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» Keep a Word - Delete a Word
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» The cat killer stalking suburbia
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» Poetry from the heart.
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» Need help with homework (Hall Effect)
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» Well hello there!
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» Madeleine McCann investigation continues ...
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» The cartoon thread.
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» A walk through Dominica, hours after Hurricane Maria
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» MPs call for ESA death statistics to be published (Calum's List)
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» Songs from the heart
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» Bodies of 'hundreds' of children buried in mass grave
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» Psychics didn't foresee THAT coming!
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» Number 7777
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» [solved] Multiquote ?
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» Why men are happier people???
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» Silly Endings.
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» 10 things we didn't know last week ...
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» End of Summer Drinks
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» BABY PLEASE DON'T GO ...
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» Wonderful images - fabulous music.
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» Photobucket no longer free ...
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» Protest March through London
by Kitkat Sat 01 Jul 2017, 17:41

» Our NHS
by Whiskers Thu 29 Jun 2017, 16:49

» [solved] Forum showing me as online -- but I am not!
by Kitkat Sun 25 Jun 2017, 10:41

» Day of Rage in London
by Kitkat Wed 21 Jun 2017, 16:56

» NHS European Health Insurance Card
by Kitkat Tue 20 Jun 2017, 21:26

» Postcards from the Shoutbox
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» Shout Box (SL and LAL)
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» A day out at the polling station
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» Functions of the Blue Toolbar at top of the Forum
by Kitkat Mon 05 Jun 2017, 10:47

» Light After Life forum's new address
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» Tick tock: The importance of knowing the right time
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by Kitkat Wed 24 May 2017, 22:38

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» The world's longest cat?
by Whiskers Fri 19 May 2017, 09:22

» Nigeria
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» Redwater
by Kitkat Thu 18 May 2017, 17:28

» Maggie's Cancer Care Centres
by Kitkat Wed 17 May 2017, 18:07

» I'm being chased by an otter!
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» Eurovision Song Contest 2017
by Kitkat Tue 16 May 2017, 11:49

» This day in history
by Whiskers Fri 05 May 2017, 16:35

» Man rescues cat from London Docks
by Whiskers Tue 02 May 2017, 11:29

» For all you Elvis lovers
by Whiskers Tue 02 May 2017, 11:23

» The Cat's Pyjamas
by Kitkat Sun 30 Apr 2017, 10:08

» [solved] Problems with FreeForums - AGAIN!
by Kitkat Fri 21 Apr 2017, 23:49

» Nature's Weirdest Events (QUIZ)
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» All That We Share
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» Strange and amazing places
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» Lucky Joe!
by Kitkat Fri 07 Apr 2017, 16:43

» Rules of memory 'beautifully' rewritten
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» What one word describes you? (Quiz)
by Whiskers Tue 04 Apr 2017, 22:40

» April Fools
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» Terror Attack in London, UK
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Kitkat's KK Blog

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Aussiepom
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Aussiepom on Sun 28 Apr 2013, 18:57

Watch out for him,KK......Watch for the tail and maybe a little purrrrr.

Sorry to hear that,KK.

My thoughts are with you.... Crying or Very sad

AP
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Whiskers on Sun 28 Apr 2013, 20:33

Sorry about Pepsi, KitKat. Can't of been an easy thing to do, but it was the right decision hun. And good to know he was happy and feeling good in his last days, and sleeping peacefully now. HUGS to you KitKat. xx

Karma given. You deserve it.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Tue 30 Apr 2013, 07:49

Yay! Great news (for a change)! My brother's just landed at Heathrow Airport ................ Very Happy
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 02 May 2013, 13:33

Bruv's gone over to Holland for a couple of days to visit my niece .. and my friend Viv's gone with him.
The pair of them went off on the Eurostar this morning. I'm so envious. crybaby
Oh, how I miss the days when I could just hop on a plane, train or boat and take off somewhere.
Back here on Saturday, for a couple of days, and then Jimmy's off over to Ireland to do the rounds of the rest of the family.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Sat 18 May 2013, 00:59

Started the first of 4 sessions of acupuncture on my back this week. This is not the long-awaited promised 8 sessions with the Pain Clinic where they have to apply for funding (which was not approved first time round and they are supposedly re-applying - February I think that was ). No, this time it is through the Physiotherapy department that I have been referred to by my GP. (First time round I couldn't do the recommended exercises because the pain got in the way, and it was recommended I return there after treatment at the Pain Clinic). Well, all I've got from the Pain Clinic is to prescribe even stronger pain-killers (slow release) and a personal TENS machine to use when needed. I have found that the TENS does help to ease the pain somewhat when it gets really bad and it has an immediate effect.

Different physiotherapist this time. I am to have 4 sessions (which is apparently the limit that they are allowed to administer at a time). Seems if someone is in need of more they need to be referred again by GP. Crazy, yes ... even the professionals are frustrated by the extremely "complicated administration system".
I did ask yer man why it is that the Pain Clinic department of another hospital is obliged to apply for funding - (which is invariably refused) and yet this much smaller local hospital can do so at will, albeit restricted to 4 sessions at a time. He started into an answer but with limited time at hand - and his next patient waiting patiently - he just explained that it's an "extremely complicated system".

Anyway, these sessions are meant to focus on strengthening my core muscle strength. He has also referred me for hydrotherapy treatment - at yet another hospital - BUT I am warned there is a very long waiting list for this, so ...... not holding my breath there for too long anyhow. This apparently is due to the recent administration changes also. I am told that ordinarily, once your physio sessions finish you would normally go straight into the hydrotherapy, but that does not seem to be the expected option at this point in time.

After the first session, so far, I don't feel any different whatsoever - well, apart from being tired, ever so tired - but there's nothing to associate that with the acupuncture. I did have a nose-bleed yesterday - which is something I've never had in my life before, and a headache all day. Again, might be associated, might not. If I get the same following the next treatment, then I guess that would confirm some kind of association. We shall see. Apart from that - absolutely NO difference in the level of pain I've been experiencing. None at all, so far. Then again, I suppose it's not the actual pain that this is meant to be concentrating on, but rather strengthening the core muscle; in other words a preparation, a build-up, working towards being able to do the recommended exercises necessary to help towards easement of the pain.

