Taking Steps – I Will Draw A Thing!

Did you ever see the thing I drew for Marital Unit? Toothless and Baymax and whatnot? Here’s a pic…


I’m quite proud of that, plus it got me thinking.
If you’ve read 12 Days Of Nonsense and Taking Steps (and if you haven’t, shame on you) then you’ll know that i’m raising money for Steps, a very fine charity.

So, here’s the deal. If you donate to my JustGiving page for Steps, you can pick any cartoon or comic type character (because I can’t draw anything else) and i’ll add it to a big mish-mash-mural type image.

Then, when we hit…I don’t know…£500? Yeah. When we hit the first £500, i’ll pick a random sponsor from a hat and they’ll win the picture.

It’s easy. Drop me a quid or two and then hit me up on Twitter, by email, on Facebook, by phone or whatever other method works.  Pick your character and bob’s your mother’s brother!

Taking Steps

I think about my feet a lot.

Hello, Host Body here. Al’s kindly taking a back seat and letting me type for a bit. Most of you probably know that I have a condition called talipes, better known as club foot. When I was but a mere sapling, my feet were turned inward and upward. A whole bunch of operations and a lifetime of self abuse later bring me to the ever moving now, in which I live  with a lot of pain and a foot that looks like a Nik Nak.

Ho hum, it could be worse, yadda yadda. I’m not going to complain, i’ve done that enough over the years. (Here, for example. Also, here.) Time to get pro-active.

I recently discovered a marvellous charity called Steps, which works with people like me, along with those who suffer from other lower limb deficiencies. I was thrilled to discover that there was an organisation to which I could offer my support and I have been determined to think of some way to raise funds for them.

Then, the other night, it hit me. I…I mean, Al had been planning a blog post for the run up to Christmas, in which I…HE waffled on about the cost of the gifts from The Twelve Days Of Christmas.


Good, wasn’t it?
Anyhoo, that’s a hell of a total, don’t you think? Nearly £50,000 pounds. That’s an amount of money that could do some real good, huh? You know where this is going…

I decided to set that possibly ludicrous target for my Steps fundraising and if you’d like to help out, you can hit my JustGiving page. Click it. Give freely of yourself and the contents of your shovel purse.

If you can’t afford to throw a few quid my way, I understand. Times are tough all round. A share costs nothing though. A retweet. A quick post on Facebook along the lines of “This guy is a bloody marvel, give him money”. It would mean the world to me, to say nothing of the good it could do for others.

You can check out Steps here and I urge you to do so, they do great work.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the answer is no. No, I won’t just be posting this blog (and that other, funnier one) and popping up the odd tweet. I plan to do all sorts of fundraising tomfoolery on behalf of this fine cause, so watch this space. First on my list is a 24 hour tweet-a-thon, dates to follow.

So, help me out? Enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from giving a couple of quid to a chubby guy with buggered feet? Or the equally pleasant glow that comes from telling other people to give me their money. Your choice, i’m good either way. Ta.

There’s nothing wrong with him.

Let me tell you all a story.

In 1984, the Host Body came into this world but, in keeping with his inability to do anything right, he arrived with his feet pointing in quite the wrong direction.

He was diagnosed with Talipes Equinovarus, “Clubfoot” in laymans terms.

(You know, i’m not sure who this Layman chap is, but he came up with some nifty terminology to make all this medical nonsense much easier to spell)

Anyhoo, his feet were turned inward and upward and a series of surgeries were undertaken to correct this.

The last of these surgeries took place when he was 10 years old.

They very kindly performed the surgery at the start of a school summer holiday so he would be healed up in time for the new school year.

The left foot was pretty good, the right, not so much.

For years he suffered day to day aches and pains but so what?

He was alive, reasonably healthy and tried not to let it affect him.

Up until the age of 17 he attended regular check ups to see how the foot was getting on.
Mention was made of possible further surgery but the choice was left to him.

He decided, as he was getting along OK, to forgo the operation.

And then, “The Incident”

One night, as the Host Body was arseing about doing something tedious, he noticed his left foot was a little swollen.

This was nothing new, his feet had a tendecy to ache and swell when he had been on them for a bit and he’d been doing some decorating that week.

The next day he arose from his slumber, partook of his regular caffeine boost and set about his business for the day.

He tidied, he painted, he broke various household objects.

Come the evening, the foot was very swollen and becoming increasingly painful.

By late evening, the wretched man was writhing in agony on the couch, whimpering like a puppy with a thorn in it’s paw.

Sickened, though I was, by this display of weakness, I had to agree that the man needed medical attention and so I aided the Marital Unit in dragging his carcass to the nearest Accident & Emergency department.

This was the beginning of several weeks of doctors appointments, consultants appointments, clinic appointments and much bitching from the Host Body, culminating in a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in both ankles.

The arthritis was caused/exacerbated by the fact that Host Body had been walking on a broken bone in the right foot for 10 years or so, after the staples from the last operation had sheered off and the bone failed to heal.

The solution? Major surgery to the right ankle, to fix the broken bone, hopefully make it stronger and take some of the weight off the left ankle.

In August 2010, the Host Body underwent a fusion operation, leaving him with naught but slight up and down movement in the ankle and a foot which looks like a partially digested pork scratching.

Throughout all of this, I would like to say that the DWP were incredibly helpful and understanding.

I would LIKE to say that, but the truth is they have been about as much help as a large pile of excrement.

According to the DWP health professional* who examined the Host Body for his ESA claim, there’s nothing wrong with him and he should pick his lazy arse up and get back to work.

DLA? Pfft. Get knotted, good sir.

After a long fought battle, Host Body WAS finally awarded DLA, ESA is still under appeal.

I would like to point out, right now, that neither the Host Body nor myself are complaining, at this point.

No we’re not, really.

Yes, there’s a lot worse we could be going through.

My point is, he’s not a picture of health but the DWP have been less than useless, at least useless would have some use in there somewhere.
Hmm, clever that…

Anyways, he is obviously appealing the ESA decision but in the meantime, I thought I should write up a “Gizajob” letter, just in case:

Dear Sir/Madam

I write to you on behalf of my Host Body, to enquire as to any positions which may be currently available within your organisation.

Host Body is reliable, to a given value of reliable.

I mean, he can’t actually walk most days and only gets around on his hands and knees so you’d have to either allow him to work from home a lot of the time or make sure you’ve got well padded carpets.

Oh, he’s not good with stairs either.

No, REALLY not good with stairs, he sleeps on the couch and pisses in a bottle, what with the lack of downstairs toilets in the house, so best he only ever has to work on the ground floor.

Also, is there a bus route which let’s off right outside your door? If not, don’t even bother replying, it’s a no-go.

Of course, even with all of the above, he’d only make it into work when dosed to the gills on painkillers but not to worry, it’s not hugely likely that he would be so drugged as to feed himself into any machinery or anything.
Probably not.

Possibly not.

No, i’m sure he’d be fine.

But other than that, he’s an intelligent, hard working individual who would be an asset to any organisation.

Yours sincerely,
Al Vimh

Wow, DWP are right, this guy should get his ass back to work, zippylike.


*For “Health Professional” read “Glassy eyed, slack jawed moron who couldn’t be trusted to put a plaster on a boo-boo”