Friday, 17 July 2009

Demonic Laughter Accessory

Well that's what I'd call it if I had a sense of humour left. My D (isabled) L(iving) A(llowance) form has been sitting on my worktop for over 3 months now. So I decided to fill it in, online because holding a pen is a no-no these days.

For anyone remotely interested, D L A is an allowance given to successful claimants who are disabled. But only those adept at skirting potholes, with infinite patience, and with the strength to pick up the 40-page claim form. It's not financial assistance to help you pay for someone to do those things you can't do for yourself; it's to help someone stay with you while you do the cooking, cleaning, ironing and whatever else takes your fancy for yourself. Extremely liberating to have independence as the underlying principle behind a state benefit. There aren't many; in today's culture of assuming that anyone claiming any kind of benefit must be doing so under false credentials, or as a basic form of fraud, a message constantly blasted into our homes by the media and government policy, it's actually taking a fair bit of guts to admit that actually, I'm entitled to this allowance, and claim legitimately for it.

Do I sound bitter and twisted? Many online friends of mine, some bed-bound, some with obvious and crippling disabilities reliant on wheelchairs, some mobile with invisible disabilities, but all with legitimate claims on the face of it, have had to jump through proverbial government hoops to get this allowance. They only succeed after being turned down, going through a long-winded, incredibly stressful, highly undignified process of appeal; being poked and prodded by a government-paid doctor with a quota of failing applicants to meet; before finally having to attend a tribunal of complete strangers who thank whatever providence does exist are blessed with that fragile and rare commodity, Common Sense. But how frustrating, degrading, insane, is it to have to go through such a circus. They aren't going to grow their limbs back; not have their M S cured; or have other lifelong disabilities vanish because the D W P says so.

Me, I've been lucky so far. I moan about the fact that my awards are annual, instead of every 3 years like most other folks, but at least I get some support and recognition of my mobility problems. I can't hold a pen; so only have to spend approx 70 hours or so on a final draft of the form. Then when, as it habitually does, the govt website fails, and the form arrives back on my desktop blank for the third time running, and won't accept cut-and-paste answers with any form of punctuation, well it's a relatively minor frustration. Provided, of course, that the powers that be decide that my arthritis and fibro haven't been miraculously cured too...

Don't worry. There won't be many posts like this. Life is just too short, funny, sad, revolting, and interesting for that.

Rites of passage

Ok, so I know someone's supposed to do it to you while you lie in a gentle pile of boozed-up bliss, but I had to do it to myself. Sad.

I shaved off my eyebrows.

Well I've got this trimmy gizmo and the girl on the telly did her eyebrows with it and they didn't fall off *sniff*. Mine did. Note to self; the tweezers that took off half an eyebrow with a fibro-jerk at New Year are as Nothing compared to a trimmy thing and the fibro-shakes.

After hours of practising drawing on Greta Garbo eyebrows (heaven; at least they didn't look like Groucho's any more) I itched and rubbed them off just before kissing Little Master good night. It doesn't take much to freak him out after dark; I remembered just in time and drew them back on before kissing him and tucking him in.

This morning, 3 or 4 days after the Eyebrow Event, I have just enough 5 o'clock shadow to look almost like I've almost got eyebrows back again. So I forgot and he begged me to put on my Angry Face (aka my glasses) because my eyes looked "sunk in and freaky". I didn't put him right; I just put my glasses on. And now I have flu (I can oink but it ain't compulsory) I don't have to see anyone until I have real ones again.

The good news is - at least I can see now what lines I want to grow them back into. So I can shave with impunity (but only on fibro-free days, if such a beast exists) and only grow back that facial hair which I want.

Another of Life's Lessons Learnt, albeit somewhat belatedly.