Monday, 30 July 2012


Yes, I said Banking with a ‘B’ for anyone who got excited about the contents of this post…

It may come as a huge surprise to many that banks do not care about their customers at all, including a ‘Wheelchair Boy’. Basically, as I was now 18, I wanted to change my Young Person’s account into an Adult version and also needed to set-up a new account. Simple enough. However, a few members of Barclays (got to name and shame) didn’t make it easy for me. I already was stressed about my A Level exams and forthcoming operation, but these clueless bankers were causing another headache.

The problem was that because I can’t get abroad, I just let my passport expire. Mum went into the St. Albans branch to explain and was assured that all I needed to take in to the Marshalswick branch was a copy of a few letters and they’d sort it. But they didn’t. We went in and were told that the letter was not from the correct tax year. It only missed by a month and we weren’t told to bring a specific date so this was frustrating.

The next day, I returned and was told the contents of the letter was wrong but I argued that surely the address alone matters. I point blank refused to return again and took out my ID card which is incidentally good enough for bars or in betting shops but again this did not suffice. They even got me up on the electoral roll but for some reason did not use that as proof.

Before people start defending Barclays and the strenuous regulations I was told about, HSBC was given the exact same letters, ID and used the electoral roll to deal with my requests within half hour.

I should be getting commission because I now tell people to steer clear of Barclays and join the world’s local bank.

Bye for now!

Thursday, 26 July 2012


This word is over-used but I think it applies to the way I feel at the moment. I’m just stuck in no mans land, waiting for Uni. I rarely venture out of the house now partly because I have nothing to do and also the painkillers mean that I want a nap at 4. To sum up my mood, I keep having these weird Out of Body Experiences as if the lights are on but I’m not home. I am in no frame of mind to prepare for Uni or anything.

I’m not just fed up socially but also the ongoing problems with my spine. The surgeon phoned yesterday and booked me in for an assessment. Really, I just want them to operate ASAP because it’s delaying the inevitable. However, I agree with my dad who says that their lack of urgency shows it’s not dangerous and this op may not be as major. Hopefully anyway.

Back to the lull.

Bye for now!

Monday, 23 July 2012

One hell of a ride...

As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged for a while. It’s not just because I am a lazy teenager but I have had an immensely stressful time of it lately. My recovery has been brilliant since coming out of Stanmore on the 4th. I was starting to feel myself again, especially when the nurse removed the stitches last Monday.

But, on Tuesday morning while in the shower, I leant forward a few centre metres and heard what I can only describe as a ‘ping’. This was soon followed by excruciating pain in my lower back. I went to bed for the rest of the day to see if the pain may disappear but it didn’t. So, at 5pm, my mum took me to Watford A + E where we waited 6 hours for an X ray. The orthopaedic team at Watford looked at the scan and told me that there was no breakage. So, at 1:15 in the morning, I was sent home. Perhaps, I heard the rod clicking against a bone and the pain was psychological because I was anxious.

The next day, Stanmore phoned to say that they had seen the X ray and the screw had actually snapped/come loose and this was the cause of my discomfort. However, the surgeon was on holiday so no plan of action could be made yet. Obviously, this wasn’t great news but I knew that something had happened on that Tuesday morning.

The fun and games didn’t stop there. I was violently ill Wednesday night and this continued all day Thursday. Eventually, my family called for an ambulance in the early hours of Friday morning because I was dehydrated. An ambulance is certainly an experience. I was back at Watford but this time, I didn’t have to wait. I was hooked up to a drip and immediately started to feel better. I was then moved to a ward and told I would have an MRI scan soon. However, at 6pm, the doctor came and told us that due to incorrect software/people to read it, I would have to wait over the weekend. I knew from experience that nothing happens in hospital at the weekend so it was pointless for me to stay. Seems as I was back eating and drinking, I discharged myself so I could return home.

I feel a lot better now but still have recurring pain so will surely have to undergo yet another op but I’m not sure when.

I just love hospitals. I can’t get enough.

Bye for now!

Sunday, 15 July 2012


I am not afraid to admit that I enjoy a bit of retail therapy but the layout of some shops puts a stop to my enjoyment.

Some shops are completely off limits due to step access. The law now states that all new buildings must be wheelchair accessible but this does not help when I want to look in smaller shops which cannot afford to convert the frontage to make it accessible. Other shops are partly accessible because the main entrance is flat but menswear is normally up or downstairs and there is not always a lift. The reason normally is because it is a listed building. I fully understand this but there is a simple solution as I found out in Blackburn. A member of staff should offer to become your personal shopper. I told her what I was looking for and she did what I couldn’t. Went downstairs and brought me the items to look at. Albeit, I didn’t make a purchase but if more shops made the effort, they would win a customer.

