“It’s the most scariest time of the year, with the kids trick or treating and monsters appearing that will bring us to fear, it’s the most scariest time of the year! 👻💀☠️🤡👽👾🧟♂️🧛♂️👿🧙♂️🎃”
Yes Halloween is here again but it isn’t all about ghosts, vampires, zombies and monsters. Just trying to live a daily life as a disabled person can bring an endless number of horror stories. Therefore I want to share with you my 10 most horrific disabled related stories. This blog post was inspired by a video titled “Inaccessible Horror Stories” by Emily K Davison at Fashioneyesta.
1. Falling over in my wheelchair
This incident has occured twice (so far) in my lifetime. The first time was when I was 12 and only begun to adjust to life as a visually impaired person. At this point, I was having to use my manual wheelchair and have family, friends and staff push me due to my vision being so poor.
One day in school, at lunchtime, my friend was pushing me outside when these two lads begun chasing us. We tried running away from them then suddenly my wheels went out of control, got caught in a dip between the pavement and grass and I fell forward with my head in the grass and my arm trapped.
My friend and the two boys managed to get me up and I went to the first aid room. I was quite lucky I wasn’t seriously injured and only got a graze on my face but was severely shaken by the ordeal. The two boys were suspended for their actions.
The second time was in 2014 when I was living at Treloars. I was in my powered wheelchair heading back from the corner shop with my friend, who was also in a powered wheelchair.
We were not with carers and I was following my friend as a guide. As we were turning onto the main pavement, I got caught on an uneven curb, swerved towards the main road and tipped over, hitting my head on the concrete.
Luckily, again, I wasn’t seriously injured and pedestrians and drivers came to help me. Since then, I’ve been very cautious when out in public and 99% of the time I’m accompanyed by an able bodied person and mostly get them to drive my wheelchair for me in outdoor or unfamiliar places.
The spookiest thing is since that event, I do dream about similar accidents in my wheelchair.
2. Almost drowning in a swimming pool
When I was 15, I attended a summer camp for people with disabilities. On one of the days, we went to a local swimming pool. I was being cared for by four 18-year-old girls throughout my stay.
While in the swimming pool, one of the girls was holding me as I can’t hold myself in the pool. Suddenly she had a cramp in her foot and we tried to call one of the other girls to take over holding me while she sorted out her cramp.
However, the second girl could not hear us and as a result the first girl fell letting go of me and me falling in the pool. Eventually the second girl noticed what was happening and came to help us.
Once I was back on the surface, I managed to compose myself and later had a good laugh about it. However I was slightly cautious about going back into a public pool and only used the hydrotherapy pool at my school where I would be taken care of by physios who are trained and have strict health and safety measures in place.
3. Crashing my wheelchair
Another issue I have using a powered wheelchair when registered blind is not being able to see where I’m going. One night at Treloar school, I was heading back to the boarding house with my friends. It was dark at this point, therefore I was following the lights on my friend’s wheelchair.
Unfortunately I mis-judged the exact direction of where I should be heading and crashed straight into a post at full speed. The collision injured my foot by pushing it 90° right and also breaking the footplate.
I went straight to the medical centre to get my foot checked out by a nurse. Luckily my foot was only badly bruised and not broken, but it was still bloody painful!
This is another reason why I get family, friends and carers to drive my chair for me in dark or unfamiliar places.
4. Nearly dying from a blood clot
In 2016, I had just completed my final year at university. It was the week I received my grade of an upper second class degree in journalism. During that week, I had a meeting with healthcare professionals to review my care needs. My parents decided to come along to the meeting too.
After the meeting, I asked Mum to take me to the toilet. When removing my clothing, my Mum noticed my left leg was extremely swollen. I did mention to carers that I have been feeling discomfort in my leg the last couple of days but no one could apparently see any symptoms of any kind.
My Mum suggested we call the doctor immediately and I managed to get an appointment that afternoon. At the doctors, they diagnosed me with a blood clot, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). They immediately prescribed me with medication and asked me to have a blood test done.
What horrified me the most was if my Mum hadn’t noticed the symptoms, it is likely the clot could have spread to my lungs and I could’ve died. I was in complete shock but no carer, who should be trained in spotting signs of medical problems, never thought to tell me my leg was swollen!
5. Mental breakdown and hyperventilating
For the past few years I have gone through some horrific and appalling carers which had led to me having mental health problems. A vivid occasion when things went horribly wrong was an evening in October 2017.
I was getting into bed and trying to direct the carer how to put my sleep system in. She was a foreign carer who couldn’t speak very good English. I was trying to explain that I use six bracket supports on my body.
However, she kept saying there was only five. I know for a fact there were six but she kept denying it and even said my Mum demonstrated five, which was incorrect. I tried suggesting it may be mis-placed and she should check around the bedroom.
