I had a dream last night…..

guest post from Pat

It was a sobering thought when I realised there are no more jobs for the able bodied of this country. Even worse was the stark reality of a hopeless cause to find non existent work for those who are disabled. Why doesn’t the Government just dock whatever it fancies from our benefits and save us the insulting and degrading assessment process? We aren’t stupid and gullible to believe we are going to get a fair assessment. An assessment that looks at how we cope with life and every day living tasks.

I have my consultant’s letter of my condition. I also have photographs of my eyes which clearly shows the dead parts. They peer at the picture. Shrug and shake their heads. They peer at the letter. It has my previous married name on it. Computer doesn’t like this. I am already at a disadvantage as they think it is for someone else. I show my marriage certificate. No reaction.

Dismissing this vital evidence we move on.

I can sit on a chair. I can stand up. I can touch my toes. I fail all 3 tests.

I can’t see my toes but presume they are in the same place as they have always been? Ah. Maybe it’s a trick and they have been moved while I was blundering my way through the corridors to find where my assessment was to be held? Nope. They are still there. Phew.

Now I have to walk. Yes I can walk so I fail that test to.  No one makes allowance for the chair I have been sitting on. I fall over it and scrape my shin. I feel my bottom lip tremble. Not with the pain but with the humiliation of being treated like a freak. Someone asks if I am alright love? No I’m bloody well not. I am in a strange place with people I neither know nor want to, being made to perform tricks like an animal in a circus. My reward for performing is I can keep my Incapacity benefit or whatever they want to call it.

Ask me if i can cut my own toe nails. Ask me if I can turn the washing machine on to wash my husbands soiled bedding. Ask me if I can get on the right train to get to visit my elderly parents. Ask me if I know what my husband or children look like. Ask me how my sight loss affects my every day life.

Don’t ask me to sit on a bloody chair which I can’t see.

Now comes the test I am sure to gain points in. Reading and writing. I am asked how long I have had a visual impairment problem? Since i was 31. So you could read and write before that time? Yes. I have just failed that test because I could read and write and the computer doesn’t back date itself.

But wait…these descriptors have changed. I am now asked if I can cope with a potential hazard. Crossing the road unaccompanied. You can not be serious? The doctors, chemist, PO and bank are in a village with traffic lights on a T junction. This has to be negotiated as facilities are on opposite sides of the roads. You have to be able to see the little green man in order to cross. Cars and lorries jump the lights and it can hardly be called safe for a sighted person. I try and when I am scraped off the middle of the road they give me 15 points. Ah… the ‘witches test.’

Now the bottom lip is going into overdrive and I feel myself angry. I stand up and ask to be shown the door…please. Don’t forget to be polite Pat. Can’t leave yet test hasn’t finished the voice tells me.

I have, I tell it, and turn to where I remember the door should be. No help is offered and the angels were guiding me as I found the handle, turned it , and left.

I can not afford to lose this amount of money, no one can, but the alternative is too horrendous. I am a person with feelings, only too well aware of my own shortcomings. I do not need to beg, be humiliated or treated like a machine.

David and I will go without…after all we are all in this together.

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One Response to “I had a dream last night…..”

  1. fiona Says:

    Powerful and moving post Pat. Raw honesty is what these callous people in power need to hear. Real people, real disability, real need, real tears.

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