️
As it’s both their birthdays this week it’s been a good ‘gift’ – the vaccine, I’d say.
And I got my Triride back from Italy yesterday – oh wow it’s good. I went out for a spin and it’s actually better than ever. It’s had lots of parts replaced, and the software updated so that it’s more economical on the battery, meaning I can ride in Eco mode and go further. That’s great, because quite often I wonder whether I’ll have enough charge to get home from places…. and now I’ve a few more miles in the tank. So thank you Triride Italia, and Nathan that has dealt with it, and also to Colin Flounders, who did loads to help me with it. Tbh I can’t thank these guys enough – both of them are in wheelchairs themselves, yet manage to do stuff that ‘ ought’ to be impossible for them.