Are all humans told they must live their lives in the same way? Then what about those humans with severe physical disabilities who are unable to control their own lives, with the dignity of purpose and determination? The different abilities of those in group homes, like mine, that cannot be standardised, but for some ridiculous purpose, usually neoliberal, are. For example this gives me a certain loss of control, which is to make me feel punished.
To illustrate this, I will talk about something that happened to me very recently. I was down with the flu in the past week, and I have been receiving inadequate care and support to keep me safe from physical injury and harm.
For example, last Thursday night, I stooped out of my wheelchair, leaving me in great pain; this happened to me a total of three times that evening. And unfortunately, the way I had stooped made it impossible for me to press the buzzer to alert staff, and the only way for me to support myself was through an off the cuff pop-in from a support worker. This left me in greater pain, with the added weight of dealing with the flu at the time.
On Friday night, unbeknown to me, I was left with three support workers who could not understand a word I was saying. So, this meant that I had to wait until 8:30pm for a support worker who was capable of understanding me, to arrive. So I had dinner, and went straight to bed at this time.
So then, the big feature: the worst day of this weekend. Yesterday in the afternoon, I stooped out of my wheelchair. Of course by this stage I was feeling very tired, and was thinking the only way for me to feel relaxed was to pull myself by the sides of the table to make the wheelchair fall; this was to put me in a more relaxed position. Again, I had to do this by myself. When I fell, my feet pulled the buzzer cord, which alerted the staff.
This has all had an extraordinary effect on my heart, which is something I will have to have more check-ups about this week. Hence, this weekend has been a manifestation of the loss of control that can lead to me feeling punished. It is a result of the lack of dignity and choice I have, living in a group home.
A special thanks to Christina Irugalbandara for her excellence in academic support work.