Man loses benefits because he had heart attack during work capability assessment

Well done JCP+. Mr Duncan-Smith will be proud.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

A man with heart problems who couldn’t complete a work capability assessment because he had a heart attack during the interview had his benefits stopped by the job centre for ‘withdrawing’ from the interview.

I promise you this is not satire. Here’e the story from the Oldham Evening Chronicle:

Heart-attack victim in cash-axe shock

The UK under this government is getting harder and harder to satirise day by day.


Big thanks to Robert Cragg for the heads up on this.

Please feel free to comment.


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My Tonsillectomy Nightmare.

ASD Mummy with issues.

Before I start writing this properly, I want to say that the doctors tell me what happened to me following my tonsillectomy is very rare, and therefore not to be taken as something that might happen to many. Having said that, post-operative bleeding is something that is more common than I think was  made clear to me prior to the op with 5% of cases in the UK being affected, but apparently this rises to 7% in Scotland but they do not know why. I think if this had been told to me before hand, I would have been far less frightened when my problems started!

The week after my op, I felt really unwell.    I could barely eat as just moving my mouth, and especially my tongue, which felt very swollen, was having me in flowing tears.    I tried so hard to eat, as one of the things I…

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In The Clear – But Warning Taken

A few weeks ago I had a bit of excitement by way of a dash to A&E for a heavy nosebleed that just didn’t want to stop. I was told that my blood pressure was quite high, and that a trip to the GP was in order to have that checked out. That was last Friday.

Well, the good news was that for starters my blood pressure was down a bit from the previous week’s reading, so it was heading in the right direction. Even better was that all the blood tests came back negative. Cholesterol reading was a bit above average (6.2 compared to national average of 5.6) but there was no other issues to deal with. The ECG had been a bit of a worry – but it too came back A-Ok. It was all a bit of a relief, but I agreed with the doctor that getting just a little more exercise, losing a little more weight and watching what I eat was very much part of the plan.

I was wary about a lot of physical exertion immediately after the nosebleed, but in the last few days, I’ve gone back to walking from the centre of town after getting off the bus. Its a 2 mile walk to work from there, and taking 30-35 minutes (its uphill!) gives me a decent amount of exercise. Then there’s the 30 minute walk back, so all in all, its 4 hours exercise a week before I even think of any formal exercise. I might just get back to doing zumba on the Wii. I did that before when we were really watching our diet and exercise, and it worked a treat, so back to that this weekend.

Even though all the tests came back negative, and my blood pressure although high isn’t dangerously so, I’ve taken the whole episode as a warning to do the right thing and make sure I’m here for the boys while they grow up. We were so good last summer and I lost 22 pounds at one point. I know I can do it, and I’m keen to get back to it. Not just to look and feel better, but to make sure my blood pressure remains under control. I’ve still to get a 24-hour blood pressure monitor, but the doctor thinks it will only confirm what he said last week.

At least now I can move forward with the worry taken away a bit. I’ve been downloading some relaxation apps this week, and they work a treat (as Jane will tell you when I fall asleep halfway through!) The diet & exercise is one thing, remaining as calm as possible is something else. It all adds up to a hopefully healthier me for 2014.

Our Mixed Up Aspie

Most will know about the last 2 – 3 weeks we’ve had. Its really taking a toll on Daniel it seems. He’s held it together as best he can although he’s worried about him mum. He is used to Jane being constantly on the go, and seeing her in bed each day recovering from her tonsillectomy has been difficult for him. Once he worked out that she was home for good this week, he’s been “challenging” at bedtimes. I admit that I don’t handle that at all. Not even at all well, just not at all. I still react to him, and before you know it, all I’m doing is fuelling his behaviour, and its not fair on him at all. Its something I need to work on without delay for his good, as well as mine.

Last night he brought up Justin Fletcher’s Nursery Rhyme dvd – possibly a sign of his current vulnerability that he went for a pre-school dvd – and asked me if we could watch it. Of course we could. We had snacks and a drink, so settled on Matthew’s bed to watch it while Matthew and Jane watched Madagascar 3 in our room. Matthew eventually came through and climbed up to his bed. They had Daniel’s iPad and were quickly playing Angry Birds Go – something they collaborate on really brilliantly. However, it wasn’t long before they were bickering. I think a lot of that was down to Daniel simply being too tired – beyond tired really. He’s not been settling until 10pm most days, and is only getting 8 – 9 hours sleep a day when it should be closer to 11. All a sign of how much stress he’s been feeling and how troubled he is at the moment.

