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Dehydrated In Derby

November 12, 2015

I’ve spent the last few days in Derby. Yesterday, I was invited to tell the Get Steven Home story at the Derby Social Work conference and today, I was asked to be part of a Panel discussing the Care Act at the National IMCA conference. It’s been an interesting week.

Monday is my usual respite afternoon/night but I was prepared to give that up and spend the extra hours with Steven. No chance. As I’ve written before, routine is everything, so he kicked me out the door at 1.30 as usual, so he could get on with watching Unseen Bean with Chris. I stayed at the flat Monday night and set off for Derby the following lunchtime.

Is Derby expecting another Ice Age? My hotel room was like a sauna. The radiators weren’t on but within an hour I was saturated. I became so dehydrated that I thought I might be ill but checked with Jakki the conference organiser and her room was just as molten. Last night I went to bed about 10.30 but was wide awake and dripping again by 2am. The heat was unbearable so I threw a t shirt and shorts on and went outside for some fresh air. I got out alright but couldn’t get back into the hotel. I had to wait outside for over half an hour before the night Porter answered my frantic ringing of the doorbell. A Fred Flinstones moment.

Both the conferences went well. As usual, I had the thought that I’m just a “turn” but I think I’m a bloody good turn, so the thought didn’t last too long. Brilliantly, I got the chance to hear Wayne Martin from the Essex Autonomy Project speak again and I love him bringing philosophy into social care debates. Today, he talked about the idea of a “3rd liberty” and suggested that you don’t really have liberty when it could all be gone in an instant at the hands of someone more powerful than you. It certainly resonated with me and I’m sure with a lot of disabled people and their families. I chipped in and said that as we speak, Steven would be at his water aerobics group. He is very much the author of his life in choosing to go there. But I am acutely aware that a change of care manager, a reduction in the funding of his personal budget, a risk adverse social care psychologist and it could all end overnight. In one bureaucratic swoop, Steven could go from writing his autobiography to having someone who doesn’t even know him, write his biography. I agree with Professor Martin – a liberty that is as precarious as that isn’t really a liberty. As awesome as Wayne is, I fear that the social care world had made such a pigs ear of the legal aspect of deprivation of liberty, they are in no fit state to bring a philosophical discussion into the mix. Even though, it’s desperately needed.

I got home at 8.30 and Steven had just put on his 3 hour video “The 50 Greatest Musicals”. He always goes for a crafty epic video when I’m out to ensure he’s still up when I get home. So after three days away and admiring his new haircut, we’ve spent the last hour discussing Topol’s beard, whether the Blood Brothers need a plaster and what shampoo you use to wash a man right out of your hair.

It’s been quite a day. Discussions on Topol’s beard and liberty. In fact, for Steven, discussions on Topol’s beard IS liberty.


From → Social Care

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