Saturday, 23 March 2013

Continuation of my journey through life

I am out the other side and it doesn't look as if too much permanent damage has been caused by my latest flare up....
What a real corker that was, both hands in such a mess that they were actually bleeding at times, joints swollen and painful and umpteen sleepless nights, if pain was measured on a scale of 1-10 I was off the scale somewhere around infinity!
An infection was coursing around my body having the time of it's life and pushing its way out as an abscess in the most inconvenient of places!
Eventually I gave in and visited my GP who although sympathetic can do little other than try to treat the symptoms, so antibiotics for abscess/infection and oramorph to back up my usual Tramadol, lots of sympathy etc and a lets wait and pray it doesn't last too long.

So you can imagine how stressful it was when we saw on our councils list a two bedroom house that had been adapted to a disability level 3 in an area we know is lovely and decided to bid on it can't you?
I am registered with the council as a level 2 need for a property but after waiting for well over a year for a suitable place to come available and learning there were only 45 two bedroom bungalows in the whole town we had decided we would start bidding on 2 bedroom houses and see if they could be adapted for me.
So the thinking was if it was already a level 3 adaptation hopefully it wouldn't take much more to turn it into a level 2 and therefore we may be considered for it so we bid on it and then the waiting game began.

I will briefly explain the bidding system for you,
When you apply to the council for housing, either first time or transfer, you are put in a priority band according to your need and other factors I.e health, downsizing etc
Then you get a place in that band according to length of time you have been waiting.
We knew we were priority because I had been assessed and it was agreed my need was high as I could no longer get out of my flat due to the concrete steps outside, I couldn't access the communal garden and we had 1 bedroom we were happy to give up as we no longer required it.
The bidding cycle runs from Thursday morning until early hours of the following Tuesday morning.

We put in our bid and we waited, on the Wednesday of the following week the council phoned to ask if they could come and inspect this property, I agreed and it passed with flying colours, did this mean we were being considered? The lovely lady from the council couldn't tell me anything, not even a hint although she did know the house we had bid on and told us it had a wet room already and there was a stairlift in there although it was being taken out as it wasn't one of theirs. But if it had already had one there was no reason why another couldn't be put in to make it suitable for me.
That Thursday the list came on line again and the house we had bid on showed as 'short listing'
It also showed that 164 people had bid on it.
I had convinced myself then that we had no chance, even hubby who is ever the optimist thought we would possibly have made the top ten in the short listing but didn't think we would have got it.
I pretended I really didn't care, we would carry on looking each week and it must be our turn soon and anyway the perfect bungalow may come up in the next few weeks.
I won't pretend my heart didn't leap a little every time the phone rang for the rest of that week or that I didn't rush to scan the post but in my heart I accepted we had not got this one.
Saturday mornings post brought with it an envelope from the council, I looked at it without enthusiasm, the lady who had Inspected us said she would put her findings in writing and send them to me........
I didn't even open It straight away, another letter had caught my attention first so it lay on the bed next to me for a few minutes and then I reached for it, opened it and read......
OMG OMG they had offered it to us, 163 people were going to be disappointed but not us because they had offered us the chance to view the house.
Can you believe it? Well I couldn't and Trevor was out walking Molly and took absolutely ages to get back.
We had to ring council Monday morning and arrange a viewing and then say if we were going to accept it or not.
Monday came and with it more waiting as the council rightly wanted their OT to be at the viewing as she would say if it was suitable for my needs or suggest anything that needed doing to make it suitable for my needs, they had to contact her and see when she was free.
Why oh why do these things take so long?
We had a week and a bit to wait before she could attend for the viewing and I went between being convinced it was fine and being sure it would be taken from us before we even got it.

I also had the worst week health wise ever! A suspected tummy bug on top of the flare saw me bed ridden for two days and weak for the remainder of the week.

