Wow… I still can’t believe I have to survive on less than half of what I used to make when I was working. The term “benefit” is a joke… it doesn’t benefit anyone. Not me, and not the country/government/treasury/whatever. No one. It doesn’t help I don’t get what they say I should… After nearly 14 months I’m still only receiving basic ESA because I haven’t been assessed, and the PIP guys think I shouldn’t have the “mobility” part, despite being wheelchair dependent and housebound from pain. Go figure. It’s being appealed – and you never know, they might actually get to doing my tribunal before I die of old age.
What would benefit everyone would be if I could go back to work. But thanks to cutbacks, I am in no fit state to do any such thing, and I probably won’t be for some time.
It’s a shame they can’t get themselves together here and sort out the NHS and DWP welfare system so it’s fair and works – you should be able to support yourself if you can’t work. Of course, a lot of us would actually be in work if the NHS managers got off their backsides and made it about healthcare instead of bureaucracy and paperwork. I would actually be helped, diagnosed, and if not cured then at least properly supported. I wouldn’t be on 12 months+ long waiting lists for help. I’ve already been ill a year. Now I have to wait another one just to be seen to get some support to try and get a little better.
In that time, I could have been sorted out and able to go back to work, even if just part time. Or working from home. Imagine the wasted money… taxes they have lost, the payouts they have made, loss of council tax being paid… I could have paid my way if the NHS wasn’t so broken it can’t even help me.
Going back to a “normal” life seems like a long way away, still. I had imagined that by now I would have been on the road to recovery. The reality has been rather more sobering.
After a 9 month wait to see the pain clinic consultant to only be told my MRI was clear and he was going with “Fibromyalgia” as a diagnosis, he decided the only course of action was to see the Pain Management clinic. Fine. But when I got my Choose & Book letter and went online to book myself in, the website told me there were no appointments. That the next available appointment was “unknown“. That I would be called “by” 27 April regarding organising an appointment. This was to go along with the 12 month CBT waiting list. So it looks like I’m never going to be seen by anyone. Ever.
My GP has now decided that he’s not entirely confident with the fibro “diagnosis” and wants a neurologist to rule out anything else going on. There probably isn’t, but, in fairness, fibromyalgia is supposed to be a “diagnosis of elimination”, and one single MRI scan isn’t really enough to qualify for that.
It is also based on the fact that I’m not getting better… something I’m not exactly impressed with. I was hoping to be better by now. If anything I’m getting worse, but that has probably more to do with psycho-somatical issues (as in physiological responses to emotionally stressful situations) and muscle weakness from not being able to move much. Then there’s also the cold… that has really put me back – though hopefully, with the nice(ish) springtime weather coming in now, that might not be as much of an issue anymore and may actually even help me a little.
On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to miss an underlying neurological issue if there’s one there. But I’d be absolutely floored if there actually was. But erring on the side of caution is always best – it’s always nice to hear test results are negative, even if it does leave you with more questions than answers.
So that’s one more waiting list to get on. A third. Fourth overall, but I’ve been discharged from the pain clinic now. They decided I have fibro after one scan and threw me out again. Left me to deal with it on my own. It’s like what happened 16 years ago, when I couldn’t walk and the neurologist decided I had “hysterical paralysis” and kicked me out of the hospital. No tests… he just looked at my medical history, which was all about my mental health problems. Several months later, (private) osteopathy successfully treated it because it was a trapped nerve in my spine – lumbar and neck areas. Not Freud’s pet diagnosis. Nice to see that NHS consultants really know what they’re doing…
Thankfully, I have a GP who is at least willing to fight in my corner – as in the corner of successfully treating me. There is no definitive diagnosis and he wants everything eliminated. I can appreciate that, and I am amazed I have found a GP who actually believes in such a thing. Firbo is a fine diagnosis… but this one not yet one of elimination. There is peace of mind to be gained from knowing that’s what it is, because then you also know what it isn’t. Yes, it would always be nice if someone said it’s XYZ and it’s entirely treatable in x amount of time. But as long as it’s the right diagnosis, then fibro is fine. Not really treatable – it’s just about controlling the symptoms – but not life-threatening or dangerous or scary. Which is really fine. I really like that. So fibro is definitely fine.
It looks like it might even be another year until I see anyone, let alone any improvement. I hope this is rock-bottom and that I cannot go any further down or get any worse (touch wood). I can’t live on less than half my usual salary for much longer – it’s bad enough that I’ll have to work hard to get back up to that level and start rebuilding my CV all over again. The more I’m out of the game, the harder it will be.
It is irony that when you have a condition or disability that leaves you unable to work, that you get even less money despite actually requiring more? It’s strange how you don’t think about certain things ever, but then they’re presented to you after you end up being unable to manage things, they seem to be suddenly impossible. You need money to get things – adaptors, special chairs, bath handles or shower chair, a wheelchair, a walking frame or canes, having to go places by cab (especially because the buses are not forced to choose wheelchairs over pushchairs – the absurdity of it! – and so you can’t get on the bus even if you wanted to),
They say you apply and receive PIP to help with all that. Except that’s completely bull. PIP doesn’t go towards such things. It goes towards affording your bills and rent, because your ESA hasn’t been fully-processed and the housing benefit only covers 50% of it – because you live in London and the LHA is completely unreasonable. I got this house because I could afford it (whilst working) – and even then only just about. It’s expensive, but one of the lowest priced places I could get – rental prices in London are insane, even on the fringes. Yet the LHA thinks I should be paying only half of what I am… although still refusing to put a legal cap on private rental sector (which should frankly be legally capped at LHA rates, given you need to be able to pay for your house if you lose your job or become too sick to work).
Trust me, I’d much rather be working. Especially because I love and miss my job. I miss it so much, and so bored of not doing anything that’s like it, I even created a whole detailed analysis and breakdown of utility companies and their offers and prices after being shafted by EDF one last time. I ran as much of a details data collation and analysis on all the companies I could find on Excel, and created a comprehensive spreadsheet breakdown of them all, with the conclusion of the best deal based on all the available information.
After crafting it, I realised I really was being shafted good and proper by EDF, so I switched us over to someone else. Who needs meerkats when you’re bored and have a spreadsheet, eh?