Employment Support Allowance

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Hi all, following my 'ATOS' medical last week, I have just heard that I have 'passed' and will indeed be awarded ESA. The news comes as such a relief as it means I will never have to traipse back and forth to 'sign on' or be treated as a malingerer again. It does not mean I never have to work again, but that it's fine to do part time work, or to be out of work if there is nothing suitable close to home. Oh, I am so relieved!

Tomorrow I have to go for my first 'work focused interview' and guess what - as I live so far away and don't have transport they're sending a car to pick me up! What a difference to doing that awful exhausting journey to the job centre! I feel like a kiddie at xmas . Funny thing is, now that i'm being heard and treated kindly, I feel far more optimistic about finding something suitable.

Just to complete my happiness I also learned today that I will be tested for oxygen on the 19th . If I have that too there will be no stopping me - I will be climbing Everest -- well, perhaps walking to the top of the cliff that my house sits on, something I haven't done for years. Gosh I can barely contain myself today! love to all Vanessa :angel: I'm flying xx

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  • Posted

    Oooh Vanessa, well done, what a relief.

    Hey, that's not too long to wait for your oxygen testing. I would think you will get it easily.

    I'm still trying to find out if you can wear moisturiser, foundation and hand cream when you are on oxygen and keep getting conflicting answers.

    I can feel you happiness........enjoy it girl.

    Tessa

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  • Posted

    WHOA! HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! I just re read my award letter and then 'phoned the Job centre to check and apparently I've been put in what's called the 'Support Group' which means that as of now I am 'retired' (and me just a 55 year old babe!) and I don't even have to attend the previously arranged ' work focused interview '. I can work or do voluntary work if I like, but it's entirely up to me.

    I can't believe it! I think I will be a lady of leisure for now then and concentrate on sorting the other stuff out ; 02, house move etc. Then once I'm settled in a small town I will go to the gym once a week, swim once a week, easy breathers club once a week and then volunteer a couple of days a week to a charity to both keep the old grey matter going and give something back to this society of ours that is kind enough to look after me.

    Thank God I was born in the UK and not a third world country or even the USA for that matter. I am so very, very lucky. Vanessa

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  • Posted

    That is good news Vanessa.

    Sounds like you have worked out a good plan.

    Tessa

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  • Posted

    Vanessa, this is all good news. I am so pleased they saw sense at your medical exam thing - they can be sooooooooo officious that I was ready to come and bop them on the nose if they got it wrong! Your plans sound very exciting. One word of caution though, O2 use does not mean you will not be short of breath - silly but true. The oxygen is going into very damaged lungs and cannot make them work more efficiently. What it does do is feed your body the O2 it is short of because of the breathing problems. The pluses here are that it will ensure your internal organs are fully oxygenated and that your blood does not shoot off and produce too many cells (forget if they are red or white - the ones which carry O2 around the bloodstream) to compensate for a shortage of available oxygen. So while it does do you a tremendous amount of good, it does not reduce breathlessness at all.

    As regards oxygen use and creams - Tessa you can use anything on your face that is water based and nothing which is oil based because this can somehow have a detrimental effect on the tubing and can be dangerous. That means most make-up, moisturisers, etc are okay but not things like Vaseline. If you need to use an oil based cream, use it when you are taking a break from the oxygen and ensure it is wiped and washed away before you resume use.

    Jacee

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  • Posted

    Thanks girls for your congrats re the ESA thing.

    Jacee, I had read that 02 doesn't end breathlessness -- but you're right, I have been forgetting that and imagining myself skipping along like a ten year old with not the least sign of a huff or a puff. Oh how we delude ourselves!

    Still, I am not totally devastated by the news. My main reason for wanting it for so long was because my oxymeter has been showing that my sats drop just putting the kettle on, let alone walking home from the paper shop - which has me really gasping with 02 of 74 and pulse 135. It got so bad once that I ended up on my knees gasping in the middle of the lane , feeling that I was about to die and losing any vestige of bladder control. I hasten to add that my bladder is normally fine -I mention the incident as it can be very upsetting (especially in a public place) and anyone else who may have experienced similar should know the reason for it. If your 02 drops to a serious low your body knows it must use it wisely and feeds it to your brain, heart, and major organs at the expense of lesser organs such as the bladder. Embarrassing it may be, but far better than having a heart attack. Anyway it was that incident that prompted me to buy the oxymeter.

    Around the same time my feet started to swell pretty badly and a huge pair of mens flip flops became 'de rigeur' as nothing else would fit. I knew this could be due to the heart struggling to keep the body oxygenated and asked the Doc for a blood test to check my hematocrit (present in the red blood cells) levels. For anyone wondering about this the following is a guide;

    WOMEN ; 36 TO 45% hematocrit

    MEN ; 42 TO 50% hematocrit

    This can be checked for as part of a complete blood count . My level was 50% which you will see is top end of the scale for a man. This showed I was at risk of developing Cor Pulmonale if it went higher, say to between 51 and 55%.

    As I was struggling, this is the time when I gave up work and the swelling in my feet gradually went down. I now knew that in order to \"keep safe\" I needed to slow down and take things easy until such time as I am put on 02. If I hadn't gone to pulmonary rehab I don't know what I would have done, because my Doc, lovely as she is , seemed vague at best about sorting out some 02, saying it wasn't up to Doc's anymore.

    In contrast as soon as I mentioned my 02 levels to the nurse at 'rehab', common sense and efficiency took hold at last and she put me on an oxymetre while doing gentle exercise, slow walking etc. She immediately made the appointment to be assessed.

    The problem with low 02 is that it becomes a viscous circle. You do less, become weaker, your heart struggles more, you put on weight which means you need even more 02, you want to exercise but can only do it gently, so the weight just sits there . And all the time your muscles get weaker and use even more of your 02 and the capillaries surrounding your muscles and lungs get fewer and fewer.

    What I'm really looking forward to is being able to exercise without fear. Breathlessness maybe, but even that should become less over time with regular and increasing levels of intensity and duration. I know it will be a huge struggle to start with, but I've been practically salivating looking at my beautiful treadmill and wishing I could use it. Even the lowest level for 20 seconds has my sats way too low at the moment.

    I did find at rehab that the exercise bike was really easy compared to a treadmill! I was surprised, but it was explained to me that it was often the best place to start. I was still only allowed to use it for one minute, but was told that if I had one at home I could do one minute on and two or three minutes off and repeat - even while waiting for my 02. Sod's law of course I don't have one but am looking out for a second hand one.

    Ladies hand weights too! Then I will do a few minutes treadmill, a few bike, and then an upper body workou

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  • Posted

    OOPS! So sorry, didn't realise I'd done such a long one! :angel:
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  • Posted

    Vanessa, you make me feel ashamed! Rather than apologising for \"a long one\" please accept grateful thanks for all the info. I usually have had it explained to me but either don't remember it all or don't remember it accurately - I'm impressed.

    Jacee

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  • Posted

    I agree Vanessa, please do not apologise, we need all the information we can get hold of and that was very interesting.

    When you get your oxygen, it is a really good idea to keep a journal noting down any benefits that you get. I am looking forward to that.

    Tessa

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