Incidentally, I did read with interest a recent link found on the Skeps forum:

Antibiotics for back pain: hope or hype?

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3122.full?ijkey=FG4RdWnsc8KT6BA&keytype=ref

in relation to a recent research paper that showed "some benefit in long term antibiotic use for some patients with back pain."

“Up to 40% of patients with chronic back pain could be cured with a
course of antibiotics rather than surgery, in a medical breakthrough,”
began a story in the Guardian on 7 May. It continued, “One of the UK’s
most eminent spinal surgeons said the discovery was the greatest he had
witnessed in his professional life, and that its impact on medicine was
worthy of a Nobel prize.”1

Interesting (and worth looking into) - because the reason I had to have a second MRI straight after the first one was - because the first one appeared to show some kind of "infection". The results then eventually showed that it was not an infection as such, but the diagnosis of chronic degenerative disc disease (which incidentally is not a disease, but that is the technical term given for this condition, the condition being a propelled onset of degeneration of the discs - a condition more usually found in older people, though in some cases can happen in teenage years. It hasn't actually been confirmed, but in my case I think perhaps the two lots of cancer treatment, all the scans, ultrasounds, radiotherapy, nuclear medicine bone scans and x-rays etc that I've undergone since 2009 must surely have some sort of contributory factor.


Brother went back to Saudi Arabia early hours of this morning. All distractions out of the way now, I've got all the time in the world now to mope and mourn for my dear little Pepsi cat. I do miss him so very much.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 23 May 2013, 12:30

About to head off now for my second acupuncture session. (There was a beneficial difference during the week (on 3rd day after treatment) - which may or not be associated. Will detail it here later - and I am looking to see if this will be repeated after second session .................

I'm hopeful, if nothing else ........ cat
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 01:06

More shockers from the Benefits and Work latest newsletter:



More than half a million people are now dependent on food banks because of changes to the benefits system and delays and errors by Jobcentre Plus staff according to a report by Oxfam

Government minister Ed Davy has denied that there is a link, however, claiming that is “completely wrong to suggest that there is some sort of statistical link between the benefit reforms we're making and the provision of food banks”.

Meanwhile disabled people who don’t want to be reliant on food banks are being taught how to scavenge for free food in supermarket skips and dustbins (members only). The workshops are being run in south Wales by members of the Disabled Activists Network Wales (DAN Cymru).

Finally, those awful decisions.

Last week’s Mirror carried the tragic story of Linda Wooton, who had a double heart and lung transplant but was found fit for work just nine days before she died. Linda was on 10 prescription drugs a day, suffering high blood pressure, renal failure and regular blackouts. Nevertheless, after a 20 minute Atos medical, a decision maker found Linda capable of work and stopped her ESA.

Linda, ‘crying her eyes out’ wrote her letter of appeal from her hospital bed, but the DWP upheld their decision. Her husband remains angry that Linda spent her last months in misery and feeling useless because of the ESA assessment system.

And, following the abolition of the discretionary social fund, councils have begun giving vouchers to people who find themselves in desperate need. Which is how a 62 year old woman from the Isle of Wight came to be offered vouchers to buy a tent when she became homeless. Dawn Martin was not considered vulnerable enough to qualify for emergency housing of any kind and so was offered the opportunity to camp instead.

Living in tents, raiding supermarket skips for food and being found fit for work as you lie dying in a hospital bed. It would obviously be “completely wrong to suggest that there is some sort of statistical link between the benefit reforms” imposed by the coalition and stories like these. It’s clearly just coincidence.

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IT WAS MEANT!

Post by Kitkat on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 19:12



Yes, another 'synchronicity' situation ....

and there's no two ways about it .... IT WAS MEANT! ..........

(Long story, of course - as they always are)  Laughing Sleep

_____________________________________________


Concerning a long-standing consumer dispute with my electricity and gas supplier, and no satisfactory conclusion foreseen with this matter in the near future, it has now become necessary that I enlist the services of Citizens Advice Bureau to advise and hopefully take over this matter for me.  The matter has been going on now for a year and a half.  I initially thought I would be able to sort it out myself but find myself coming up more and more against an ever-growing brick wall.  My file on this issue is 4 inches thick, and details every long frustrating phone-call, letter and piece of documentation connected with this problem.  Since this issue started - about a year and a half ago, there have been numerous other problems which have taken priority in my life, not least the chronic physical disabilities that have befallen me and having to give up working because of this. Appeals, numerous hospital visits, operations, scans, tests, two recent bereavements (one of my oldest, bestest friends and my cat) and a whole heap of other things, I really can no longer cope with the frustration and stress of trying to deal with these people and getting absolutely nowhere, really just banging my head against this brick wall, so I succumbed to the pressure and the suggestions and recommendations all round to hand over the doings to the CAB and see if they can assist in bringing this matter to a conclusion.


Never been to one of these places before, but I already knew from experience working for solicitors with many of the clients having had dealings with our local CAB, bad reports from every single person who had involvement with them.  Anyway, no choice in the matter now, I set about making an appointment.  No... drop-in service only - given a raffle ticket number when you get there and it's a case of first-come-first-served, so although they opened their doors at 9:30, you were advised to come earlier than that and join the long queue waiting outside on the street.  I went last Wednesday at 10.30 - expecting a long wait, equipped with Kobo and wheelie trolley containing the gigantic file surrounding this matter.  Told straight away there were no numbered tickets left - told to come back Friday morning.  Got there dead on 9.30 on Friday - only to be told same thing, all numbers gone.   Come back Monday - and advised to arrive about 8.30 and join the queue of door-opening-ticket-handing-first-come-first-served waiters outside on the street.  Got there at 8.30, to find a queue of about 30 people had already formed, snaking its way down the street.


