Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Justifying my existence...

Through the Trailblazers' Facebook page (the disability campaign group I volunteer with), I came across this (skip to 26:35 for the relevant part). For people reading this after the link expires, it's an interview with a mother of a severely disabled child, who was so desperate for extra respite that she phoned social services to take her into care, as she just couldn't cope any more (google 'Riven Vincent' for a huge number of news stories about it).

The part of the interview which got me riled up was a listener, who I assumed at the time had phoned in to put forward her viewpoint. She began making comments about how unproductive the daughter's life would be and that it was an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer to pay for her care. She even got to the point of eugenics, implying that in 'olden days' the midwive would have smothered the child if it was born severely disabled. The mother then had to basically defend her daughter's existence on live radio, saying that she was intelligent and able to lead a fulfilled life, drawing similarities abilities-wise between her and Stephen Hawkings. The listener then had the audacity to say, "Well he's not really done anything of worth, has he?"!!!

I think what really tipped me over the edge and led me to make a complaint to the BBC was that this woman was making these comments before the show on its Facebook feed, and the presenter begged her, even baited her to come onto the show, knowing full well what she was going to say. I'm all for free speech, but giving her a platform and basically encouraging these extremist views is completely insensitive, and in my opinion was just done for its shock factor. I really feel for the mother, who should not have been put in the position she was, she put her case forward articulately and was able to make the woman look the fool she was.

I think this really hits home for me because I am what some people would class as 'severely disabled', yet I feel I have an excellent quality of life and can give back to society as much as any able bodied person. Who is she to dictate what 'quality of life' is?

Anyway, rant over. In other news I was rudely awoken this morning by the District Nurse at 8.45am to check my pressure areas. I had booked my appointment for 10am, but there must have been some breakdown in communication between the Sister and the nurse who came, as she thought it was at 9am. I'm thankful in that it gave me a reason to get me up and out of bed relatively early, though I've not been massively productive.

Enjoy Pancake Day and International Women's Day! I will try to post some pancake related pictures later. I'm also taking up blogging for Lent, even though I've started a little early, I will try and keep it up through Lent and beyond!

UPDATE: Sorry it's so late, but here is my pancake - nutella, strawberries, banana and squirty cream. Blooming lovely, but did make me feel a bit sick afterwards!

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