Friday, 27 November 2015

Parking: Access Success.

I love my blue badge.

It means I get to park in spaces that allow me to get in to and out of my car easily, and which are within a relatively safe wheeling distance of my destination.
Image result for disabled parking images


Until you realise your badge is in Birmingham, you are in Didcot, and you need it to park at Oxford Station the next morning.


The rules are clear. No badge = no right to park in the blue badge bays.

But even the nearest standard spaces at Oxford Station were outside of my realistic outdoors wheeling distances.

Taxi wasn't an option.


I called the assisted travel line (where you book train assistance, ramps onto the trains etc). They gave me the number of the company who manage the station carpark - APCOA.

Well, parking companies in general don't get good press. Their reputation is for giving fines wherever  they can. I wasn't holding my breath.

I called them, and explained my situation and asked if there was any way I could get permission to park in a blue badge space without displaying the blue badge. The lady on the phone was very helpful, and said she'd email the manager for that carpark and get back to me.

I wasn't holding my breath, but sure enough, within an hour she'd called back with permission, and a code to display on my dashboard! Obviously they couldn't guarantee that a space would be available, but if there was, I could use it - giving me the same chance of a successful journey that my blue badge would.

It made the whole day doable.

So thank you APCOA. You made my day possible, and you did so without even a hint of annoyance at the effort you had to put in to do so.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Pacing for the OT show!

From a business perspective, shows like Naidex and the Mobility Roadshow, and the OT show and all the other disabiltiy related exhibitions would be great places for me to promote my stickmen, and raise awareness of my work.

However, there is a big drawback. They are 2 or more days long. Pacing says no.

Single day events like Kidz Down South leave me utterly exhausted, even with 2 people there to help me and do all the selling, so all I need to do is talk. By the time I get home I can scarecly speak and am utterly flolloped. It can take days (sometimes weeks) to get back to my usual level of functioning. My energy is finite, and I don't have enough in the tank to cover 2 days in a row that require coherence at that intensity.

As a small business, where the business plus a few people who help with packaging orders, there isn't anyone else who could run my stall on their own.

And you can't book a stand at one of these and then take it all down after one day (besides, it becomes a bit of a waste if you've paid for 2 days and only use 1!)


No big exhibitions for my stickmen.

But I really really wanted to go to the OT show. I went a few years ago as a visitor and I loved it. And I'm gradually realising that medical professionals like my work, so I thought I'd see if it could be possible. A long phonecall later, and a bit of creative thinking, and we came up with a way that will make it possible!

Instead of selling, I'll just have sample items for looking at/playing with, keyring card brochures to browse, and lots of leaflets so people can order online later. This means I can travel by train which is lots easier than driving, and the energy required to set up the stand will be much less, and I don't have to do any maths (working out change with brain fog is....interesting!).

As many readers will know, I am also Patron of the Hypermobility Syndromes Association and support them in raising awareness and understanding of hypermobiltiy syndromes for both professionals and patients (stickmen products, doing talks, volunteering). And when I go to 'Stickman' events I usually end up doing a combination of stickmen promoting and HMS educating.

So: I will join up with the HMSA for the OT Show, with information from both organisations available on both days

Wednesday 25th November:
I will be there with HMSA and Stickman Communications information available,

Thursday 26th November:
Hopefully an HMSA representative will be there, with both HMSA and Stickman Communications information available. (if no representative can make it, there will still be leaflets available)

So, if you'd like to see some of my products and/or improve your understanding of Hypermobility Syndromes, please come and visit us at Stand C36 at The OT Show. - ideally on the Wednesday!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Leaning on wheelchairs...why do people get so cross?

Leaning on wheelchairs is a dangerous occupation.

Seriously? - I mean it isn't like leaning on the person is it.

When you lean on my chair....
I cannot turn around
I cannot move - you hold me hostage until you let go
You are in my personal space, making me uncomfortable
 - just as if someone came and deliberately stood on your shoelaces, refusing to move and forcing you into stillness, taking away your freedom and imposing themselves into your personal space while leaving you powerless to step back to a comfortable distance.

Would you like this to be your normal? Do you really think this is okay?

In reality it's more than that.
If I relax back into my chair, you could tip the chair over backwards, injuring me, and I feel every movement you make - like someone kicking the back of your chair on the train. Plus extra pain with every movement.

Yes, there are times when leaning is OK - and those times can be roughly categorised as 'when closeness of relationship and/or specific situation means that if there was no wheelchair, there would still be leaning - a 2 way, mutually accepted lean. Like when spending quality time with the nephews and nieces.

But in any other situation - step away and don't stand on my shoelaces.