Category: Teaching qualifications


J was home but in a lot of pain and discomfort, we reapplied for ESA and J was awarded support group. Not surprisingly as he couldn’t move without someone pulling his leg as it was lifted or moved to the side or lifted down, which meant he couldn’t go anywhere without help. Once upright with crutches he was kind of ok as gravity acted as a pulling motion, I try to explain it to people as; do you remember those little wooden toys kids have, usually an animal of some sort. They worked by pressing a button underneath and as you pressed it the animal would collapse and when you let it go, it would miraculously ping back up to standing, all the seperate bits back together (held by elastic). J’s leg was like that, the tension had to be held to keep the cement spacer in line with his bones if it wasn’t well let’s just say we all became familiar with the sound of J screaming. He would get shooting pains as well that would make him yelp in pain and some times literally jump in his seat. He would get odd sensations of wetness or a sensation of someone touching his leg, and neuropathic pain as well. He almost always got these sharp painful pains just as he was falling asleep…

The first time he had to have the dressing changed was awful, the poor nurses and poor J. It goes against all their training to pull a leg that’s so badly broken and operated on, it took a few attempts before they really grasped pulling his leg, lol no pun intended…  In order to change his dressings the nurse’s had to lift it out of the cast, undo the wrapping, change the dressings, re wrap it and then put it back in the cast, all while pulling on his leg, I think every district nurse for miles came and had a go, they where great though working fast and as painlessly as possible, we can’t fault them we would never have got through those eight weeks with out all the nurses that came and helped, we owe them a grate debt.


Preparing to lift J’s leg out of the cast, all the cotton wool padding is cut so the nurse can lift it out, while me and another nurse prepair to whisk away the old padding and the cast so the nurse can put his leg back down cairfully all the time pulling on his leg. I cropped the photo so none of the gory bits would show, J wouldn’t want you to see those bits.

We got in to quite a good rhythm towards the end opening the cast, cutting the wrapping, lifting his leg out of the cast on to the footstool with his foot hanging off the end so the nurses could check his foot and all his other scars then re wrap the foot and anckle, then the lifting nurse would lift his leg, while we moved the footstool and re position it so J could rest while they wrapped the shin and knee area then one more lift and footstool move so they could wrap his thigh. Then the final lift and pull so me and a nurse could re position the cast and the lifting nurse could gently lower the foot and leg back in to the cast all the time pulling to create traction. By the end of it we would all be sweating, and if we all got it right J had suffered only a little pain. 


You can just see in the back ground the bottom half of the cast that we had to lift J’s leg in and out of to dress it. During the eight weeks J started to get a pressure sore on his heal, so sometimes we had to take the top half of his cast off at night so his leg and foot wasn’t under pressure for a few hours. The nurses tried everything to prevent a pressure sore forming it came close but they managed to keep it at bay.

Getting up and down the stairs was another challenge, I had to walk behind him going up as he was wobbly on his feet, I hate to think what would have happened if he’d fell I doubt I would have been much more than something softish to land on… coming down was safer, on his bottom with me holding his cast laden leg… one step at a time as they say…


(He’s shy) I adapted J’s trousers and made a Velcro fastener on one side so he didn’t have to worry about getting his leg in and out of a trouser leg.

We settled in to a routine J’s leg started to heal and his pain levels reduced.

and then…

 he fractured his right wrist in a bad fall, it wasn’t the first or last but it was the worst… 


now J had one ordinary crutch and one gutter crutch to walk with, and a wrist in a blue cast from his fingers to his elbow.

