John Close - life / outro

the long-awaited, disabled persons flat

Email to Lesley

24th September 2002

Dear Lesley,
Having been to the flat for the second time and with less people around it is easy to see that very little provision has been made for disability. Access is a grim proposition. Mini ramps will be needed on the front door and the flat door, as for the fire door, we've been through that, ha ha. I dread having to ask friends to take action to fix it and sod Chilterns, but it'll probably come to that. By fighting furiously, using legs, arms and sheer logistical cunning (and waving Peggy's offers of help away continuously) I managed to get through it today, but it was no joke.

The big discovery today was that I cannot lock my front door. Peggy was struggling, but I got nowhere at all. My right hand is no longer up to it. Again, I may just have to do it myself, so to speak.

Looking at the loo again I hope that OT have got all kinds of fancy rails and gizmos that project this way and that, cos at the moment i can't see me getting my arse on and off safely. I just can't see where the rails are going to go to help me. Ever since getting stuck on the loo here the other night I've developed a fear that I soon won't be able to get myself up or down in the ensuite here. As it is I use the toilet seat and the sink to get up!

It's obvious the kitchen wasn't designed for disability because of the height of the worktops, but it's useable at the moment. However, at the point I might have given up trying to prepare food etc if the worktops had been wheelchair height, you can knock six months off that, I will simply have to say to my carer "I can't do it". One more nail in the coffin of self-reliance, of independence.

The coat hooks in bathroom and hall are all at able-bodied height.

Window catches? Electrical sockets? Brilliant! If only all I had to do in life was open and close the windows and plug computers in things would be peachy.

I'm thinking of working this up into an email for ***** and ****. What do you advise? After five months of waiting I've got a place that I could have probably rented privately from lots of people, a ground floor flat with very limited disability access and facilities. I'll give living in it my best shot, of course, but I think Chilterns really are a bunch of dimwits bordering on the socially irresponsible.