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Posts Tagged ‘2015 General Election’

‘And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil’s riding crop
Get ready for the future,
it is murder’ – The Future by Leonard Cohen

I will never forget that night. I found my beloved partner on the floor. She had made a makeshift bed for herself and was surrounded by her favourite JellyCat soft toy dogs. She takes these everywhere with her; a source of comfort. I froze for a moment as I saw the empty packets of medication and then the note she had left for me.

Then the adrenaline kicked in and I desperately tried to remember the first aid courses I had undertaken. I checked her breathing. It was there, just. I checked her airways for blockages. There were none I could find. I couldn’t rouse her and I was concerned that the position she was in wasn’t helping her breathing. So I moved her into a more suitable position. As I did this, I heard a loud crack. It came from within me. My hip had decided this was the appropriate moment to partially dislocate as it is want to do at times. Usually I feel this a LOT but the adrenaline must have kept the pain at bay. I grabbed my phone and called 999.

The emergency services are brilliant. I was told an ambulance was on its way and the person on the phone stayed with me to reassure me. She kept me busy by having me count my partner’s breathing. I also collected all the packets of medication that I could find so an idea could be had as to how much had been taken and what kind. The door bell rang; the ambulance had arrived. At this point I was reminded about the state of my dislocated hip. The pain hit, hard! The ambulance crew were greeted with a torrent of swearing as I painfully manoeuvred my hip back into place. Another crack; there back in place.

After spending the night in emergency my partner was moved to an ITU bed. She was to stay there, unconscious, for a week. I phoned the hospital and visited at every opportunity hoping for news as to her progress. I brought up her favourite JellyCat dog to be with her. Don’t tell the other dogs but she does have a favourite.

It was heartbreaking to see her in that ITU bed with drips, medical machinery and tubes down her throat to assist breathing. I shall never shake that image.

Strange thoughts go through one’s head at times like these. Well they did mine. For some reason, I thought that I was going to get ‘told off’ by my partner for getting her medical attention. This thought was intense. I couldn’t rid myself of it. I really thought I was in trouble.

Thankfully, my lovely partner finally did wake up, and was later moved to another ward. She had contracted pneumonia due to fluids entering her lungs as she went into one of several seizures whilst in emergency. This had also resulted in some damage to her brain, though the medical staff thought this would rectify itself.

Suicide is a complicated issue and there are often many reasons involved that might build up to cause an individual to consider or carry out an attempt upon their own life. It is important to note that my partner had recently received a letter from the DWP in reference to her ESA claim. She was to face another reassessment and this scared her, indeed it weighed heavily upon her mind. As my partner said to both myself and the Crisis Team, that DWP letter, well, ‘it didn’t help’.

I spoke to many Doctors, staff at the Crisis Team and social workers, who worked with my partner, and they all stated that this is happening far more than is being reported. The fear is real and felt by many. These ‘reforms’ are having huge negative impact and causing harm. I have read several cases of suicide attempts and deaths linked to these damn ‘reforms’ but I never thought that that it would hit so close to home.

In addition to the cuts disabled and carers are facing, there is also the real fear of the, now, infamous sanctions regime.

My partner lives with severe mental health concerns. She has great difficulty reading, interacting and communicating with others. People frighten her.

She fears that she would end up sanctioned simply for exhibiting the symptoms of her diagnosis. The presentation of her symptoms could easily be misunderstood, or even exploited, by DWP staff intent on their quota of sanctions. Yes, we hear claims that there are no quotas but who believes Iain Duncan Smith or Esther McVey? Lying comes as easy to that pair of irresponsible, reckless Ministers as breathing.

I stated above that suicide is rarely about one issue but this must not be taken, by any supporter of the Coalition welfare ‘reforms’, as mitigation or an attempt to dismiss the impact of the ‘reforms’ upon my partner. Fear of these ‘reforms’, fear of the arrival of the next brown envelope from the DWP, played a major role within the reasoning behind her actions. As she said, ‘It didn’t help’.

These ‘reforms’ have been both cruel and unnecessary; an added extra burden, and worry, upon people who already have a lot to contend with as it is.

Now, we hear that we are to face a further £12Bn in cuts should David Cameron, and his Conservative Party, be elected on Thursday. This fills me with dread. My partner and I barely survived the past five years. The attacks never seem to stop. We have also faced an increase is disability related abuse. I describe this abuse in an article here.

One can never seem to draw breath before the next letter from the DWP arrives. Your heart stops in fear as you see it pushed through the letterbox. You hold your breath as you open it. What bad news will it bring? What fresh horror has Iain Duncan Smith seen fit to dump upon you today?

For many, the Social Security ‘reforms’, and their impact, are the straw that broke the camels back. To repeat, as I think it very important, my partner said, ‘It didn’t help’. In truth they are not helping because they are not designed to do so. These pernicious ‘reforms’ are designed, on first principle, simply to save money.

The Conservative Party want to place the Social Security safety net so close to the ground that it renders it useless, even fatal. You may not need it now, but you do not know what is around the corner. Can you really afford to lose its protection?

My own health has also been impacted by Iain Duncan Smith’s awful legacy. My Doctor is having to, not only treat the symptoms associated with my existing, deteriorating disability, he is now looking to the stress based illnesses I find myself with. My blood pressure is through the roof, blood has been found where it shouldn’t be and the additional stress is playing havoc with my chronic pain and state of mind. I worry that I may become too ill to act as carer for my partner, and I worry what will happen to her in the future. I worry about not being able to work. I worry, worry all of the time. I have difficulty sleeping due to constant worry, constant stress.

I never used to worry like this. I was always a glass half full ‘kinda’ guy. When I worked in education, I was often ‘named tutor’, and looked to the pastoral care of my students. I was the one with the answers; the person they turned to for solutions. Well, things change and, I am not ashamed to admit that, I now find myself going through counselling. Thanks Mr Cameron, thanks Mr Clegg, thanks for nothing.

My partner has been expressing fears again. She is deeply worried that the Conservatives will return to power and enact further hurt. She has talked about taking her life again, should they do. She is classed as ‘high risk’ by her medical specialists and they are offering what help they can with limited resources.

I have been critical of many a government before but this Coalition of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have been the first government that I have been scared of. The first government to put me in fear of, both, my and my partner’s health and future. Is this really a fairer society?

I am terrified at the thought of David Cameron and the Conservative Party being returned to power.

By the way, in case you are wondering. I wasn’t told off by my partner.

Christopher John Ball is, along with Dean Sipling, co-author of the play Throwing Stones – ‘What’s in your family album?’ Order your copy today from Amazon

“Mid-life male photographer meets young, nubile female student-cum-artistic muse – so far it’s old hat. But photographer turned playwright Christopher John Ball and co-writer Dean Sipling, whose background is film and television, bring the pairing into a thoroughly contemporary world of intercepted emails, sinister insinuation and sharp retorts. Their ‘guilty until proved innocent’ plot … is thoroughly watchable and believable – perhaps as a result of Ball’s professional insights and DS Dom Lucas’ services as police advisor to the production” Barbara Lewis – The Stage

2015 will see the publication of three monographs featuring fine art photography by Christopher John Ball. Watch this blog for further details.

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