Sometimes I think if someone wrote this as a novel everyone would think how far fetched it was…

Slowly and for J very painfully the eight weeks passed as summer turned to autum, another autum missed by J, his favourite season, we finally reached the magic eight weeks and it was October 2016 and time for the second op, replacing all the prosthetic metal work and seeing if they had managed to kill the bug…

J once again left for oxford and we waved him goodbye yet again… 

Despite J’s worries the second op went well with less complications, this time we all went up to visit. J loved seeing our son and having company in the first few days after his op… not long after we came home they got him up and about starting physio, and with in two weeks he was home, original bug free and on anti fungles for a possible secondary infection, but one much easyier to get rid of… J started physio, and discovered his left, still non bendy leg was now two and a bit inches shorter than the other hence all the falling over, he’s since had special shoes made which make it easier for him to stay upright, till he takes them off and forgets his legs are difrent lengths… take your laughs where you can get them folks… 

Id like to say at this point a deeply grateful thank you to J parents for taking me and our son to see J so much over this awful time it really helped me and L and I know it helped J to have us close by for at least some of the time, I know it must have cost a lot, and not just in energy… 

J passed his first year of the PGCE and when talking to his teachers and apologising for the quality of his final essay, his teacher said when you have a teacher who can teach students with such profound support needs, as well as you do, we don’t worry about the quality of an essay… how lovely was that….

I passed my TDL as well and I had started back to work on reduced hrs for obvious reasons…regardless of my caring responsibilitys I had learnt a valuable lesson about the limitations I sometimes forget that ME and Fibro place on me and how pushing those limitations can be bloody stupid… I’m still trying to recover, I’m not really managing that yet, consiquently, I have not extended my hours even now.. I learnt my lesson I have limited capacity for a reason and I’m still paying the piper for last year… 

Our son has been diagnosed with high functioning autism to add to the sensory processing disorder, he calls it asparagus syndrome I like his sense of humour. It’s nothing we didn’t expect and he’s still just L at the end of the day… with all his joys and challenges… 

Fast forward to July 2017 lots has happened this year, J completed his commission a bitter sweet experience, and he’s going back to college to complete the second year of the PGCE. It’s going to be difficult for him but he wants to get it done because…


(J’s commission, Sorry about the iffy photo)

 J’s having counselling for a possible amputation, as well as meeting up to chat with people that have had the op…

 J’s new prosthetics won’t last ten years probably, maybe a good five or eight maybe, he’s 46, the older he is the harder it will be for him to adjust to a prosthetic limb.  I don’t think he wants to lose any more years to the non bendy leg. It’s is most likely J will have an above knee amputation after he finishes college in 2019… the Long Road continues… 

Oh and I have been diagnosed with AF, Atrial fibrillation… 😊 I have a heart condition… YAY…

I think now you can see why it’s taken me so long to put this all down.

And just because they can the DWP have just told J that his ESA will stop in September as he will no longer qualify under the 365day rule… again…

And worryingly J has been complaining that his leg hurts… I’m hoping with every breath that it’s a healing pain…

and I’m still really really tired…

Live long and prosper my people…

Dxxx

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Hi folks, well that time out really was a time out… lol  The last part of our story was in Jan 2015 and it’s now July 2017, and what a long road we have been on…

At the end of the last our story post, J’s surgery had been cancelled, the Drs decided to stop his antibiotics and  he’d decided to get on with his life and despite several setbacks he was on the first of many tiny steps towards a new direction for work an career.

During this period we managed to get a referral to the Autistic Spectrum Disorder team for our son for an assesment, we where on the waiting list, but it was going to take approximately 18months before we could see them… oh the joy… 

Strangely and by seeming coincidence, the course J needed to do, in preparation for the PGCE and working as a teacher the PTTLS course, was going to cost £600 and seemed to be beyond us, when J’s dad happens to mention that a local group he had heard of (he spent most of his working life as a youth worker) was doing a PTTLS like course and that he would enquire aboout it… a couple of days later he contacted us with the info and said ring up, I think it’s free… Wow what a score, J phoned and booked on the course, it was a six week crash course and it was free… woohoo… and that wasn’t the strange bit, the course was being held in the business park literally over the road from us or behind the houses over the road from us, a very short ten minute walk from our front door, how awesome was that…   lol… 

J through himself in to the course battling some significant anxiety, he had been away from the work/education environment for a long time, but despite this he completed the course with flying colours… very proud 😊

At this point J started volenteering for the college and started accompanying me to work as my teaching assistant learning about how we do all the paperwork involved in teaching and the hands on teaching process. Experiencing the ins and outs of teaching people with mental health and disability issues. All in preparation for college in September  2015…yes he was offered a place on the PGCE part time, I became a fan of this moving forward thing, so much so I applied to do the TDL level 5 myself, (Teaching Disabled Learners) as well as taking on more hours… (in retrospect not the most sensible idea..)

