A Place to Change

locked door, accessibility

aka Everybody deserves their dignity

I do not have a physical disability. My sister is in a wheelchair, as is my partner’s sister, and whilst the issue I’m addressing in this blog does not affect them directly, nobody knows what the future holds.

First, a disclaimer. This blog is not written in my professional capacity. All opinions are personal.

I’m a social media officer for a mobility equipment provider, and monitor the internet for relevant ‘mentions’. This has brought to me an awareness of the need for Changing Places facilities.

What are Changing Places?

Changing Places are accessible toilets. Not the general kind of toilet you find here, there and everywhere that only complies with Doc M regulations. Changing Places are truly accessible toilets, with changing benches for larger children and adults and hoists.

Think about these two scenarios for a moment.

Scenario 1

You are the parent of a baby who’s done a pee or a poo in their nappy. You go to a baby changing public toilet and you have a little bench that pulls down so you can lay baby on it. What would you do if there was no little bench? Lay baby of the public toilet floor and do it? Pretty disgusting, huh?

Scenario 2

You are the parent/carer of an older child or adult, in a wheelchair, who’s done a pee or a poo in their nappy/incontinence pants. You go to a public toilet and there’s no bench. What do you do? We’ve already determined that it’s disgusting to put anybody on a public toilet floor. Even if there was no other option than to do this, how do you get them out of their wheelchair?

Basically, whilst there are little over 1,000 Changing Places facilities, it’s inhumane that there are not more, particularly within healthcare company premises; hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and the like.

Campaigns for Changing Places

I’ve been reading blog after blog of parents and carers who are campaigning for more Changing Places facilities. This blog itself has been brought about by me being reduced to tears reading some of these today.

Take a look for yourself

Hadley’s Heroes
A Wheelie Great Adventure
Ordinary Hopes
Mum on a Mission

Some of these parents and carers are the service users of the company I work for and the company’s service centres do not have these facilities, despite many of the service users visiting the premises. I’m making it my mission to get a Changing Places facility into all of our service centres.

What can I do?

Good question and one that I am asking myself every day. I’ve been linking to the blogs in my weekly social media report to raise awareness. If I can get at least one loo in one service centre, I’ll be a happy bunny!

You could…
• read the blogs linked above to see what those directly affected are going through
• sign petitions. Here are 21 on Change.org to get you started
• download the campaign leaflet from the Changing Places website
• share this blog!

If you don’t have time to check out all of the posts in all of the blogs, as it’s close to the festive season, I recommend these:

A Modern Christmas Carol
It shouldn’t happen to an Elf. You can also follow Alfie the Elf on Twitter.

And just in case none of this has tugged at your heart strings, I leave you with this. Merry Christmas!

Advertisements

Mammogram

I received a letter at the end of last year inviting me to have a mammogram.

“But I’m not 50!” I shouted at the piece of paper, before reading the small print saying I’d been specially selected for an early one. How nice.

The date was just a few weeks away; the location – in the car park of the local health centre. Yay!

The day arrived and as I walked into said car park, my heart sank. Discreet it was not. The large trailer announced – in two foot high letters – that this was, indeed, the “BREAST SCREENING SERVICE”. Thanks for that; I wouldn’t have spotted the thirty foot long metal box without it.

Could I sneak in and out quietly? No. It was necessary to clamber up a rickety metal staircase, announcing my ascent with eight resounding clangs as I took each step. I might as well have carried a banner stating “GETTING MY TITS OUT FOR THE GALS!”

Inside, I was greeted by a nice receptionist who asked a few simple questions before asking me to go into booth number 1, strip to the waist and wait until I was called.

A door closed, my door opened.

“Come in, Mrs Goldsack”

“Miss,” I muttered under my breath.

“My name’s Sarah and I’ll be squishing your boobs for you today.”

“Lovely! Thanks, Sarah.”

It was over quickly and painlessly. I was ushered back into my booth to get dressed. The door had barely closed before I heard the door to what I assume was booth 2.

“Come in… My name’s Sarah and I’ll be squish…”

It was a production line of boob squishing.

I dressed quickly and could only manage a quick “Bizarre!” to the receptionist as I made my way, clickety click, down the staircase.

Bizarre, because I could imagine how a cow would feel being led in and out of the milking shed.

I’ve had the results now: “No sign of cancer.” Whilst that’s great to know, I think, just to add a little bit of sparkle to the ordeal, the letter should be reworded to say…

“Congratulations! You have beautiful, healthy boobies.”

I’d like that.

2015

Happy new year to you, lovely reader.

I have made a resolution to post on my sites at least once each day. I have three sites – 1095 posts on their way to you!

I’ve also made a resolution to engage with everyone who comments on my posts. I’m very good at responding, but often it’s in my head with an internal promise to reply on ‘paper’ when I get home to my desktop PC where it’s easier for me to type; except now that I’ve got a tablet and a smartphone, I very rarely switch it on.

Which leads me neatly on to another resolution. Turn on the desktop PC every day and start writing and recording songs again – something I failed to do in 2014, due to having a new relationship, complete with kitten and puppies, and gallivanting around with my beloved.

I’ve missed the music even though I’ve been doing quite a bit of performing! There’s nothing quite like giving it my all in the broom cupboard (not a euphemism).

I look forward to getting to know you all via my new-found interactive mindset and here’s to a fantastic 2015!