Then, there are shops that are ‘completely accessible’ but, mostly because of customers, are huge obstacle courses. Not only are the rails in an inconvenient position but the clothes are strewn on the floor like a teenager’s bedroom (mine is the exception). These shops make me angry and I normally try to leave my mark before leaving.

Bye for now!

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Just like my post on the state of pavements, able bodied people do not really think about or notice kerbs because quite frankly, they don’t need to. But, for wheelchair users, whether a kerb is dropped or not becomes important when crossing a road for example.

Dropped kerbs are actually rarely completely flat and normally have a lip which is a couple of centimetres. This isn’t ideal and causes a small bump up and down. However, some kerbs are more severe than that. There are many places, even in London, where the council have concluded that three inches is passable as a dropped kerb. My powered wheelchair does have a kerb crawler to climb low kerbs but I cannot use it for a while because of my op. Also, the device is not standard for all chairs so if you were faced with an inadequate dropped kerb without a crawler, you would be stuck.

Another issue is not people being plain nasty (although they might be) but just ignorance and lack of understanding. There is no need to park across a dropped kerb and completely block a disabled person’s path. You may as well hold two fingers up and stand triumphantly in front of the wheelchair.

Whilst I am complaining, my biggest bugbear is drivers who can clearly see the traffic is not moving yet continue past the lights and thus block the crossing. Why? Because they are selfish idiots.

Bye for now!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The pavement...

The pavements and roads across Britain are in awful condition, especially when compared to other countries I have visited such as France and Germany. It is not too noticeable until you sit in a wheelchair and can feel every bump. The ground is so uneven that I need to wear a seatbelt in my powered chair because even though it has suspension, I am thrown around like a ragdoll. This is surely not doing my spine any good which is the part of the body I worry about the most following previous history.

There was a dip in my street which was causing me discomfort in the car and years of complaining later, the council eventually fixed it so the road was ready for my discharge from hospital. However, there is a stretch of path that I use often and it’s no exaggeration to say that it looks like a bomb has hit it. There are huge cracks, massive craters, lumps to navigate, crumbly tarmac etc. It’s a health and safety nightmare. But, I have informed the council yet they feel cycle paths with speed humps take more importance. This problem does not just affect me; there are other people with mobility issues, babies in prams as there is a school near-by, shoppers with trolleys from the local supermarket, cyclists and soon there will be an old people’s village which could mean scooters/frames/sticks.

This is just one area a few hundred metres from my house. Not to mention all the other places that are causing problems on a daily basis.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


I have wanted to join a gym for years so I can build up my upper strength and become fitter. I’ve been told many times that it’s not healthy to sit in my wheelchair all day but I have received no physiotherapy or help joining a gym.

The problem was my age but now I’m 18, it should be simple to join. But, (although they daren’t admit it) gyms are reluctant to take ‘Wheelchair Boy’ as a member. Probably comes down to health and safety or that they can’t be bothered dealing with a disabled person. The actual gym is either not accessible or the equipment is not suitable. I would need help and some gyms have even told me that I would have to pay for my carer/companion. Also, I’m unable to use equipment such as running machines so it seems unfair that I have to pay full membership price.

Hopefully, I can join the Brunel gym in September and attend regularly with my Personal Assistant. I’m aiming for a six pack.

Bye for now!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Trains 2...

Following my troublesome journey last time, my parents were reluctant to let me go on a train but my brother convinced them I’d be fine with him.

And I was. St. Albans got the ramps out and the train travelled to St. Pancras safely. However, when the doors opened, there was nobody with a ramp to let me off. My brother ran off the train looking for staff to assist but before long, the doors shut. I began to panic. I was now on my own, the phone had no signal and the train was heading to Sutton in South London. The next stop was Farringdon. There was no one around so I couldn’t call someone over. Then, my brother came to the door and got on board before the doors closed again. Apparently he had jumped on another carriage back at St. Pancras. I felt a little better but I was still stuck on a train. The next stop was City Thameslink. My brother told me that he ran along the platform shouting “Stop the train”. He then explained the situation to a member of staff who swiftly got a ramp to get me off board.

Both incidents clearly highlight simple problems which could be easily amended. Firstly, communication between stations and secondly, ramps. Why is there not a portable ramp per station or dare I say it on every train? That would’ve helped in both events.

Hopefully, it’s third time lucky next time.

Bye for now!