Well, when it came to getting them to bed, Daniel initially refused to get out of Daniel’s bed, only doing so at Jane’s request. He ran to the bathroom, but wouldn’t clean his teeth. At first opportunity, he headed downstairs. It was hard work getting him back up. I (again) made the mistake of getting into a shouting match, which only helped to get Daniel in deeper. He did go back up, but instead of his own bed, he got into Matthew’s. I asked Matthew if he was happy (he said no) and asked if he wanted into Daniel’s bed. At this point Daniel decided he would, as he wanted cuddles with Daddy. Then I made the massive mistake of saying “Do you think you deserve them” following his behaviour. I think I knew that it was a ridiculous thing to say as I knew his behaviour wasn’t deliberate, but that he was lashing out from a sense of insecurity and vulnerability.

Well, to say it was the wrong thing to say is a an understatement. He was immediately in floods of tears. At his lowest point he then felt he wasn’t loved because he wasn’t getting cuddles. I got into bed with him and tried to reassure him that wasn’t the case, and that we all loved him. But I had upset him, and did I regret it. We’ve all been under stress this last few weeks, and its been difficult to step back and see the bigger picture. Daniel said he needed the toilet, and I decided this was the opportunity to take him through to our room. He came into bed to get cuddles from Mummy and Daddy, and he then calmed down. Upon reflection, I thought it was maybe best he stayed with us for the night. I think that gave him the reassurance he desperately needed.

Sometimes Daniel is so independent and self-reliant that its easy to forget how young he still is, and how vulnerable his Asperger’s makes him. For me, I need to recognise that and be able to step back and understand him more. Jane attended an anger management course through SCILLS (a local special needs charity/support group) as she thought we could both benefit from learning more. It said that when we get angry with them just as the boys are coming down off a meltdown, which only serves to extend the meltdown. That’s what I need to try to do. Make sure I give Daniel the space to work out what’s going on in his head. It was awful to see him so upset last night – something I could easily have avoided. Its time to reassess how I deal with Daniel and make the changes that give him the chance to make sense of his world. Its the least he deserves.

This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 24 January 2014

The dust is finally starting to settle in Ambridge after the week of Jack’s funeral. Emma feels its not a problem to unload her problems on Peggy, who is always full of good advice, and she’s probably wise to mention Ed and Will’s continuing bickering. Not that Peggy hasn’t got anything else on her mind. Peggy is the only one with Jack’s will on her mind. Tony is seeing pound signs floating in front of his eyes. And Matt & Brian aren’t covering themselves in glory with their eyeing up of Peggy’s nick-nacks. Great to hear them both nipping at each other. Matt is such a great character, and an episode is always better off with him in it. But with any death, some of the interplay between Peggy & her family was nice. Her little chat with Tony was short, but quite touching. Peggy has relied on her family so much over the years, and her advice to them all that family should stick together is important. Her love for her family was lovely to hear. Shame it immediately preceded the shock of the news on Hazel getting such a huge wedge of Jack’s estate. But its not Jack’s will that was the surprise. Haven’t Helen and Tom done well? Helen did nicely with the Lodge, but Tom’s long game in being so close to Peggy has really paid off. I do think that some of Tom’s affection is genuine, but her really has played a blinder over the years. Emma though wasn’t keen on Peggy’s advice when it came, but Jennifer’s tuppence worth wasn’t the best thing she’s said, was it? Implication of “Will is good with dogs” was clear – she may well have said, “but Ed shoots dogs”!

Tom continues to work hard though. Its what Peggy admires most in him, although she’s made sure he won’t always have to. Its more than that for Tom though I think. He appreciates that Peggy believes in him that a way Pat and Tony don’t. Pat though needs to learn to accept the good fortune of Tom – and Helen. All Pat’s moaning managed to do was bring back bad childhood memories for Tony, and how Peggy obviously hates him by reminding him. Maybe it is Peggy’s backhanded way to telling Tony he disappoints her, although she did speak to him warmly. Tony does seem to be taking it to heart, and might be reading too much into it? But will it be Helen’s bequest that pushes Pat too far? The promise of the Lodge is a good one for Helen, making sure she and Henry will always have a roof over their heads – when Peggy snuffs it that is. Rob is already smelling blood on that front. He’s already preparing the ground with a proposed visit to Peggy. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. Pat is still on the warpath over Rob, and is kicking up a storm over Peggy’s will. If Helen lets slip that Rob is visiting Peggy with Helen, you can be sure that Pat will be right round to the lodge first to tell Peggy the whole story – although its incredible she’s not heard village gossip. But Rob let slip his controlling nature. Already making decisions for Helen over the lodge?