Got talking to the girl in the queue behind me (Palestinian, born in Israel but - as with many others, family chucked out of their home by Israeli "settlers" and so lived in Lebanon for a while but when the war worsened in Lebanon their family hotel business was taken over by "the powers that be" as the strategic mountainous position of their home and business was considered a useful base for politically minded purposes. She has not been able to see her family back in Israel for 17 years, a similar story to that of a Palestinian girl I worked with in Libya.)  Anyway, I kind of digress ....  the introduction to our conversation began with this lady telling me the reason why she was standing in this queue, propped up uncomfortably with walking stick in one hand.  Same as me, it was her first time - and same as me (though not the reason why I was there), she was appealing against a refusal for ESA based on an Atos medical report (same as me) where (same as me) she had been given only 6 points, when the minimum for acceptance is 15 points.  The ESA people had suggested she appeal (same as me) that she get medical evidence from her GP and other specialists - which she had done (same as me) and the ESA people had actually suggested to her that she go to the CAB for advice and help on the legalities etc of dealing with her Appeal.

Turns out that she was absolutely fine (pain-wise) before undergoing an exploratory hysteroscopy operation (same as me) at Central Middx Hospital (same as me) performed by Dr Manning (same as me!) and when she came out of that op she had these horrendous pains and has had them ever since and getting worse as time goes on (SAME AS ME!).  That was 3 years ago.  She has now been diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia (not quite same as me, at least I don't think so ...) , and was recently prescribed strong painkillers Tramadol (same as me, initially but mine were recently upped by the Pain Clinic to even stronger slow-release ones, the effect of which lasts for 12 hours, whereas the other ones had to be taken at periods of about 4 hours or so (through the night also).   Talking to her, it seems that as well as the chronic pain that she is now suffering from, it is something that affects her nervous system also, having an adverse affect on her short-term memory and other cognitive features.  Getting worse all the time, and told there is no cure, she unable to hold down a job anymore.  Her children she said are both students but they also work to try and help out in any way they can.  There was no mention of their dad being around, and I didn't ask.  Her daughter had been on at her to apply for ESA (Employment Support Allowance) to see what ways if any she can be helped.

Anyway, we had a great conversation which helped to while away the time standing in this queue (in between dealing with potential queue jumpers - you get these chancers everywhere) and swapped telephone numbers (her phone exactly the same as mine!) as we definitely intend to keep in touch.  I told her about the advisory group for disabled people that I had discovered just recently, in the building where I go for my physiotherapy, run by volunteers who themselves are disabled, and who themselves have come up against all the various problems encountered concerning ESA, DLA etc ...  and are well placed to advise and assist with all the complicated bureaucracy and legalities involved.  We agreed that when we were finished with our respective visits, we would phone and (depending on pain-wise situation) I might take her up there - just 5 minutes drive away to this drop-in advisory place, but we would certainly keep in touch anyway.  

Dead on 9.30 the doors opened and we eventually shuffled through and were given raffle tickets.  My number was 248 and E (my new friend) had number 249.  The receptionist told us that as it was our first time there, we would simply be seen for an assessment, to see first of all if our problem is something that can be dealt with there and if so, to allocate an advisor and make an appointment for another day to speak with that advisor!  I was told that the estimated time for my number to be called would be 11:10 - and E's estimated time was 11:30.

We were then handed forms to fill in and join in the mad scuffle for an empty seat somewhere.  I found 2 chairs, mercifully unoccupied in a hidden-from-view alcove, which obviously at one time used to be a cupboard.  There was a little shelf to one side of this cupboard with a prayer mat on it.

Form filling finished, we were discussing our mutual post-op situation, and how we had both come across the futility of trying to make any sort of complaint or compensation attempt against the surgeon who had carried out the nightmare ops, as notoriously the medical profession will always clam up and cover for each other.  Total cover-up.  Well, almost ....  I made a point from the beginning of my nightmare of noting down in writing wherever possible (eg, any hospital forms I had to fill out afterwards, pre-ops or seeing the various other specialists involved with my case).  I also put in writing, in as many places as I could, my suspicions in connection with that op - and the fact that I felt they knew it also but were covering it up.  I also had the feeling at the time that my Oncologist (after reading in my file my long email to the Neurologist, giving a synopsis of the whole story) that he was personally trying to bring this matter to the fore, but not really getting anywhere with his attempts.

That was the day I was due to see him and was waiting for ages outside his office, and when I eventually did go in he apologised for the delay and said that he had been reading my file, and the email describing everything that had occurred following the op and the reason why I was now being referred to Neurology.  This was early January and the Neurosurgery appointment had been given for late March.  The first thing he said to me on that day was (after reading my email) to apologise for all that I had been going through - and he said that the cancer was the very least of my worries at the moment.  He said that it was imperative that the Neurosurgery appointment be brought forward as a matter of urgency, as I was obviously in so much pain and it was much too long a time to wait.  He was going to do everything in his power to make sure that it got brought forward - but it never was.

Also, at a later date, he recommended that the ovarian cyst should be removed and sent me to Gynaecology
(the nightmare consultant's department).  On the day of that appointment the offending consultant was there because I had seen him on reception looking through files, but when I was called in it was a substitute that I saw - a female who spent most of my appointment time talking on her mobile phone about a promotion to some other department she was getting and had just heard about.  She said it didn't need to be removed, that it was only very small, had been there for 3 years and the size hadn't changed in that time, and had been confirmed that it was benign.  When I said that my Oncologist had suggested it should be removed - she said he's just an oncologist, he doesn't know about Gynaecology!  She also said the exploratory op I had was an investigation of my womb and that it didn't go anywhere near my back - and that the reason I woke up in such pain must have been because of the way I was lying.  They simply discharged me back to my GP.


Now, I had a check-up appointment with my Oncology Consultant last -Tuesday, following my last mammagram check-up.  My regular Oncologist was away, and there was a different specialist standing in for him.  As far as the breast cancer is concerned, he said everything is ok there and this was confirmed - BUT he said my own oncologist had left a note to my file that I should be re-referred to Gynaecology for exploratory reasons.

This guy had himself had a good read through my file and noted the many contradictive reports throughout.