Summer hols some time to prepair for all the stuff we had signed up to do yikes… and a chance to go camping for a long weekend… hello Beth… lol… worst weather ever, 50 mile an hour winds and torrential rain… but we survived and had a great time. Even though it nearly killed us both, note to self theres nothing wrong with clean sheets and room service… 

September came and J started his course, he was alocated a mentor and placement, teaching horticulture to students with learning difficulties and some PMLD students. These where students with profound and muliple learning disabilitys, the problems J students had ranged from Autism and Down’s syndrome, to students that couldn’t walk, talk, read or write. He also continued to work in my class teaching students with depression and anxiety as well as some other mental health problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, multiple personality disorder and autism. So quite a selection of different learners and different experiences.

J coped really well, surprising everyone including himself at how quickly he settled in to teaching, seeming to find teaching even the most challenging students with professionalism and compassion as natural to him as painting has been for years, did I ever mention J’s an artist? He even took on a commission to do a painting of a friends home, this moving on thing was really out of control… (the run away train when down the track and she blew….) lol…

We both settled in to student and teachers lives spending most of every day doing paperwork…I’m not kidding!

January 16 came and I was asked to take over a ceramics class, yay teaching my specialism what more could I ask and the extra money was a god send as we where struggling because of the 365day rule… in February J started to complain his leg hurt, just aching and we put I down to working to much, a week or two later he went to the GP as his pain was getting quite bad, the GP said nope nothing wrong just rest more and take some pain relief, luckily it was almost Easter so we didn’t think much of it.

Just before Easter I was asked to cover another class because the teacher was off ill, I had been doing some cover work over the last few months just the odd extra class here and there so I was used to dropping in to a class, this was a horticulture and art class and was a whole day, now I was beginning to realise that wanting to do something and actually doing it where very far from the same thing… but money needs sometimes over rule our better judgement. I was doing well on my TDL, working as much as I dare and trying to make up for the lack of income that was by no means J’s fault.

Easter came and J’s leg wasn’t improving if anything it was worse, the same GP still insisted nothing was going on, no infection he said just rest… this was the same GP that had missed J’s infection before so we where not convinced and started to watch J’s symptoms more closely…

The Easter holls finished and we both started the final push J was working towards the end of his first year and I was working towards my final essay and resuch project as well as working. By this time it was mid may and J suddenly had a pain attack when I wasn’t home. When he couldn’t reach me he got our son to phone grandad and he called an ambulance, Jon was in agony easily as bad as some of his early pain back in 2012-13 when he had the bone infection. With his history the paramedics decided to take him in and he spent an over night stay in our local hospital in lots of pain. They sent him home the next day, they couldn’t find anything wrong.

J tried to carry on going in to class and doing his resurch project on comunicating with PMLD students that couldn’t speak or write, a fascinating and frutefull piece of work that shows promise for improving communication between staff and students.

Finally after nearly 18 months of waiting our son had his assessment for Autism but it would be some time before we would get the results.

A couple of weeks later J was rushed in to hospital again in agony, this time he was there for ten days while they tried to get his pain under control. This time they told him you have an infection but we can’t find it, we can’t pinpoint where it is but we know you have it. By this time J had a small red patch on his leg just above his knee, things where not looking good. The Drs finally discharged him because he had an appointment to see his specialist in oxford the following week. That appointment got cancelled and J muddled through another couple of weeks of college.

He finally got to see his specialist at the beginning of June and as we suspected they confirmed his bone infection was back with avengance and they had no choice now they would have to operate and do the op they had cancelled in 2015.

