Wednesday 15 June 2016

Diary (5) When an able person needs to be declared handicapped herself to receive help in order to help the person who truly needs it

New news from The Little Family and a new turn in our life.
Another paradox of "The Red Tape".
All the excitement around our situation has made me ill, and I called our GP earlier this afternoon. Once diagnosed with a stomach ulcer, we talked about our needs. 
It is agreed that the house needs the great cleaning about which we have been talking for months. Dr Quack was even surprised that it had not already been done. Out was his prescription pad and busy did he become plying his pen along the page, requiring a cleaning firm to be sent to do the scouring from basement to attic, and then the assurance that  a cleaning lady would come two hours a week to help me do the routine tidying. Out was his cell phone to ring up the finance administrator to discuss the situation and to release the necessary funds.
I asked for a package: house and garden, as growing grass is a constant preoccupation, everywhere in the garden and, especially, close to the house: little animals of the fields and meadows may find their way within our walls.
I underlined the necessity to have a car that I might drive to go where we need when we need, and in case of emergency - on behalf of Anne-Fleur and The whole Little Family.
The finance administrator was out of reach - in a meeting or not at her desk - but Dr Quack left a message asking her to ring him back. Undaunted, he told me that he would ring her back himself if he had no news very quickly.
In France, in cases such as Anne-Fleur's, a MD/GP reigns. His word overrules all words - in a limited way but it has a true weight.
And then came the solution to our situation.
A carer, like me, has no status in France. The only person who has a status is the handicapped person. Therefore, a carer has no help. The handicapped person gets help - such help pushing slightly aside the carer. So, in order for the carer to get help, he/she/ I must be declared handicapped. 
As soon as I am declared handicapped, I may receive the help of a cleaning lady, the car can be repaired without protest, the gardener may be operational (in theory), and I may receive a small allowance (less than Anne-Fleur) but an allowance.
But I must be declared handicapped.
As I have no physical problem, the suggestion is a mental handicap. 
I felt ... degraded, treated without respect. But mental handicap it should be. Without having a guardian or losing my civil rights, Dr Quack hastened to say. I may be declared inapt to work because of an acute nervous breakdown verging on melancholia. 
So, if you are in France, be a mentally handicapped carer and you may care about your sister suffering from Down Syndrome, with the "benefit" of a status and an allowance.
I am left to think about this but urged to make steps forward the achievement of the necessary preliminary steps in order for Doctor Quack to process as quickly as possible, for the well-being of the whole Little Family.
Now, do I sound mentally handicapped to you? Am I illogical in my wish for a proper status for carers or is The Red Tape logical?
My mind boggles and loses its marks in this maze of new concepts.


  1. It is a strange world - but I don't think you should feel stigmatised. After all, you have health problems, and are deserving of support. But no, there is nothing illogical in your wish for proper status as a carer.

    1. Consequences on the very short term might be interesting. But when is the short term coming? In a year or so? This is already middle term. We need help before that. ON the long term, consequences might be catastrophic when one thinks like a lawyer. Law is running in my veins thanks to familial environment. I am glad I took time to think of this today. Blog to explain it tomorrow.
      I think more and more that carers need a proper status in France.
      Meanwhile, this situation might have already arisen. I shall call upon our legal advisor and social workers in the Foreign Affairs and the ministry of defence where members of the family have worked for years.
      As in sensation novel, another cliff hanger with a "To Be followed"! :)
      Thank you for caring, Jodie. It seems that the conference to which you participate has been interesting. I hope you met the persons you wanted to meet and that you had a good journey back. And that you were able to sort out most of your carer's issues before you left your parents.

    2. Good idea. Checked "France en Australie" [the Embassy and Consulate in Canberra] just now. And other people in Health and Social Care - Defence and Foreign Affairs is a very good idea, especially if you have those in your family. And they have tenure!

      Project management!

      Yes, I do remember reading your post, Geranium Cat - Jodie.

      "Acute nervous breakdown" - this is serious. Of course this acuteness turns up over the long - perhaps 2 or 3 years [2003-2006 for me. And another two years to recover at least]...

      I was wondering if someone might go the anxiety and depression route.

      And if Dr Quack said anything about executive function...

      Good that 2 hours for the cleaning person.

      "He would ring if she had no news very quickly".

      Very often - in the best case - carers are declared the hands and arms of the handicapped person or the part which is missing/impaired. The handicapped person is the brain and the heart and the centre - yes, being pushed aside.

      Now you will have to be declared "not a group home". It is all right for three handicapped people to live together - but not probably four, five or six.

      LE POINT is really good at putting people together. I was able to read some good articles about Segolene Neuville and what she does and what she wants to do.

      It might be water-tight and iron-clad like Marina said.

      "Little animals may find their ways into the fields".

      I thought lawyers/solicitors/barristers/avocats were supposed to get us out of catastrophes [not consequences] not into them.

      "This situation may have arisen" - that carers for adults/family members have a proper status? Will Defence and Foreign Affairs be able to say this or something like?

    3. I think that the lawyer's advice and the those of the social workers of the MOD and FO will guide me. But I am truly reluctant to be declared mentally handicapped or disabled. I AM NOT. Depression is an illness neither a handicap nor a disability.
      I do not want The Little Family to be broken up to please bureaucracy and I do not want to be humiliated further.

  2. Sounds like quite a reasonable and appropriate solution. I hope it solves the problems, improves the situation, and relieves your anxiety.

    1. Reasonable and appropriate to be declared mentally handicapped or disabled? Where are we going, The Girls and me? To special asylums, each in its specialty? Am I going to a ward for insane people? Am I mentally ill?
      Of course, that would be more simple than to keep a house and garden clean!