On finding that I was still experiencing some bleeding and that it was more notable on the occasions that the back pain was really bad, he called in the Macmillan nurse.  (I have found from experience that this is
always a bad sign).  The Macmillan Nurse is always called in to attend an appointment where they know, for instance, that the patient is going to be told a bad news result.  I have actually seen this in action ... in a hospital waiting room, two weeks after surgery, waiting to be told the results of my lumpectomy (second time round - I wasn't aware of this first time round).  3 different doors, 3 different consultants.  Seems everyone there on that occasion was there for the same reason - to get the results of their cancer op or treatment.  Had a good while to wait even though I had an appointment and so sat there observing the comings and goings of my surroundings.  

I recognised the Macmillan Nurse who had been in attendance when I was given my first bad news 5 years previous.  She had been called in for that reason, although I hadn't been aware of it at the time.  

I noticed that every now and then she would stand for a while waiting outside the door of one of the consulting rooms (there were 3).  She would go and stand there for a time after the patient and their accompanying family/support had gone in.  Then after a time she would enter.  When the patients came back out from their consultation she would be with them, they mostly in tears or at least looking worried,
anxious or distraught.

Of course I didn't know she was waiting outside when I was in there.  (and thank goodness my brother was with me that time).  When she came in to the office I had already been told the bad news by that time.  
That was back in 2009.  A lot has happened since then.

Anyway, back to the present ... or at least back to my appointment last Tuesday...  Back in 2009 I had declined the chemotherapy medication (Tamoxifen), which had been recommended that I take for 5 years and then change to a different one ...  The consultant, on reading this in my file, turned to the nurse and said "Thank goodness she is not taking Tamoxifen".  The nurse (different one to any I have seen before) seemed surprised to hear that I was not on Tamoxifen - and she agreed with him that as it turns out it was very good news that I had decided NOT to have the chemo tablets.  If I have understood it correctly, it seems the bleeding and other current problem might have been put down to the tablets (side effects?) or whatever ... and then whatever the real reason for it (yet to be discovered) might have been cloaked over ... who knows(?) ... at least it appears my decision to decline that kind of chemo at that time was the right one.  (I of course knew this in my own mind from the beginning, didn't quite know why I knew it, but just did).  Well, I'm not sure what happens next but it seems likely that I might have to prepare for further exploratory ops like the nightmare one that started all of this.  Really, really, REALLY not looking forward to that atall atall.

Meanwhile, back to the cupboard ... while we were sitting there chatting about our mutual nightmare surgery and consequences, M's phone rang.  It was the ESA people.  I got up and went outside the door while she talked on the phone and when she came back out some time later she had a big smile on her face.  Said that the phonecall had been a sort of interview as such and that they told her she was going to be accepted for ESA after all, that she would be put in the 'limited' - work-related group for a year, after which time she would have to have another medical assessment - and that she now had no need to appeal.  She was very happy and kept repeating that I had brought her luck!  She also no longer had need of the raffle ticket or to wait till 11.30 to be seen there, so gave it to me to hand back to the receptionist.  As I went back in a woman was just being told that there were no more tickets and she had to come back Friday, early in the morning and join the queue (they don't open on Thursdays).  They called her back and gave her the returned ticket.  She was very happy too.

After all that, I eventually got seen about quarter to 12, but just for an "assessment" to see what area the problem was - (only one problem allowed to be addressed, just like in the GP's) and to allocate me to an appropriate advisor, and an appointment made for this Friday at 11.30.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Mon 10 Jun 2013, 13:24

A doctor who worked for the private company which assesses people for
disability benefits says its methods are "unfair".

Greg Wood, a former Royal Navy doctor, resigned from Atos earlier this month,
after working as an assessor for two-and-a-half years.

He told the BBC the system was "skewed against the claimant".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22561006

Good for him (the doc who resigned), but the horrible fact is ... that it's STILL going on ... (and I can say that with 100% surety from my own personal experience of it).

I have every confidence that [in the end, eventually, in the long run .....] justice will be seen to be done (in my case) ... but at what price. Delays, waiting times, mistakes, assessments, docs, forms, obstacles, reports, bureaucracy, scans, tests, hospitals, pain, heartache, despair .......
Almost 2 years on ... and ..... ?????
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Jun 2013, 13:43

Well, there was both good and bad that came out of yesterday's ultrasound & consultant visit at the Gynaecology Department of Central Middlesex Hospital.

First, it is normally quite a walk from the car-park to the hospital entrance, and then once inside another long walk to where the area that I usually have to get to. I recently discovered that there are 4 disabled parking bays right outside another part of the hospital - and that entrance goes direct into the area that I usually visit. (Oh, the times pre-Blue Badge, I would look longingly at those spaces on my frequent visits to this part of the hospital). So, now with Blue Badge ready and waiting, I always check those spaces first (would be so handy to just nip in from right outside) - but they are always full, never ever seen a space in there, so I continue on to the main car-park. There are about 6 disabled bays quite near the main entrance door - sometimes lucky to nip in a space there, more often not, so have to go yet again further where there are a few more Blue Badge spaces in the main carpark but as I said a fair old walk from them.

Yesterday it was touch and go as to whether my friend would be able to attend hospital with me (as she normally does, bless her ) as she had not been feeling too good following an incident when taking down curtains at her home and cleaning the windows, so I was on me own at this stage.
Was not looking forward to this Ultrasound thingy cos even tho the procedure doesn't take long it mean lying on my back for that time and of course I then have to get up from that position which - to put it mildly - is a painful ordeal and a half. (for some reason smilies not working for me today here) .... The results of the scan would be sent straight away to the consultant. After the examination, I had to go to a different dept (just down the corridor from X-ray where I was) to see the consultant to discuss the results. Took it very slowly ... each step I took or even tiny little movement after this scan ordeal was exaggerated and painful, so long rest leaning against the wall after every 2nd step or so. I could see the waiting area of where I had to go - just across from me, but seemed like 100 miles away! A very nice man passing (who turned out to be a hospital porter) asked me if I was okay and if I needed any help. I explained that I would be okay in a minute, and he said would you like to sit down for a bit and rest - pointing to the chairs in the waiting room. I said to him that's actually where I'm heading anyway, so he offered me his arm while I made the rest of the way to the Reception there. Told me that when I finish with my appointment to mention to the reception to call Francis (him) the porter who would come with a wheelchair to take me to my car. Said in future to ask on main reception soon as you come in for a chair, they always available. If you're on your own a porter will push the chair; if you have a carer with you they can do it.
It certainly took from the further hassle and stress when I arrived at my waiting place to find that there were massive delays that morning (the usual - shortage of staff etc ... ) and that people with 9.30 appointments were still waiting to be seen! (My appointment was for 11:20).
Meantime, I found msg on my phone from my friend saying she was on her way - and she arrived not long after. She came into the consultant appointment with me - where my scan results turned out to be fine and nothing whatsoever to worry about there (cancer wise). Phew! As we were leaving, she mentioned to the consultant then about her worry about the residual effect after her incident and he suggested would be a good idea to go to A&E while here to get checked out.
As I had my chair waiting for me and my friendly porter to do the doings there, I said I thought that would be a good idea. I would get myself a coffee in meantime and read or something while she went in there.
When I arrived at the car (with Francis pushing the chair) I found a parking ticket slapped on the windscreen!! Turns out that altho I was parked in a space right in front of the Blue Badge parking sign - the space I was in was NOT a Blue Badge space (no wheelchair markings on it) - and I only then noticed the arrow pointing to the right of there on the sign. £60 (bastards) parking ticket fine!! (halved if you pay that within next 14 days - which of course I will).