To be continued… Dxxx

Hello again Folks… It’s been a while again I know…

Well where are we now… When last we spoke, J was waiting for his big ops that where going to take him back 100% and hopefully solve the amazing no bendy knee problem… J was due in on the 14th of October 2014… Which was cancelled… To make way for an emergency… He was re scheduled for the end of October… So he dutifully said goodby to us yet again and went up to Oxford to prepair for the surgery, something which took a great deal of courage. It was to be a big surgery to remove his prosthetic knee and bones and replace it with a antibiotic cement prosthetic version for six weeks while they tried to eradicate his bone infection and then a second op to replace it all… Which would hopefully not only get rid of the infection but also get the very expensive but non bendy knee bending…

He arrived the day before and went through all the pre op assessments and tests that they couldn’t do before hand, because we live so far from the hospital, prepared as best he could, had his last meal so to speak and tried to get some rest before the big day…

Day of the op came round I was doing everything I could not to freak out down here so far away and trying to focus on work, yes it was a work day for me… Only to receive a text from J saying the Dr wants some more tests done before he does the surgery… Fair enough I though he needs the most up to date information…
Two hours later I finish work, not knowing if J was in surgery or not and drive to my mums to pick her up before going home because, well honestly I really didn’t want to be alone while my partner underwent such serious surgery so far away… J phoned when I got home…

His surgery had been canceled less than an hour before he went in… His orthopaedic surgeon and plastic surgeon had just been to visit him and had explained that they didn’t think the surgery was worth the risk of further infection and potential further loss of mobility. They where worried that he was potentially infection free and thought that further surgery may give him another infection, that might get out of control. That unless they where sure he still had the infection or had some other reason to go in they where not prepared to put him at risk for possibly little improvement in his mobility. The high risk of another bone infection, that are notoriously difficult to get under control and cure, out weighed the other potential benefits….
Could they not have decided that 8 months ago before we lived off his redundancy money because it was pointless him getting a job?…

So he was coming home… Grrr and phew all in the same breath…

His doctors decided to take him off the two different antibiotics he had been on for eighteen months and wait and see if the bone infection re surfaced… His GP is testing him regularly and he has had a slight increase in his infection markers but we won’t know for some time if it’s significant…

So J came home relived he hadn’t had to go through more extremely painful surgery but frustrated that he would be more significantly disabled than expected for the rest of his life. However grateful that as a cancer patient in remission… thankfully still no new tumours have been detected… Touch wood… He still has a life to lead.

So now has begun the next journey for J, which is the journey back to work, and although his leg doesn’t bend and is still very swollen and painful he feels he can’t put his life on hold any longer, he needs to get a job… The ESA 365day rule dictates that we can’t afford not to… But what job, doing what? His previous experience had made him realise that most employers are not interested in employing someone with his health history or his disability, despite what the government says, he has come to dread that moment when in the job application process he has to disclose what he has been through knowing that far from thinking how tough and amazing he is to have survived all he’s been through, they will just see him as an employment risk and reject his application before he even gets a chance to talk to them…

So I suggested he went to see our local JCP disabilities specialist a lovely lady who I have had help from in the past, we made an appointment for later in November… In the mean time J found a job he was convinced he could do, cleaning in a local supermarket p/t… That was soul destroying for both him and me as I had to make him realise he couldn’t do manual work on his feet any more. All the jobs he has had in his life have been on his feet physical work. With the help of our physio, the lady who realised J had something more than a knee strain in the beginning, we managed to get him to realise he couldn’t be on his feet working like he had been in his previous job even part time, because of the strain it would put on his already not very well leg. But he also can’t do a sit down job because his leg loses feeling after sitting in a chair with out his leg up after only a short while… And like J said in a fit of frustration one day…

BUT WHAT F***ING JOB CAN I GET WHERE I CAN HAVE MY LEG UP ALL DAY… FFS…

I didn’t know but said lets wait to see ŵhat the JCP have to say…

I understand his frustration and I know it’s not all about his leg or his job but it’s also about suddenly being dependant… And being dependant on the person that you used to be the carer off, and who used to be dependant on you… must be very hard… I know it is for me…