Normality is resuming at the Dower House. Lillian is coming out of Jack’s death well, and Matt is at full speed. Their reconciliation after Lillian’s affair with Paul seems complete. With both of them only just settled, Pat’s appearance could have been timed better. She’s on the search for allies over Peggy’s will, and it looked like she may have found one in Lillian. Maybe Matt would have been aghast at Lillian turning down the chance to change Peggy’s will in her favour, but she rightly refused, leaving Pat just looking greedy. Trying to paint Peggy as being unstable following Jack’s death was laughable. With her rants over Helen and Rob, and her moaning over the will, she should look closer to home for signs of instability. Talking about stability, it seems Tony is back on form. New Tony really starting to sound like the old one! Despite telling Pat to leave Peggy alone over her will, it would seem that he’s well miffed at being left out. He’s saying the right things though to Tom. I suspect Tony is happy enough, all the more looking like Pat is just grasping. It looks like Tony might be alright after all, although it was exceptionally patronising of Tom.

Brian is back on to Rob though over the dairy. Brian is quite accepting of Rob seeing Helen. I wonder what Jennifer will think of that. And its hardly likely to go down well over at Bridge Farm. Just the timing for Rob leaving as Pat continues on her attempt to gain allies to further her plan to get Peggy to change her will. Not the closest of chums, Pat and Brian are often a recipe for disaster. But that is put aside when like Lillian, Brian sounds like he’s in agreement. But its Jack’s will he has a problem with, not Peggy’s. Brian is right though in that Peggy is being logical, calm and level headed. Its a reasonable thing to do to bypass immediate family and pass it down a generation. But Pat just sounds greedy. Pat of course takes immediate offence and just has to take it out on Brian. Well Pat, you go to Peggy. Its a mistake, but its yours to make.

Things at Ambridge View are up/down depending on whether you look at Neil or Emma. Neil is all action with the promise of a Caribbean holiday on the horizon. But it seems that Emma’s excitement of Susan’s £500 gift has worn off quickly, all thanks to George. He’s taking Will’s line and is running with it. He’s creating division wherever he goes. Buying a dog in an attempt to buy George’s affection – and ease his guilt at shooting Baz – was a huge mistake by Ed. But now he’s wanting to use Emma’s £500 in another attempt to buy off George. It won’t work Ed. But it seems that George is finding out that grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. He’s back with Will and Holly, but it seems that Nic doesn’t have much time for either George or Holly. Nic has shown willing to hit George in the past, and it wasn’t long before she gave him the sharp end of her tongue. George isn’t happy at being separated from Holly, and he knows exactly what to do about it. It might be what Will wants, but I suspect that Nic wouldn’t be keen at having George back full time with Will. It’ll definitely end in tears. Will Nic raise her hand to George again? Ed didn’t take to kindly to that before, but is he too busy moaning about Emma spending £2 for a hat for him. He needs to listen to Emma more. She’s right about telling Ed to keep his mouth shut. Ed’s too much like Will, were he ever to admit it.

That’s all in contrast to Neil and Susan and their holiday preparations. Susan’s been treating herself, and Neil can’t wait to see her in her swimming costume! It certainly gave Jazzer more of an eyeful that he was expecting at Ambridge View. Jazzer is always one to take opportunity, and at least it lands him a lunch out of Susan. Oddly enough, Susan isn’t hungry.

Jill still continues to struggle after the burgulary at Glebe Cottage. Although Kenton and the rest have secured her house, she is still understandably paranoid at every little noise she hears. Elizabeth does her best to get Jill back to Lower Loxley, but her independent streak just won’t let her admit it. Meanwhile, Lynda’s self-imposed exile from contributing to village life is well and truly over. Her return to her Christmas production was cemented by the poor review in the Echo. Now the project commemorating the start of the Great War has fired her imagination. She’s wasted no time in roping in Joe. He’s a wealth of knowledge, and it will complete his recovery from his accident. Lynda is right though about one of Robert’s own projects. Darrell had better take care of his new gaff or maybe he’ll have Lynda to answer to? But its secondary for Lynda right now. She’s back running at full steam again – but bird watching with Robert & Jim? Jim Lloyd is a great character for me – lovely the way he shared the blame for their mistaken bird identity!

