When I was younger I trained at Llandough Hospital to be a nurse but I left to have children. I went back there for 13 years or so as an auxiliary working nights cause that way I was there for the kids in the day.
00.31 I’ve done 20 odd years I worked with different charities but all around mental health, I’ve been a trustee and Vice Chair and Chair of a couple, and I absolutely loved it. And then about five six years ago, I mean I was walking with a stick by then anyway, but about five six years ago, seven, suddenly everything just crashed and I couldn’t…partly my back, I couldn’t stand up.
01.00 And it was catastrophic. I was in Llandough for roughly two months and most of the time sort of on the bed, on bed rest, and as the ulcers healed so my foot twisted. So it wouldn’t go on the floor at all. It was, it started to get for me almost a game, because the doctors tried very, very hard to discharge me, they kept telling me medically I was fit “You can go home” but I think I’d become one of those social cases where the doctors would say “Go home” and the nurses would say “No she can't til she’s got a package of care.”
01.46 I accept now I couldn’t manage without my package of care. There’s a lot I cannot do for myself but it was horrendous. I didn’t feel as though I was in control of my home anymore, I didn’t feel as though I was in control of me.
02.02 A couple of I went on to what they call Your Choice and it does give me a lot more control. I seem to go in phases say for hospital appointments and I can go to two or three a week for a couple of months, and whereas before I just had to cancel all the meal breaks that it covered well now I can bank them so they’re allocated to me in a separate area and I can take them back and use them for whatever I want which is a huge difference from the actual package of care.
02.38 Before Your Choice was introduced to me if I didn’t use that time which could have been I had a hospital appointment or whatever, those hours were lost.
02.51 I used to be involved with five or six charities all around mental health and because of my health I’ve had to give most of them up. I’m still involved with two. One of them is an Advocacy service, which is really, really brilliant. And when I go to a meeting it used to be I’d have to say cancel lunch and tea calls and I just lose the time and for years I’ve just lots the time. But now I bank those times so my lunch and tea call will give me an hour back which yes, you’re in discussion with the office about when they can send somebody out, but I enjoy doing the meetings but it also means I’m gaining in terms of getting stuff done here that I want.
03.45 I want to get a lot of my crafting stuff down because I want to start doing crafting again but literally this room has been full because everything I’ve needed for the past six years has been in this one room. And what I’m doing with the banked hours under Your Choice, people come in and they’ll help me pack stuff up, they’ll take it upstairs and bring down what I want down here.
04.10 And one of my carers she helped – she’s the one that helps with the showers in the week, she does my shopping call, and she thinks it's great. She enjoys doing it, and so do the others that have been here. They say they can see a difference in me and they want to get something down that I’m going to do and enjoy doing rather than just – basically I watch telly 20 hours a day.
04.43 And so yes, I’ve been to Barry Island on a train this summer, and actually got off the train, had a bag of chips and came back again.
04.54 But what – the one thing that – it's been me holding back a bit because Tory the carer’s more than happy to do it, I want to try getting on a bus. Now I know the busses take wheelchairs, but my wheelchair like me is slightly bigger than the norm, and the thought of trying to get it onto a bus is scary.
05.20 But before the winter sets in we’re going to do that. And yes, I mean if I can manage to accrue the banked hours again and maybe tag it onto the two hours social call, which is what I call it, I don’t know what it's supposed to be called, then maybe we will go somewhere on the bus because that's what – that's my next big hurdle, is trying a bus.
05.44 And since I’m getting the extra time with a carer that is – I don’t like the word ‘dictating’ but in a sense that's what I’m doing, I’m saying “This is what I want, this is what will make a difference to my life and my existence.”
06.01 And it's happening. So I suppose I am feeling – I’m feeling more confident I think, or better about myself when I’m actually – when the carer’s here.
06.16 When the carer isn’t here if I’m having a bad day I’ll go back into the ‘can't do anything for myself’ but that's wrong because I do get a lot of support now, and this Your Choice has been really amazing for that.