Now we knew the number of the house hubby took me around one afternoon to see where it was, it is a lovely area, it already had a ramp to the front door. He got out of the car to see if he could see anything more and the man next door came out. They got chatting and they both disappeared into this fellas house, he took Trevor through to look over his fence and see what 'could' be our garden. Trevor was full of it, the man was called Steve, he and Trevor had practically exchanged life stories in that short space of time, the garden was huge but in a right mess.
Me) you walked through his house to get to the garden?
Trevor) yes
Me) what's it like?
Trevor) erm I don't know, I didn't look.
Me) ok, you went through his hallway? Where are the stairs?
Trevor) they must have been there somewhere but I didn't notice
Me) his kitchen? What are his unit's like? Colour
Trevor) I have no idea, sorry love I just didn't notice any of those things
Me) so you walked right through his house but can tell me nothing?
Trevor) he's got wooden flooring

The viewing.
We all do it don't we? You get images in your head of what a place might look like, how it may be. Remember they had inspected ours as they insist you leave your property in top condition before you move.
Unloved, un cared for and a tip would be describing this house politely.
Disappointed is an understatement for how I felt as I walked through the door.
The stairlift was still there but not working as the electrics were in the process of being replaced so floorboards were removed, holes in ceilings etc.
gas central hearing and a new combi boiler was also being installed and the kitchen was waiting to be replaced.
We had to look beyond these things and also realise how lucky we were they were doing them now before we moved in but the decor was dated and dirty, in fact every bit of the house was dated and dirty and quite a shock when without blowing my own trumpet I can say my home now is beautiful.
I think we were both a bit shell shocked to be honest, the garden was Indeed huge and overgrown with rubbish lying all over the place. Some parts were so overgrown you couldn't actually see where next doors fence was!
Half way down was a pond, filthy dirty and neglected, the neighbour had told Trevor he had removed the fish the previous week as the water level had dropped alarmingly.
We stood on the bit of path we could find and peered over into the dirty water to see dozens of eyes peering back, the pond was teeming with frogs and I mean teeming, I have never seen so many frogs all together before and they were definitely watching us watching them!
The council lady said they would be removed and the ponds ( yes there were two) would be filled in before we moved in.

The OT walked round the house with us making notes of where grab rails needed to be put for me and watching how I coped with the layout of the house.
' I can see you are shocked at the state of it' she said 'but I also sense you really want this place' and she was right, we did, both of us had fallen for its dirty unkempt charm and could see beyond the grime and we desperately wanted the chance to make it our home.
But for us to have it there would have to be a stair lift, the one that was there was being taken out in two days and OT explained we would have to go through the process of contacting social services, being assessed, waiting for funding etc etc and this could all take months if not years and she would not sign for us to have this house without one as I clearly could not cope with the stairs. I was close to tears, we had seen the house, it was within our grasp and it could still be taken away even now.
It was the council woman that gave us back hope, the stair lift that was here belonged to Stannah, she had details of it, It had only been in for 16 months, we could ask Stannah if we could take over the contract and then they could leave it there and council would be happy to agree to that and so would OT.
So as soon as we returned home I got on the phone to Stannah,
Yes it was their stairlift but the contract for it was with the council until 2021, all they would need was an e mail asking them to leave it there and changing the details from the previous tenant to ours.
And that was it done, council lady very happy to send required e mail, OT very happy to send report agreeing to us having the house and hey presto it's ours.
About 4 weeks to finish the kitchen, the re wiring and the gas installation and we get the keys and then the rest of our lives to show the house some TLC and ease it back to full health.

All this time I haven't been sleeping well due to pain, stress, waiting, hoping etc etc
Now I can't sleep due to excitement and planning it all in my head.

What a month this has been eh?


Trish Bullock said...

So glad you got it. Hope you and Trevor will be very happy in it. Sounds like he has a bit of work to do though! xx

Jane said...

Made up for you, will make an enormous difference to your quality of life. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Such a shame I won't be able to come and visit you. Well possibly?? Lots of photos please as work goes on...
Fantastic news xxx

Janette said...

what a wonderful story, I am so pleased for both of you. I hope and pray you will spend many happy years in your new home xxx

tinysuz said...

So pleased you have got the house Penny even though it sounds as if there is plenty of work to be done, you must be so pleased xx