Sunday, 8 July 2012


These two incidents happened last year but perhaps partly prompted my blog, so I can get my story out and open people’s eyes on disability.

It was my first time on a train in years so the first time in my wheelchair. A friend and I had decided to head up to the West End and have a look around. This would involve a short journey to St. Pancras and then my friend would have to walk because underground stations obviously have limited accessibility. They got the ramps out at St. Albans and I boarded the front carriage without a problem. However, shortly after leaving the station, my friend overheard the driver on the radio complaining of a brake fault. As the train reached the first stop (Radlett), it came over the loudspeaker that all passengers should get off. The driver then informed us that Radlett had no ramps so would have to continue to Borehamwood. This filled me with immense fear as the magnitude of the fault was never revealed and whether the train was completely safe. Added to this, the driver was now instructed to stop at Kentish Town so more time on the broken train. They eventually got me off but the adventure wasn’t over. Turns out the ramp they used came from St. Pancras and a member of staff was sent specifically to get me off. The final part of this adventure probably annoyed a lot of people that day. They stopped a fast train so that I could board and make the final leg of the journey.

I was annoyed by the events. If I had a meeting, I would have been an hour or two late. My misery was compounded that day by the torrential rain. It was not as if I could decide to go on the tube.

I will leave the sequel to trains until tomorrow.

Bye for now!

Saturday, 7 July 2012


There are many ways disabled people can drive. Obviously standard foot pedals are out of the question so specially adapted cars have to be manufactured to allow for hand controls. Also, the cars have to be made accessible so the wheelchair can enter and take the place at the front. It is common nowadays for wheelchair users to drive and there are many companies which adapt vehicles.

Part of me is desperate to drive because it will help me become independent and less reliant on others but at the same time, I’m always crashing my electric wheelchair so I am nervous. Perhaps, when I am in top condition, I should attend a driving centre to get a feel before completely dismissing it. Most of my friends drive so I don’t really want to be the odd one out and miss the fun.

A car would be another adventure I could add to my list.

Bye for now!

Friday, 6 July 2012


In a few weeks when I have recovered more and no longer feel the need to have a 4pm siesta, I want to employ a young man who can drive to be my personal assistant (like a celebrity) and take me out. I said yesterday that I want to explore the whole World but in all honesty, I haven’t seen much of Britain. I’d love to visit Manchester and the National Football Museum for example.

It’s difficult to find people willing to apply. I don’t really know where to look or who to ask. But I have been told that, just like Alan Sugar, I must interview and get to know them before deciding which candidate gets the job. Young males are particularly hard to find because women (I’ll admit it) tend to be more caring and better suited to this kind of job. I’d be a lot more comfortable with a man and I think we’d get on better because I get quite shy around women.

Hopefully, I will find some people soon but until then, the search for the Apprentice continues.

Bye for now!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rule Britannia...

Most young adults are either going away with friends to have fun or exploring the world, taking in the glorious sights on offer. The last time I went on holiday was Cyprus seven years ago when I was not wheelchair bound and incidentally that was the furthest I’ve been. It’s not that I’m a boring wet lettuce or I’m afraid of flying but my disability provides numerous difficulties.

Firstly, it would appear difficult to actually get on the plane into an ordinary seat because I cannot walk. Also, I’ve heard many horror stories about baggage handlers damaging and even losing wheelchairs which does not feel me with confidence. Then there’s the issue of accommodation. Most hotels are accessible which means they may have wide doors, a lift and a few grab rails but this does not fulfil my needs. For example, I need a wheel in shower so I can simply wash. There are other facilities and special requirements I would require.

Practicality is not the only problem but the colossal amount of money the word ‘disability’ adds on. Places which cater for my needs bump up the price by thousands so no last minute deals for me.

I have always wanted to visit Japan but looks like that won’t be happening soon. Guess I’ll just have to get used to British seaside resorts with a little bit of rain so it’s not tedious sunshine day after day. Who needs the Riviera when you’ve got Torquay?

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


10 days normally flies by in my life but although my stay was much shorter than my previous stint, it really did feel like an eternity. Sorry I haven’t posted whilst I was in but the limited internet aswell as the hospital surroundings left me feeling uninspired to write. But now I’m home, I can blog to my hearts content and will hopefully recover quicker.

The op was a success and now I can move on, which is a relief to my family who have been understandably stressed. I feel much better in my own bedroom although I have a strange, high-pitched voice which is getting on my nerves. It did give me time to decide which stories to tell so keep checking to discover more ‘Adventures of Wheelchair Boy’.

Bye for now!