She kept arguing back and this continued for 20 minutes or so. I began to get upset and broke down in tears. I then asked her to leave the room so I could calm down and recompose myself but she refused and continued doing other tasks around the room.
I continued crying and became very breathless and hyperventilating. I just wanted to run away but was trapped on my bed. Eventually I had to go to bed with five brackets, causing significant pain in my right shoulder.
The next morning the sixth bracket was discovered under my bed. I was so embarraassed, hurt and traumatised by the event, I asked the care company to let her go the next day and my Mum took over my care permanently.
6. Incorrect medication
Due to my cerebral palsy and poor vision, I cannot open or read my own medication. Therefore, I have my carer administer them for me. Although I know exactly which meds I take, at which time and at what dosage, carers have been known to still give me the wrong ones or forget certain ones.
For instance, after being diagnosed with my blood clot, I was taking Apexipan blood thinning tablets. One day, I directed my carer all my morning meds, which she left out on my table to take at breakfast.
However, after the carer left and I begun taking the meds, I noticed the Apexipan wasn’t there even though she sined it on my mar-chart. I had to buzz the 24 hour on call staff to get me the Apexipan.
Another time a carer nearly gave me night nurse capsule in the daytime rather than paracetamol. Luckily, none of my regular meds are life-saving drugs and I have enough vision to see the size and colour of each tablet.
However, it does scare me if I lose more vision, need any life-saving drugs and the carers make another error, it may cause me to get ill and even end up in hospital.
7. Stolen money
In 2014, I hired my own PA to support me with personal care, attending university and going to social events. One weekend in October, I went to visit a friend in Swansea and this PA accompanyed me. On the Sunday I was sat in my friend’s flat chatting when my PA said she was going to pop to the shop for an ice-cream.
The next day I got a phone call from my friend saying £100 went missing from her account Sunday evening, the same time my PA went out. The police were involved and it turned out earlier that day my PA watched my friend put her PIN number in while in a shop, memorised it, then used it at a cashpoint that evening to steal £100.
She was found guilty and charged with theft. I then checked my bankstatements too and she had duplicated all the transactions I asked her to do throughout her time with me. Altogether she managed to steal nearly £500 from me.
The police tried investigating my claim but due to the length of time, the PA couldn’t be prosecuted. Since then I’ve lost trust in carers supporting me with payments but due to my disabilities I still need carers operating my card. Now I keep a close eye on my bank statements and keep every receipt as record.
8. Getting stuck in hoists & lifts
Throughout my life, I’ve encountered a few incidents where I’ve been stuck in hoists and lifts.
The first time I was 10 and got stuck in a ceiling hoist at home. I got to the top and it wouldn’t go down. My Mum had to pile my bed with cushions for me to land on while my eight year old brother tried taking the sling straps off. I landed safely on the cushions and no harm done this time.
The worst time was living in my independent flat at Treloar’s. I was a few inches above the toilet when the hoist decided to stop working. I had to pee hovering over the toilet (luckily I didn’t miss), then had to un-attach the sling from the ceiling hoist and try attach it to a portable hoist.
It was extremely painful on my legs and hips to the point I was crying in agony. We did succeed but it was hard work and not fun at all.
In 2016, while attending The Young Company theatre group, I got stuck in a lift leaving the rehearsal room. The lift stopped a metre from the ground. It was a windowed lift so I could still see everything that was going on.
At first we tried getting a member of staff to come help but there wasn’t many people around at 8:30pm. Eventually, four lads from my drama group had to carry me out my wheelchair into a normal seat then lift my wheelchair out the lift. It was a frightening task but they managed it safely.
9. Losing my independence
Since moving into my first home in July 2017, I have felt I’ve slightly lost a part of my independence and heavily relying on my parents for support. I feel like I’ve taken a backward step in my adulthood and finding it difficult to move forward.
I’m still looking for my next carer but due to my poor care budget and the quality of care, I will still need my Mum to carry out a lot of the care too. Due to so many difficulties with care, I’m aiming to move back in with my parents next year in a new bungalow they’re renovating.
My biggest fear is something happening to my Mum that will result in her unable to care for me and not finding suitable carers, it may result in me being sent to a residential care home.
I appreciate the support my parents have given me but I shouldn’t have to rely on them all my life. The social care system is failing and unfair and I’m terrified I’m not going to get the full independence I deserve.
10. Watching friends health deteriorate
I have several friends with different disabilities and health conditions. I’ve watched some deteriorate rapidly and known others to sadly pass away.
It is the hardest thing to witness, knowing your nearest and dearest have a life-limiting condition, while you have your whole life ahead of you and all you want to do is appreciate all the precious time with them.
So as you can tell, I’ve encountered some rather dangerous and scary events while living with my disabilities. You could say in many of them, I had a lucky escape, but it does show that having a disability does come with many horrific memories.
Do you have any horrific disability related stories to share? Why not tell your stories in a blog post, video or on social media and use the hashtag – #inaccessiblehorrorstories.
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