My friend arrived not long afterwards. Her results absolutely fine also (apart from blood pressure slightly high). Sooooo, as I said: Good and Bad. The good definitely outweighs the bad on this occasion anyway.
The day before this appointment my ESA Appeal papers arrived in the post. Another big bundle of of papers, another form to fill in, another wait for Tribunal Hearing date.... As with the DLA Appeal, the tribunal will be heard in the same Court, and they say the same thing in the standard letter about the thousands of cases waiting to be heard and to expect it to be about 7 to 9 weeks at least before my case gets to be heard.
Ho-hum ... more letters to compose, "evidence" to collate, etc etc etc ... and so it continues ........
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Sun 30 Jun 2013, 21:31

I have been following this story on another forum from the beginning:
My wife's breast cancer ordeal

and really pleased to see the latest happy entries.  I have no doubt whatsoever that Johnnie's regular writing down and recording the whole ordeal from day to day has helped enormously to take away some of the stress involved.  He does record that it is not very easy for him to share his feelings in all of this with friends and family (especially with his wife), and I imagine that is because they are all so closely involved and indeed have their own personal anxieties to cope with.  Now that the worst of the whole ordeal seems to be over, all the past bottling up of all his fears and emotions are now beginning to surface, I think it's a good idea that he is now talking about getting some professional counseling for himself.  Talking it over with someone who is separate from the whole issue should be of some benefit to him now.  It is often forgotten that the people around the patient (family, friends etc) are actually in need of support perhaps a whole lot more than the sufferer themselves, as all the care, attention and treatment is directed on the patient.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Mon 01 Jul 2013, 13:21

Well, my acupuncture treatment has now finished and needless to say, it hasn't made skiddlededoo difference to the pain whatsoever, though as initially advised, the purpose of the sessions was not to rid of the pain (although acupuncture has been known to do that in some cases) but moreso the intention was to concentrate on building up my core muscle strength.  I have definitely noticed a small difference there which can indeed be related to each session - in that now I am at least able to feel the muscles in my abdomen area where before I could not even do that, so making it a bit easier now to attempt various exercises needed to tone up.  The only way I can describe this is that the day after each session I was noticeably able to pull in my stomach and do certain breathing exercises which I wasn't able to do before - believe me, I had tried!  It's as though the acupuncture treatment had directly worked on unblocking some sort of blockage there.  The pain was actually consistently worse on those occasions, but movement was made easier, so I guess it's a benefit of some sort - and good preparation for the next step, which will be hydrotherapy treatment in a warm water pool at Northwick Park Hospital.  The physiotherapist has referred me on for this treatment, but has warned me that there is a very long waiting list for this, so I await hearing from them.  The waiting game again .........

Meanwhile, following my interview with Adult Services back at the beginning of May, it seems highly likely that I will be getting the recommended walk-in shower fitted at my home.  The recommendation report has gone through to the relevant department (as I have checked) but I am told the usual waiting period for this is something like 6 to 8 months.  I need to wait to hear from them - when they will arrange a date to come here and do a further needs assessment in my home in that regard.  So, more waiting there too.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 13:59

Girlie get-together with some friends in the garden this afternoon. 

Salad and wine purr    and ice-cream and Irish Coffees for later.  toast
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Acupuncture

Post by Kitkat on Thu 18 Jul 2013, 23:47

Interesting ...

 

From this link here (new website Chronically Skeptical)

http://www.chronicallyskeptical.org/content.php?20-Acupuncture-for-Pain-no-better-than-a-Sham&s=391e6e578683159b962babdd1fa2c8dd

In a new article in the journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia, skeptics David Colquoun and Steven Novella take on the available evidence in favour of acupuncture for pain relief, and find it wanting...

Tallies with my own recent findings (as far as pain relief is concerned):

'Acupuncture is Theatrical Placebo'

Curiously, given that its alleged principles are as bizarre as those on any other sort of prescientific medicine, acupuncture seemed to gain somewhat more plausibility than other forms of alternative medicine. As a result, more research has been done on acupuncture than on just about any other fringe practice.

The outcome of this research, we propose, is that the benefits of acupuncture are likely nonexistent, or at best are too small and too transient to be of any clinical significance. It seems that acupuncture is little or no more than a theatrical placebo. The evidence for this conclusion will now be discussed.

Continue reading at the journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia


However, based on the few sessions that I did have (5 in all), I did find it beneficial as far as some physical functionality was concerned.  This effect was noticeable immediately (as in the 24 hours following each session) and consistent with each session.  I can only explain this efficacy as having worked successfully towards unblocking some kind of blockage ... thus making it easier for me to work towards doing some gentle exercises which were simply impossible before the sessions.  I continue to do those gentle exercises now.  The acupuncture was the kick-start that was needed ... and I can definitely say that it is not the placebo effect in my case.
I was referred to physiotherapy to concentrate on working on my core muscle strength - and I do feel that is precisely what the acupuncture sessions have done.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Fri 02 Aug 2013, 09:12

I spose it was inevitable ... had to happen one day (with having to lie on my left side right at the edge of the mattress - being doing that for over a year now) ....