The ESA 365 day rule is trapping people in to financial dependency on their partners leaving them with no financial independence from people that they may have difficult or abusive relationships with. This rule that states that a person on NI contrabution based ESA, can only receive Employment and Support Allowance for ill health for 365days regardless of how many years they have paid in to the pot. Must after this time be assess for income related ESA a fact they won’t tell you about… your money just stops, you have to request a reassessment for income based. Will only be awarded Income related ESA if the family income is below £7,000 a year. £7,000 a year for two people and in our case three people to live on… My working tax credit takes us over the top of that thresh hold despite my business making zero income for another year. But only just. Because of the tax credits we also do not qualify for school meals for our son and lots of other little bits and bobs that can make the difference. We are left three people living off the wage from a few hrs teaching and our tax credit…
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is becoming a way of life except Peter has no money either😊…

So the appointment for the JCP specialist rolls round, and she is as lovely as ever and tells J about a re training scheme he can do which he may be able to do from home but would most likely be a thirteen week residential course up in Plymouth as there are no centres closer to us that are doing the courses… We have many colleges and a university in Cornwall… Go figure… Or he can go on to work choice who will be able to help him look for work or go self employed or both… But agrees finding a job he can do will be tough…
We come home not much uplifted it has to be said… Me trying to be positive says well think about it at the very least we can go up to Plymouth to see what’s on offer… We’ve made it through the last few years what’s thirteen weeks… J just looks on with a face like thunder not at all impressed…

So at this point I decided I need to look for more work, obviously it needs to be something I can manage with the Fibro and ME, nothing to physical, to emotionally draining or requiring to much brain use as the effect on my cognitive skills that thinking has is huge… (No giggling) So I start looking… And I find a p/t job working for the SU at the local Uni, working to ensure the students get all they are entitled to… I think mmmm might be possible… But it turns out that the hours clash with my teaching so I don’t go for it in the end…
A few weeks later via another campaign I’ve become involved in saving the contemporary Crafts Course at Fal Uni… #saveourcrafts @saveourcrafts. I hear about another job vacancy one that involves teaching ceramics to adults and kids and folks with disabilities, that seems right up my street. It’s a bit far to drive being in StIves but I think we’ll I won’t know if I don’t try, so I decide what the hell I’m gonna try I’m not the best thrower, I’ve not thrown on the wheel for years but I know how to teach it… But I decide to run it past my boss first, I can’t afford to lose the little job I have. As it so happens I had an appraisal scheduled for the following week, so I get to the end of my appraisal which was glowing by the way… 😊 Lol… And I ask her if the college would mind me having a second although technically third job and she says no not at all but I must add that staffing levels at the college are like the Mary Celeste and if you want more hrs you can have them… So I said yes… Obviously needing to build up slowly but yes…
We went on to talk about other things including J… I had to disclose J’s cancer way back in 2011 when he fist got ill because it might have effected my ability to work. Caring for cancer patients being what it is…
We talked about his op that never was and his employment problems and she suggested he come to work for the college basically doing what I do… He’s got the same degree as me, he has experience as a carer and a non medical helper all he would need is a teaching qualification which he could do while teaching, and we don’t care if he teaches from standing up, sitting down or moving about and we already know about his health problems… I was gobsmacked, astonished but very grateful that not everyone sees disability as a problem. She gave me some info to see the college career adviser and told me to get back to her if J was interested…

Needless to say J was interested…
We had an appointment with the careers adviser and apart from J having to wait till next September to start a PGCE its all looking kinda good… He will need to do some voluntary work and shadowing but assuming that all goes ok it’s looking promising…
Except…
And here’s where I need advice he needs to do the PTTLS course first or what ever the equivalent is (it had a name change) Preparing to Teach in Life Long Learning Sector… And that is a thirteen week course that is not funded… It’s going to cost around £600 for him to do it and we are so beyond broke its not funny… How do we fund it? Has anyone got any inside funding knowledge that might help?

So this is where we are… Is there light at the end of this very dark tunnel or am I just seeing things….

Hugs to you all Dxxx
Ps to see the whole story so far select the access to work category and scroll to the bottom…