A Post About Pooh


By Sue Marsh
I know, the Welfare Reform Bill passed.  In a fizzle of shame, it gasped it’s way through the Lords last night.
But we always knew it would, so I’m going to talk about pooh.

If you have Crohn’s disease, you live in fear of one thing – the Gastro Bug.

My bowel is knackered already. I mean completely and utterly borked. It’s had bits lopped off, bit’s sliced and stitched, bit’s stuck together, bits that just gave up and exploded fairly dramatically, bit’s that turned into huge weeping abscesses and bits that sprung holes like a leaky bucket.

Thanks to the NHS, it’s been repeatedly fixed, glued, joined, patched and soothed but I haven’t got as much left as you lot and I have permanent gastro-enteritis.

Have you had food poisoning? I mean really? Have you spent all night on the toilet groaning, seriously thinking you’re going to die? Did you pass out as the clammy sweat of nausea crept through every atom of your body? Did the pain feel like a red hot poker, stabbing through your guts and out through your spine? As the colour drained from your cheeks and you dripped with a shivering, cold, sweat? Did you pull all of your stomach muscles retching endless burning acid into the toilet bowl? Did you break a rib, the spasms of peristalsis racked your body so hard?

You couldn’t believe it was possible to feel that ill and keep breathing could you? Come on really think about it! That dodgy curry after the rugby, the shellfish in Marbella, the gastric-flu that kept you in bed for a fortnight?

Well that happened to me when I was about ten and never stopped. Never. Not for a week. At first, I thought it could only be a matter of time – no body could repeatedly go through that endlessly, a horrific, grinding Groundhog Day and survive.

But you know, somehow, it can. I’ve never worked out how, but even when you want to go to bed and never wake up, when the pain is so bad you can’t think, when you can’t remember the last time you slept for more than an hour of two, you go on. I went through university and worked for 10 years through that. Every day.

28 years later, I’m slowing down a bit. My body is complaining, I have deficiencies of this and crumbling bits of that. My bones haven’t developed properly and already have osteoporosis. My teeth have crumbled away from the steady coating of vomit acid. I can’t walk very far or stand up for long or pick up my children – I’m really, really tired.

But some days, if I’m really lucky, once in a blue moon, I might be that fraudster on the water slide, pretending she’s disabled. The “cheat” who dared to risk all of the above but still go to London for a day trip or cheer at the sidelines of my little boy’s school football tournament. I’ll be the one who defiantly hangs on to pleasure when it comes my way – it comes so rarely.

2 days ago, I caught a Gastric Bug. I’ve been lucky – it’s been years, but the particularly snippy diarrhoea and vomiting bug that’s putting healthy people in bed for two days has found me.

My bowel is their favourite playing ground of all. They will set up camps in my leaky bits, have parties in the pockets and loops that shouldn’t be there. Last night, I broke my personal-best poohing record. My bowels exploded in agony 28 times!! 28!! I have no idea why I started counting, there was a point to it last night, but I’ve forgotten now. I may as well have cholera now, and I’m off to bed for a bit.

So why the graphic, uncomfortable, faecal, vulnerable post this morning?

Because the Welfare Reform Bill, 2010 passed last night and people like me just lost everything. Regular readers will know, I have been told I don’t qualify for DLA and I almost certainly will lose Incapacity Benefit as nothing in the ESA descriptors would mean that I qualify for ESA. Even if I did I will lose it after a year as my husband earns more than £7,500 a year. I’ll never qualify for the Long term Support Group because I will never be “completely incapable of any kind of work at all”. Also, with a bit of luck, they’ll never actually tell me I’ve only got six months to live, I’ll just burst somewhere at some point. So that means I’ll never qualify because I’ll never be “terminally ill” (Though of course, I will be, potentially, every day.)

People with “moderate needs” like mine – I’ll leave you to judge how moderate my disability sounds from the description I just gave above – will no longer qualify for any kind of Social Care. Nor will my children unless I get to the stage where I physically can’t get them to school.

I won’t qualify for the new PIP – my incontinence is not severe enough to qualify. I was incontinent 7 times last night, cleaned myself up, changed my own clothes. But I did it myself, which means my disability doesn’t affect me, according to the new rules.

My husband won’t get carer’s allowance, we won’t qualify for any of the things the Government say are exempting the disabled from the worst of this bill because look! They’ve de-classified me!! Evil genius isn’t it? We won’t be able to earn a little more before we lose support because guess what? I’m not disabled now, so I won’t qualify for the “help disabled people are getting”.

So if you haven’t read my blog before, I hope all the talk of pooh didn’t make you feel too uncomfortable. But I hope more than anything, that what we just did to compassion, dignity and the lives of sick and disabled people up and down the country makes you feel very uncomfortable indeed.

29th Feb, 2012. The Welfare Reform Bill, 2010, became an Act.

And everything changed.


Courtesy of Sue Marsh – http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/