I am in absolute agony sitting here.  Got TENS machine on and waiting for painkillers and anti-inflammatories to kick in.  This morning I fell out of bed.  I must have gone head first because I had been dreaming and in the dream I started to fall and it was head first.  Luckily I have the walking stick within reach - hanging right next to the bed from one of the handles of the dressing table.  It helped, but even with that I couldn't get up for a while.  Landed on my right side which is the worst side, that's why I lie on my left side.  On top of that, got a cramp in my left leg.  Just after I woke up there was thunder, quite loud cracks.  Probably what woke me in the first place; probably the fright of it made me jump obgob  and that's why I ended up on the floor.  crybaby 
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Fostering a cat?

Post by Kitkat on Sat 03 Aug 2013, 11:50

Read in the local paper, the cats rescue home, not far from where I live, are looking for temporary foster carers to foster a cat(s), kitten(s) or a cat and her kittens for 2-3 months.  Although the Home can care for up to 150 cats at any one time they have had to close their doors temporarily to any more intakes fro members of the public.  They are overwhelmed with the amount of unwanted litters and cats dumped on them daily and desperately need to get some of the cats into foster homes to free up space.  (They also have some dogs there).

All costs and care equipment for the cats, such as food and bedding, will be covered by the Home.

There is a photo with the article, with the caption 'Darcy and her kittens need a new home'.
Darcy looks just like Pepsi.

I'm going down there later on - just to have a look round.   cat
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Sat 17 Aug 2013, 16:37

I've decided it's best to put the fostering on hold for a while. I'm thinking I might find it a little bit stressful and difficult when it comes to having to say goodbye to a cat or kittens that I have become attached to, having to give them back when a new permanent home has been found for them etc. I don't think my emotional stability has quite healed yet after recent traumatic events - and that's all aside from the ongoing chronic pain problems and all the issues surrounding that. I had initially thought perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce a "distraction" - and what better distraction cat , but no, not quite ready yet.

Also, with the recent pre-diabetes diagnosis, means a lot of extra priorities to be sorted out now (not to mention more medication stuffs to fend off for as long as I can manage, by trying to sort things in as natural a way as possible). An added thing now - is this permanent unnatural kind of tiredness - real dogged weariness - that seems to have taken control of me of late. It's definitely not normal - where I find myself literally nodding off several times a day, and jumping back into reality with a jerk.
On looking back to my first cancer diagnosis, until I discovered the "lump", I had absolutely no recognisable signs whatsoever that anything may have been wrong - apart from this constant excessive tiredness. The same can be said for the second diagnosis also.
It may well be just a build-up of side effects to all the medicine and stuff, but there's always that little worry now - even with just a headache etc ... the sort of thing which before cancer diagnosis you wouldn't have thought twice about ... it's just a headache ... etc ... After diagnosis (and this goes for everyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer) you can't help but wonder ... is it perhaps the Big C come back - maybe as a secondary cancer somewhere else? pale  Even moreso, with my family's history (my mother was constantly in and out of hospital undergoing every test, scan, prod and probe you could think possible). When her cancer was eventually discovered it was deemed so aggressive and moving so fast that they could say with positivity that she would be lucky to last for a further 3 months. (She actually stayed with us for half of that time ... with high helpings of morphine to ease the pain).
So, even though she had had all of these tests and scans etc, they did not discover the cancer until it was too late --- because it was hidden behind the pancreas.

It's hard to explain these 'little worries' to someone who has not been through all that cancer diagnosis and treatment entails - one reason why I miss my 'Survivor Group' meetings at the Maggie's Centre. Because we had ALL been through it in one form or another, we each could identify with others in the Group - and more importantly, TALK about it and discuss with others who understood just what you were experiencing. In fact, just thinking about it now ... I might head down there next week and sit in on one of the relaxation meditation sessions. These are held regularly there, and quite apart from the Group meetings there. I do count myself very lucky to be able to avail of these wonderful resources, as I realise it's not something that's readily accessible to everyone - depending on where you live. So, I should really make the most of what is on offer. Quit talking - start doing! Normally I'd be the first to offer that kind of advice to others, but severely lacking in motivation at present.

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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Sat 17 Aug 2013, 17:11

On a much happier note ... bruv arrives tomorrow. Not sure how long he'll be around this time, as he has actually finished his employment in Saudi Arabia now (decided not to renew his contract). In Holland at the moment where his eldest daughter now lives - and tomorrow it's destination London.
My Shepherds Bush cuz and myself will be meeting him at the Pad (Paddington Station) where he'll come into London on the 'Plane Train' from Heathrow. We will park the car at Little Venice (my now favourite and regular Meeting Place) and stroll the short distance along the towpath which takes us right into the Pad itself. Perhaps enjoy a coffee or something to eat at the Waterside Café barge before heading home in the car, or something a little stronger in the nearby Bridge Theatre pub (so-called because this pretty little pub is perched at the end of the little road bridge that crosses the canal - and also doubles up as a little theatre upstairs). Many of the acts that are now gracing the streets and theatres of Edinburgh at the renowned Edinburgh Festival, can actually be caught previewing in this tiny little theatre above a pretty pub in the heart of Little Venice).

I'm very much looking forward to seeing my brother tomorrow, who I'm sure will have some stories to tell even of his 4 days spent in Holland before arriving here. Soon as he arrived at Amsterdam he met up with an American who told him about an international jam session being held the next day in some Dutch countryside village on the German border. Just up Jimmy's street :thumb: , so off he trotted next day with his guitar, trusty tin whistle and recently acquired mouth organ. Oh, what I'd give to be to take part in such a session (just so very much up my street and all ... back in the days ...) Ah well ... have to make do these days with listening to the stories of others. violin2 
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Happy Birthday, Mammy!

