13 February 2012

Falling over to get a badge

I'm due a monthly visit to my 88-year-old mother to do chores for her - the usual gardening and odd-jobbing, big food shop etc. I should have gone a few days ago, but the bad snap of Siberian weather we have been experiencing in the Southeast made me nervous about leaving. I don't like the idea of driving in snow unless I really have to. I also worry about pipes freezing in the house while I am away and worry even more so about the cat freezing into a lollipop. She has her own front door (ie a catflap) but will insist on waiting at the back door for hours on end so that I can let her in and out again. When I am home, she does not have to wait long, but when I am away, she'd sit outside there all day, hence my worry. Now the temperatures are rising again, hopefully she'll not come to any harm while I am away. My neighbour checks on her twice a day, so she'll get fed and my neighbour always like to sit with her for a half-hour or walk around the garden with her, so she will not be starved of company.

One of the jobs I am doing for my mother is to update her disabled blue badge for her. She has scoliosis (severe curvature of the spine) and these days can barely stand unaided and hangs on to furniture when she walks across a room. Any walking outside the house(when we go shopping or to appointments together) is very slow and extremely painful. (She is even afraid to go into her own garden alone in case she falls and nobody knows she is there.) Having the blue badge means she can park on double yellow lines or in special disabled parking bays close to where she needs to be. It cuts down time and pain. Sometimes it can be quite galling when, say, at supermarkets, we have trouble finding a disabled bay to park and we then see someone returning to their car so obviously NOT disabled, in fact they positively have a spring in their step. It reminds me of a Michael McIntyre sketch about what we expect when we see someone parking in a disabled parking space. I attach the only link to the sketch I can find, although the sound quality is poor. Do we expect them to open the car door, fall out and crawl to their destination? All joking aside, we certainly don't expect them to be wearing 4-inch killer heels (as I have often seen happen) or walking at great speed with no apparant physical disbility. Unfortunately the system is often abused by healthy relatives who "borrow" the passes to nip to the shops. My mother's pass is due for renewal and this time the application is more stringent - she has to supply signed photocopies of her passport, utility bills, her latest prescription and have two recent photographs signed and confirmed by a non-relative of some professional rank that it is a truelikeness of her, plus the usual questions about how far she can walk without pain or difficulty. All by a certain deadline which has already passed. I am all for stamping out fraudsters who abuse the system, but tell me, how is an 88-year old woman, housebound by her disability, who never goes out unless I drive her somewhere once a month, supposed to get photocopies and signatures from strangers? She's disabled. Hello! That's why she needs the badge. You would think the authorities could offer to make personal visits home in extreme circumstances, but that looks out of the question. I think I'll get my mum to deliver the application to the local authorities personally on all fours - the way she always goes up stairs - she's bound to get her badge with no problem.


dulwich divorcee said...

Gosh, I really feel for your poor mother. What a pain these things are. I often find things like bank accounts a chore now because you need so much documentation - and I'm perfectly able-bodied! Must be very daunting for your mother and thank goodness you can help her out. Sounds like quite a lot of work for you but I am sure she is very grateful.

Kelloggsville said...

We live in a 'me' society which makes people unable to see why parking in disabled when you aren't or applying for a badge when you shouldn't is so bad, in turn this leads to greater legislation to control it which continues to punish the needy and innocent and simply make a slightly higher jump for the fraudsters. My father had a disabled badge before he died but he often drove my mum to the shops and sit in the car (on the disabled spot), whilst she went shopping it made me really annoyed. Infairness I think he intended to go with her but just couldn't do the extra leg. But selfishness annoys me. I once shouted after a woman who parked in the the mother and baby "excuse me, excuse me" in a really happy tone. she stopped and turned towards me smiling and I said "you've left your baby in the car" - LOL you should have seen her face she was furious to be caught! Good luck.

Nora said...

Does your mother live far away from you that you only see her once a month? That doesn't seem very often for how old and disabled she is. Are there people watching out for her the rest of the time?

Flowerpot said...

Ive been trying to get mum her blue badge which was turned down last time when she is a prime candidate. Grrrrr.....

Working Mum said...

What do people without relatives to help do? It seems absurd.

We once challenged a neighbour of ours who was parked in a disabled spot at Tesco in his Range Rover and then he pointed out his 90 year old mother was sitting in the passenger seat waiting for him to take her in to shop! Ooops!

The bit I find sad in your post is that your mother won't go into her own garden in case she falls. Can she not get an alarm to wear round her neck to call for help if needed? It seems sad not to enjoy her own garden.

Anonymous said...

Hi Addy,

It makes my blood boil, it really does. We live in a country of madness. The admin must cost. Why can't the GP be given the role of giving out things like blue badge? A GP that knows the patient especially wouldn't even have to see the patient in your mother's case. It really is a joke.

I get you on the disabled parking. It really makes my wife angry when shopping. That and "parent and child". No one seems to care. No one imposes it. It is infuriating.

Also understand you about your mother's reluctance to go into the garden. My grandmother after two bad falls started to fear going out in case of another fall yet used to walk her daughter-in-law's dog every day. The same reason, it is sad.

All the best


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's the abusers that spoil it for the genuine ones isn't it. I was told to apply for Amy once but as she's perfectly capable of walking about (well, when her leg isn't in plaster, lol) I refused to. I think these badges should be kept only for people like your mother who genuinely need it. I have seen many times people parking on double yellow lines, skipping into the Co-op, not a care in the world, while some old guy can't park anywhere with his blue badge. It angers me, it really does.

CJ x