So I’m posting this update sooner than I was expecting, and that’s because Tuesday (the day of my supposed Work Capability Assessment) was an utter fiasco…I never even got to the assessment…
I was feeling extremely anxious beforehand, I couldn’t eat lunch (which is when I know it’s bad because I love to eat haha), and when I was sitting waiting to go in I was on the verge of having a panic attack. If my dad hadn’t been there with me, I would have done.
After waiting for about 10 minutes they called my name and my dad wheeled me through door, down a long corridor and into another room, he turned to leave but the nurse asked him to stay. That’s when I knew something wasn’t right. She preceded to tell me that because I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) I had to be seen by a doctor and there were none available that day so I’d have to come back another time….
At this point, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My body was coursing with adrenaline, my heart was pounding, I felt sick, I was dizzy, I had a headache and I was exhausted beyond measure…and all of it was for nothing. I had wasted all that time and energy getting dressed, getting the documents together, making notes of what to say, and getting directions. All that energy…is energy that I don’t have to spare, and I will now have to spend the next two days in bed because of it.
To say I’m angry is an understatement. I sent my form off last December, that’s 10 months it’s taken to get this appointment. POTS has been on my form since the beginning, it’s not like I’ve suddenly sprung it on them, and they didn’t even have the curtesy to call me!!
It highlights how broken the system is, how little understanding they have of my condition(s) and others like it. How the whole thing is tilted so much in favour of those in power that those like me have almost no chance. It reminds of David and Goliath; I’m facing something so much bigger, so much more powerful and with so many more resources that the odds of me winning are infinitesimal.
There were two specific things that happened yesterday that turned my annoyance, into true anger. Firstly as I was waiting an old man walked in, he was obviously very ill and struggled to walk. When he got to the receptionist and handed his appointment letter over she informed him that he’d come on the wrong day, his appointment was yesterday, he’d have to go home and wait for a new appointment letter to come through (much like me). Now why couldn’t he have my appointment? Surely in any logical world that would make sense. Instead he has to wait at least another month and probably have a black mark against his name for missing his appointment.
Secondly, after the nurse had given me the bad news and she was showing me and my dad the way out, she didn’t hold the door open for me. Now this may seem trivial, but to me it’s not. I was in a wheelchair, my dad was pushing me because I cannot push myself, the door was heavy so I couldn’t push it open, surely it’s common curtesy to help me? But no…she just turned around and left, it was up to one of the other people in the waiting room (who are undoubtedly ill themselves, why else would they be there) to help me. Needless to say I thanked them very warmly. This to me highlights the attitude among the staff who work for ATOS, they simply don’t accept/believe how ill I am…I don’t know…maybe I’m reading too much into this, maybe she just wasn’t a helpful person, maybe she wanted to get away from me as quickly as possible because she could feel how angry my dad was, maybe she was stressed and busy and didn’t even notice I needed help…I don’t know.
The only silver lining that I can take from yesterday is that I will be seen by a doctor next time. Usually you have to wait until your appeal for this to happen. I’m hoping a doctor will be more understanding about my condition(s), and so will be more likely to support my claim.
All in all though I’ve been left feeling angry, frustrated, and stressed knowing that I have to go though all that build up again. I know that I shouldn’t think about, but how can I not?
Until next time, Rhosyn.