Week Ending 17 January
Week Ending 10 January
Week Ending 3 January

Stress Telling

I’ve posted a lot lately about the start of the year we’ve had. Downstairs lights going, washing machine leaking (or pipes as it now seems), Jane going into hospital for her tonsillectomy, my dash to A&E for a heavy nosebleed, then Jane following suit the following weekend with bleeding from her wound that resulted in a litre of blood being lost. Its all been a huge strain on everyone.

The boys have coped fairly well on the surface, but I know how worried they’ve been. They’ve been so controlled, particularly Daniel who is so volatile at home. He’s kept it all in at home as well as at school where his behaviour is excellent. But keeping it all in when he gets home has been difficult, but he’s done it out of concern for Jane. This week the strain finally began to show when Jane got home on Monday. Every night this week at bedtime, he’s been incredibly difficult to handle. Initially I thought he was just playing up for me, but last night it dawned on me that it wasn’t me, but Jane he was getting at. He wasn’t doing it purposefully, but he had his mummy taken away from him for a few days, and it scared him. He didn’t know how to deal with missing her, nor did he know how to vocalise how he was feeling. But now that Mummy is home and safe, the worry over her is gone and he now is able to release the pent up feelings that the stresses of the last two weeks have caused.

Matthew has been feeling it too, and to be fair on him, he has been fantastic. He’s taken it upon himself to make the coffees each day (we’ve got a Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine that only needs pods inserting and a button to be pressed) and has helped me with the washing (at least taking it down to the kitchen.) But as the last two weeks have progressed, he’s been getting increasingly waspish with Daniel. He is stressed, and the only target he has to take it all out on is Daniel. He’s been more and more unpleasant towards Daniel (its not constant I should add) although most of the time they are reasonably happy together. They’ve been collaborating on Angry Birds Go on Daniel’s iPad and that has brought them closer together, and has also helped them through the last two weeks, particularly when Jane was in hospital.

For me, I now see what Jane does at home. Its non-stop. I tend to panic under pressure – even the slightest thing – and stress isn’t good for me. I’m wondering if that’s what my nosebleed was all about. A warning that I was getting too stressed, as my blood pressure was very high when I presented to hospital. Suddenly with Jane away, the easiest things, like preparing the tea, become majorly stressful activities. Then there was the washing to contend with while I was concerned with the leaking washing machine. All while I was to-ing and fro-ing from work. Thankfully I was allowed time off or allowed to work from home which made life easier. But the stress told. I was even more short with the boys which is unfair on them as they were already stressed with Jane being away. Its just that the pressure continued to grow and in the immediate term there seemed no way out for me. I think the shock of high BP has told me its time to find ways to control the stress. We’re already looking at diet, and putting in place strategies for me in dealing with the boys. Getting angry with them only helps fuel any meltdown they descend into, prolonging the stress for all of us.

We’ve all been affected in our own way, and ultimately haven’t dealt with it too well although we’re starting to come out the other side. Its an eye-opener when your own mental health fragility is brought out into the open. Maybe all too often we try to control those feelings and do our best not to let them out for fear of what others might say. Its stupid though really. We are all human, and at least 1 in 4 suffer from mental health issues. Its up to us all to be more understanding of others, but to also recognise when we aren’t coping too well. For us, its been a warning, and its down to us to try and help ourselves. If we aren’t willing to do that, then why should anyone else be willing to?

Springing a Leak

It never rains around here, its just keeps pouring down…so sang Dire Straits many years ago. The last two weeks have been fairly stressful in our house with Jane in hospital with her tonsillectomy and resulting complications. She’s home now and slowly recovering. She’s saying she’s very light-headed and isn’t sure if its not eating enough and/or her medication. She did lose a litre of blood on Sunday, so I suspect it might well be a combination of all of the above.

The start to the year doesn’t end there though. Just before Christmas our washing machine looked like it was leaking from the front. We just put towels down as the leak wasn’t deadly with the intention of ringing around to get it repaired after the holidays. Well, today we had someone come round and they searched for signs of a leak before finding a small tear in the seal round the door. £56 for a new seal – or we could patch the tear using a puncture repair kit we were told. Well, that will do. But, the repair man spotted dripping coming from the pipes round the back of the machine. When Jane’s mum showed me where, it looks like its the waste pipe that there’s a little leak.

Fortunately its all plastic pipes there, so I’m hoping its easily remedied. That’s where British Gas Homecare has been so brilliant for us. £38 a month, but we don’t have to worry about calling out a plumber. They’re coming round on Friday morning, and hopefully we will then be leak free. It will certainly close off a sorry start to the year. Don’t you just love January?