So, it's time to look back with the last instalment of our house move, and then look forward by concentrating on family life with the girls and basic day-to-day living with a child with disabilities...
A key element of that, as I'll explain later, is transport, and the issue of a ramp or drive outside our new home.
But first, let's rewind to another trauma: we had prepared and organised for the BIG move. The new house was ready, adapted (and this includes decorated as well, we were given access to paint, lay carpets etc, giving plenty of time for the fumes and dust to settle).
On moving day, we had everything packed and ready to go. We moved and settled the Twincesses first thing in the morning, Derek connected the TV on the wall so that way they would be pre-occupied and I could boss about the men as to where things went.
Everything went smoothly I have to say, things that I was worried thankfully didn't happen.
What we were not prepared for was Katie's reaction: as it got later and darker and there were so many family members in each room helping unpack the mountains of boxes, Katie started screaming.
At first we thought it was her reflux causing the usual discomfort, but then she started to sign "Home." We tried to explain we were home and this was our new house, we walked her round the house again, took her into her new bedroom with all her own things. But it didn't matter, she wanted "home".
All I could think about was "what have we done". She was unsettled all night so the next morning we decided to take her round to the old house and show her it completely empty, just so she knew that we were not going back. Closure is what we all needed, I think it helped....
But then we received a letter from the council's head of capital planning and special needs officer. It stated "the conclusion is that a driveway cannot be installed. The gradient would be too steep and would not be allowed under legislation, I trust this clarifies the matter."
To say we were stunned was an understatement, my heart sank and all I could think about was: what are we going to do? How are we going to get Katie in and out in her wheelchair? I called this officer and told her nothing was clarified. She was so patronising and kept asking me: "Well if you understand what I wrote why do you want to take it further?"
She then told me she would have more luck providing us something from Alton Towers than she would a ramp!
She also went on about a stair climber she claimed we had. We didn't have anything to use on the steps, we took the wheelchair up and down the grassy slopes, but it turned out the occupational therapist had told her boss and various others that we had this piece of equipment.
After numerous phone calls and contact with our local councillor and MP, I think the obvious question was: why wasn't this checked out before they made us move? Believe me there are days when you feel alone and isolated, like a prisoner in your own home, but to actually physically be one is horrible.
The actual process of it also worried us as it meant when I took Katie down to the car and transferred her into her car seat I would then have to leave her on her own while I brought it back into the house. And this would be repeated when having to come home again!
What if Katie started choking, being sick needing suction and she was on her own in the car? What about when it's pouring rain or worse when it's snowing or icy?
As you can see from the picture above, this is exactly what happened, Katie was petrified and she was too small for it since it's for adults!
Her wee body was all over the place in it and so were my feet in the ice, I don't think I've ever felt as scared as I did that day! I was so angry, I just couldn't believe my council thought this was acceptable.
I sent the picture to my MP and I also put it up on my Facebook, the reaction from people spoke volumes, I think the main message was the disbelief.
Days after this, the head of social work wrote to my MP and stated: "The garden is structurally feasible for a ramp but the council are more than happy that they have provided the stair climber as suitable adequate access, therefore the council have undertaken all necessary adaptations to the property."
Come on how can this be acceptable, there’s no price on someone's safety is there?
I am now pleased to say that we were told last month that the council have instructed three contractors to survey and plan (if possible) ramp access.
We are not getting our hopes up too much but they have acknowledged at least the stair climber contraption is not suitable. Just wish they’d done this last year.
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