I thought it was time to update everyone on things. The 'Final Post' blog I wrote way back in February is still getting an average of 100 views a week on its own, even after all this time, which is wonderful. I'm still in awe of the support and messages received at the time, and I read them now and again to keep my spirits up. It's been a long few months, with various up and downs, that have kept me extremely busy in one way or another.
So, an update:
I am still unemployed, and am now on the work programme. After a few little disagreements between myself and the work programme people, ie, me refusing to sign anything, them threatening me with sanctions if I didn't, things like that, things settled down there and I now have a permanent advisor for the next two years. I'm hoping that I won't need a work advisor for the next two years, but we'll see how things go.
My advisor is actually quite nice, and is extremely confident that I will be able to find permanent, paid work in the very near future, and he has me applying for some pretty nifty jobs. I'm waiting to hear from said jobs, and I hope they can see, from my CV, that they will gain an employee who will be hard working, eager, professional and loyal.
Anyway, that's mostly the good news. The bad news is that I walked the hour to the job centre to sign on, on the 16th of July. I was feeling quite poorly that morning. I had been feeling my lungs sticking to my back in the few days prior, and it was a struggle to breathe. I'm supposed to sign on at 11.40 am, but at 9am I had a funny turn, where I was dizzy, and my temperature shot up so quickly I almost passed out. Breathing was strange, as I knew I was getting a small breathe, but it felt like I wasn't getting any air at all. I don't have asthma, as the doctors ruled that out. So I sort of panicked there for a minute and sat down until the sensations passed. It felt like my upper chest cavity had filled with air, and it was very painful.
I really wasn't feeling well enough to walk all that way to sign on, but knew that I had already been ill twice in the last 12 months, and would not be allowed to be ill again. The rules state that you can only be sick twice in any 12 month period or your benefits stop and you have to apply for other benefits, which delay your payments, which I couldn't afford to happen. So I had to set out and do the walk. It was an extremely hot day as well, one of the hottest of the year.
So, there I was, a lung infection blossoming, a very hot day, difficulty breathing, and an hour long walk. Is that not a disaster waiting to happen or what?
I got to the job centre early (I had set off extremely early as I knew it would be slow going). Because I was early, I had to wait. They made me stand there for 20 minutes. Not so unusual, of course, but I was obviously unwell. I had a massive sweat going on as my temperature had risen again, and I was swaying where I stood. I told the 'guards' that I needed to sit down before I fell down, but was told I wasn't allowed into the centre proper (where the chairs are) until 5 minutes before my signing on time. So I stood there, sweat dripping everywhere and my body sagging with fatigue.
I managed to hold it together long enough to sign on and get out of the place. Fifty yards up the road, I had to sit down on the floor, and found I couldn't get back up again. My upper chest cavity felt like it had filled with air again, and it was very, very painful. I knew it wasn't a heart attack or anything, and that I just needed to sit down for a while. Then I could walk home.
I had managed to sit near a car, and its owner saw me in distress. She spoke to me and she called an ambulance. The first responder came within 2 minutes (is that wonderful service or what?) and set about helping me. I told him my symptoms and he began treating me for a suspect heart attack. I kept telling him it wasn't my heart, but my lungs that were the problem, but he stuck to protocol. An ambulance arrived and they helped me inside and began treating me, again for a suspect heart attack. I again said it was my lungs and the hot day. They stuck to their training though, so I shut up at that point and let them get on with it. They would find out soon enough that my heart is healthy.
At the hospital I was seen and they ordered me a bed in the observation ward. I had to have blood tests 6 hours apart, so needed to stay. At 3am I was finally told what I already knew. My heart was healthy and I was in no danger of having a heart attack. They said I could go home. I stood there, looking at the doctor, and had to rein in my temper before I spoke. I told the doctor that I knew all along that my lungs were the problem and could they now treat that? No, my heart is fine they said, and sent me home. Haha. The taxi at 3am cost over ten pounds, so have been struggling a bit this last fortnight. Luckily, I'm well again now, and will be paid on Friday, so can do some shopping.
That long story you just read condenses down into this:
I still can't get a diagnosis!! Grrrr!
All I want is to get a diagnosis and be given the right treatment so I can be well when I get a job. I have to see the nurse tomorrow for blood tests, but they will come back normal, as every other test has up to now. Apparently I'm perfectly healthy, even though I collapsed in the street and can't take a deep breath.
Well, I've waffled on for ages, and have loads more to say, but will keep the rest for another blog on another day.
Despite my problems getting a diagnosis, I want to make it clear to any government officials that might be reading this, that my treatment at the local NHS hospital was superb. It's disgraceful that you are selling off our national treasures to line your own pockets. How dare you! I will make a blog post about the government and their disdain for the ordinary person soon.
Stay tuned, and please feed the fish before you leave.