Post by Kitkat on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 00:38

Yesterday was my mother's birthday (4th September).   We all called her Mammy ... still do.
She took her leave from us 27 years ago ... Yes!  27 years.  A long time ... and yet somehow it doesn't really seem all that long ago that she was pottering around in the kitchen, first thing in the morning, singing away ... 'Oh what a beautiful morning ....', or the strains of Danny Boy wafting in from the garden, while she gathered a selection of her lovingly tended flowers - to bring in to the house, cheering up every room with their colour and scent.

It doesn't seem such a long time ago, because in truth she is still around us, keeping an eye on what goes on with all the family.  She has popped in frequently over the years, and never misses a family gathering, special occasion or session.  The memories - and the reminders are all around, many of them very cleverly engineered by Mammy herself.  Every now and then she will send a little sign, a little reminder, to let us know she's still around, watching over us all.  She's here amongst us joining in the happy times, and when times are bad, worrying or sad ... she always manages to find a way to let us know she's around.

It was actually Mammy that reminded me that it was her birthday.  Yes, I was aware that it was coming around even up till a few days ago, but yesterday I was actually reminded in a very special way.  I didn't realise straight away .....

Just before my brother, Jimmy, left for Ireland, my cousin handed him a letter to read, a letter that Mammy had sent to his mam, our Aunty Nora, written in December 1979.  Mam always wrote lovely long, newsy letters and at Christmas time you would always find one of these inside your Christmas card.  It must have been hard for her penning all those letters to go with the Christmas cards, as she suffered greatly with the arthritis in her hands.  If you held her up about that, she would say the writing was good exercise and actually helps the arthritis, same with the knitting ... she did more knitting during her latter years when the arthritis was really bad, then any other time in her life; stuffed toys, socks and jumpers to spread around everyone in the family.

Anyway ... Jimmy gave me the letter to read.  Reading that letter felt as though she was sitting there chatting away as she always did.  All her letters were like that, she wrote just as she would be speaking to you.  It was such a lovely experience for my brother to be reading  our Mam's words ... emotional, but it meant a lot.  This reminded me that I also had a number of her letters put away in a box and I went to fish them out for my brother to read also.   It's been about 20 years since that box and its contents has seen the light of day.   I opened up the first letter I came to, to have a read myself.  This was actually quite late on the night before Jimmy was due to travel to Ireland.  We had to get up really early to set off to Euston in the morning and he still had packing to do, so he left them to read all together when he gets back, and would have time to sit and relax and really enjoy and take them all in.  I asked him to leave them with me, as I would like to have a read also.  That was last Friday.

I left them there ... until yesterday.  I have just recently been told that my Vitamin D level is extremely low (32 - when it should actually be in the hundreds).  Radiotherapy & chemo treatment apparently depletes the levels of Vit D in your system, and for this reason when cancer treatment is finished, the patients are normally given Vitamin D supplements appropriate to the level of their individual needs.  

Recently my back pain seems to be getting worse, and on top of that I now have a 'new' and different type of pain introduced - in the back of my left knee.  The strong painkillers that I take do not seem to have any kind of effect whatsoever on this new pain.  I had to see a special dietician, related to the pre-diabetes,and I happened to mention it to her (she could see I was in a lot of discomfort ).  She told me that one hundred per-cent the vitamin D deficiency was directly linked to my pain experience. Said it was imperative that I get my daily supplements started up again (ran out in March) and meantime take advantage of the natural Vitamin D we are lucky to be enjoying in this nice sunny weather.

That was Monday.

On Wednesday I kept being reminded of it, like a niggling nagging at the back of my head.  I eventually decided to set aside a half an hour out in the garden before the sun disappeared for the day.  So I grabbed a mug of tea and the box containing Mammy's letters to have a nice relaxing read out there in the sun.

In no particular order, I picked out the first one I came to and began to read.  Amongst all the news and the gossip and the memories, she was mentioning therein about her birthday which had just passed - her 70th.

It was only on reading all of this that I realised -  I was actually reading that letter on her birthday!  (4th September).   So, I then looked at the date that the letter was written.  16th September - the anniversary of her passing!   Exactly two years  later - to the day.   A subtle hint or what!!

I should add here - that in that letter, I found specific reference to a particular problem I was experiencing and worrying about at the time.  In other words, Mammy actually gave me the answer to my worrying question in that letter!

Couldn't bring myself to look at any of the other letters yesterday, yet - and didn't feel the need, or the 'pull' anyway.

Perhaps, when I have another problem that needs sorting out or I need some advice on some particular thing - and [importantly] I feel the 'pull' .... I will get that bunch of letters out again, go sit in the garden - and read the one that has the greatest 'pull'.
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Work and Benefits Newsletter September 2013

Post by Kitkat on Wed 18 Sep 2013, 00:41

Link:  The September Newsletter from Work and Benefits.

Makes for some pretty hairy reading.
(Just a wee insight into what I'm up against at the moment, along with thousands of others - many of whom are in a far worse off situation than me.)
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Wed 25 Sep 2013, 23:13

Found this Blog here: http://dwpexamination.wordpress.com/tribunal-victory/

It rang lots of bells when compared to the Atos examination that I had - back in February this year, where I was awarded 6 points (15 needed) and told that I am fit for work and not eligible for ESA.  
I too have appealed and still await the Appeal date.

Tribunal Victory

dwpexamination forum now available at    http://www.dwpexamination.org

Hello again readers, here it is as promised. A report on my alleged “examination”, my appeal and consequent Tribunal. I apologise for the delay but my health has not been good of late and I have had other priorities to deal with.

As I sat waiting to be seen, a man came out of a darkened room to my right and in front of me, I didn’t know at the time he was my examining Doctor. I could not see clearly into the darkened room, there didn’t appear to be any windows, if there were they were blacked out. I imagined this was the observation room from where your entrance to the building could be watched as could the waiting room. CCTV is a great tool for gathering evidence….He walked past me, went to his room, waited a few minutes, came to the door then called my name…..

The “Healthcare professional” followed me into his office obviously observing me from the word go. He introduced himself, asked me to take a seat and said he was going to ask me questions relating to the information I had provided on my ib50 form. Choosing to ignore the glaringly obvious reason for my claim, his ‘examination’ began with questions relating to several other minor ailments I had listed. I later realised that these were the easiest to dismiss thus proving I was a liar (In his eyes anyway).

