As I am up earlier than everyone else, and it is lovely and peaceful, I thought I would get a bit of blogging done, cos I am quite behind. Things seem to be trotting on a pace at the moment what with one thing and another. I really want to tell you about Steph’s studio recording experience and her CD she made and I want to tell you about Charlotte and her exams and how Ady is doing, but this one will have to be about the benefits *sigh*
So, back in the summer, if you remember, I was called to a ‘Back to Work’ interview at our local job centre plus office. I was a bit miffed at the time cos I do work, looking after two elderly people in the community and lunch time supervising at our local primary school. This fits in very nicely for us as I can change and swap things around at short notice to take Ady where he needs to go. Betty and Brian (my two elderly people) are only too happy to oblige as I have known them for years and they know Ady and the girls and our situation.
So anyway, I went off to see this chappy and he said that he just wanted some information on me as they had none and it was great that I was working. He was quite helpful actually and made sure we had everything we were entitled to. He told me that it said on the computer that we were going to be reviewed in January 2013 for ESA (employment support allowance or the old incapacity benefit) to see if Ady was now fit for work. We could then go on the ‘work related’ benefit or some such thing. It meant that he could work a certain amount of hours and still claim benefit to ease him back into work. If he found it too much then he could go back on ESA...I think...
So having gone to the interview with my hackles slightly raised, I did come away feeling that it was helpful and he gave me his number to contact him at any time.
I told Ady all about it and we agreed that it was a very good idea and it was great that we had a focus for the future and Ady had a goal to reach in January.
Ady said that if he could get back to work earlier, then he wanted to, but I said no, he should wait until all the results are in from his cancers (his last one would be at the beginning of December) and if he was clear from those, then we are rocking, let’s have a nice Christmas and then we can get back to normal and start again in 2013. With the trouble we had had with the benefits system, there was no way, I was cancelling anything!!
Ady reluctantly agreed, although was quite unhappy about claiming benefits if he was going to be feeling well enough to start getting back to work earlier than January, but did agree that it would be a bugger if we had stopped the benefits and the December PSA test said his cancer had come back....Christ, can you imagine it!!
This whole conversation and Ady’s dilemma was back in the summer, May, I think, when he had finished the radiotherapy and was on the hormone therapy, ready to finish that in August, PSA test in September, Bowel test October and results in November, another PSA test in December, then back to work in January. Easy peasy. His GP did explain to him that he has been through quite a bit over the last year or so with his cancers, and he also has his arthritis and other co-morbid conditions to think about..why the rush back to work? But that is Ady for you, he has a very strong work ethic in his blood and will be out gardening and farming in all weathers, never wanting to let anyone down.
Ady was very fatigued and a bit confused during the hormone therapy but actually felt no arthritic pain at all, or was it during the radiotherapy he felt no pain...I can’t remember now, anyway, it’s neither here nor there really, the fact is, that he felt very comfortable in his bones up to the second week of August, two weeks after finishing the hormone therapy. He was looking forward to and planning on getting back to work.
I think I told you all about the bone pain Ady started getting and his morphine and scans and stuff a few blogs ago. The problem is, that I am having to write this blog now because the DWP have sent Ady’s review form early and they want it back by December 11th, all twenty pages filled out. Bloody hell, I feel like I had only filled the last one out a few weeks ago!
The last time I had to fill these poxy things out, I very nearly lost all my hair and the plot. At one point, I will admit, I did seriously consider asking our GP for some tranquilisers or something to help me cope but I dont like eating chemicals and now I am glad I didn’t cos I managed without quite well in the end.
This time, my lovely new bezzie from Perennial has offered to help. When she came to see us over the bathroom saga, she was very surprised that Ady was on the lowest rate DLA and certainly feels he should be on a higher rate. I told her that I had to fight hard to get that as we were turned down in the first place and was going to give up with the whole bloody thing.
She also has offered to help with the review in January and made a date for the 3rd. At the same time, she was going to get a change of circumstances form from the DLA and get a higher rate for him.
I am a funny cow that likes to know exactly what is going on at all times and because I have been doing all this on my own, felt a bit uneasy that someone else was going to take over. Blimey, what if she didn’t know how to fill the forms correctly and what type of wording to use. What if I am wanting her to write one thing and she wants to write something different and hers is wrong.
I rang Sue to tell her that the forms had arrived early and we had a good chat about it all. I was really relieved that she DOES know exactly what she is talking about. She can even fill the DLA forms out with me and Ady and then she is going to take them away and deal with them. Everything is going to go to her and she will do the appeals for us and everything.She is going to take away all that worry.
Christ, what a relief, I can tell you. All I am having to do is collect information like all his hospital visits over the last and the next three months, go through his medication and write down what he takes and when with side effects, I have got a copy of his bone scan and the lovely Drs receptionists have typed out all his Drs visits and blood and nurses visits for me. I have to look up all the telephone appointments we have had, which there have been loads and write a diary of everything I have to do for Ady; thats an eye opener!. Then all I have to do is hoover the house and bake a cake for Sue to come on Thursday.
The forms have arrived in the post and I haven’t even looked at them.
Poor Ady is in a terrible state, thinking that they are going to want to send him off to an ATOS medical and then deem him fit for work. Ady wants nothing more than to be fit for work but he knows that he cant even walk from one end of the house to the other without the most hideous pain in his feet and on most days, cant even stay awake for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time.
I actually feel desperately sorry for him, he is in absolute turmoil and sinking into a depression, desperate to work and provide, worried people think he is being lazy cos he can look quite well sometimes but just simply struggling. His hands were so weak and painful the other day, he couldn’t get the lid off the Lurpak.
I will admit that at the moment, things are quite stressful with the review hanging over our heads, but thank goodness for Sue!