Apart from establishing I had, had major surgery within the last 6 months, no further interest was shown in its consequences, and no actual physical examination around this surgery took place. He then asked where arthritic pain was, which joints it affected, but did not investigate sciatica. He eventually asked if arthritis was getting worse. I said it had, and was not improving at all.

Next he carried out the briefest examination of my ankle (this consisted of prodding my lower shin with his index finger) More attention was paid to the movement of joints in wrist, back, arms, neck and head. He then asked me to bend my knees outward and lower myself (rather like a ballet move) which I told him I could not do and as a “Doctor” the reasons should have been glaringly obvious. I was also asked to climb (up 2 narrow steps) onto a bed and raise my legs as far as I could, I asked Dr to help me rise, but had to get up myself. The alleged “Healthcare professional” ignored my request for help and made no effort to help me rise? He then took my blood pressure and felt my pulse, (he couldn’t have taken its rhythm as he did not hold long enough).

I showed him my appointment letters for my operations and visits to specialists; however he seemed totally disinterested and said he could not ask to see them even though the letter I received asked me to bring them with me?

He asked me what I would do if “they” offered me a job now. I said it would be physically impossible at present as I am still recovering from my operation and other issues, however, I made it plain to him I had no intentions of remaining on benefits and hoped to return to work as soon as possible, which may take time given my present condition. He asked if I preferred full or part time work, I said full time but the likelihood would be part time to begin with. I also said I had an advisor at Jobcentre plus who is working with me to find suitable work.

He asked me if I watched T.V., Not much I replied, How about Radio, Almost never, Newspapers, No, books , got one for xmas, haven’t read it. Do you go to the pub, club, Pictures, theatre or restaurant rarely was my reply. He asked if I did any gardening (I thought this was a stupid question for an allegedly educated man), no, do I have any hobbies, apart from the internet, no. He seemed surprised and sceptical at my replies and gave me the impression he did not believe me! He also asked who was with me. I found this an odd question but courteously replied “a friend”.

During the examination the alleged “Doctor” asked both closed questions and (as I later established) rather “fluid” questions in a manner which was clearly designed to confuse the claimant, and which sometimes demanded a contradictory response to previous questions. I found this very disconcerting and frustrating.

Do you drive?

What kind of car do you have?

Who do you do your shopping with?

Who does the cooking at home?

How did you get here?

How long did your journey take?

On completion of the so called examination the Doctor asked if I had anything to add, I said my piece, which was firmly ignored and he ended the examination by focusing on his computer screen and dismissing me like a naughty child. I persisted and asked if we could go through his responses and make sure there were no inconsistencies. He immediately looked uncomfortable, cleared his throat and mumbled he did not have time and a copy of his report would be sent to the decision maker. I left, knowing he had done everything he could to stop my claim.

I requested a copy of the report and appealed within the month.

The appeal

When I received the report I could not believe my eyes, it was laced with assumptions, lies and other glaring inconsistencies which bordered on the ridiculous. I went through the report with a fine toothed comb over the following week or so. I knew I would make a mess of appealing if I tried to do it in one go so I deliberately took my time.

Day one:  First I copied it then I looked at all of the entries the alleged “Doctor” had made. I marked those I considered to be untrue first, then those that were assumptions, then those that were down right lies. I stopped there too angry to go on

Day two: I wrote the opening statement of my appeal and commented on the untruths first by asking how the “Doctor” had arrived at his prognosis, without testing my physical ability. A good example was his lie I could climb stairs without problems.

Day three: Next I dealt with the assumptions, entries he had made on a whim. A good example was the answer saying I used a mobile phone to make arrangements and text friends.

Day four: Next I dealt with the lies. A good example was that I could walk 400 yards without problems, despite the fact I was using a stick and I made it clear it was substantially less during the “examination”.

Day five: I spent about an hour double and treble checking my work. I had listed around 20 entries I was challenging. Satisfied I had done the best I could I gave a friend of mine a look and he pointed out two other items, which I added to the appeal.

Several months later, I received my tribunal date. Having taken advice from UKBIX I contacted the Local Authority who arranged a meeting with a representative. The first time we met we discussed my case in detail and assessed its merits and from that gauged our chances of success. It was 60/40 in my favour. This was mainly due to inconsistencies in his report to the Decision maker, his gross misdiagnosis of my condition and fitness level, his obvious assumptions and glaring lies.

A second meeting was arranged for the day before the tribunal, by this time I had my anger at the alleged “Doctor” under control and had accepted the idea that the Tribunal members were genuinely independent of the DWP and ATOS and were there to listen to the evidence I gave and make a decision based upon the facts before them. Make no mistake, these people are not easily fooled and will recognise those who are trying to defraud the system. Equally, if you are a credible witness, answer their questions clearly and precisely and are honest the chances are they will find in your favour.

It is important to remember that the Tribunal, in my case consisting of 2 members (3 is not unusual), one a Doctor the other a Judge and that they are not the enemy. With that in mind you can rest assured that your case will be heard fairly and amicably. The judge will defer to the Doctor and may occasionally ask you a question.

After introductions the hearing will began. The Tribunal established a time period upon which I had to focus when answering my questions. I was asked about how I felt then and that was compared to how I felt now. I assumed that this was to establish weather my condition was the same, worse or better. In my case I was a lot better than at the time of the examination and said so. The questions were asked very clearly and precisely. The Doctor and Judge listened carefully to my answers and after around five, maybe six questions the Judge asked for a break to make their decision. I left the room with my representative, we were called back in after about five minutes and informed that the Tribunal had overturned the “Doctors” decision and had awarded me well over 40 points. This was a massive victory and represented a ten fold increase in the number of points the “Healthcare Professional” had given me on the day of my examination.

Remember, the Tribunal is independent of the body against which you are appealing or have a grievance with. They are very astute people who will recognise you have been wrongly diagnosed and restore your benefits if they see fit. Equally if you are swinging the lead, the will notice this too and will react accordingly. Be patient, take any evidence you can with you and above all, get help. Do not go alone, do not go in with all guns blazing, simply be yourself. It is important to come across as a credible witness and to tell the truth.

My benefits were restored within 2 weeks and I have had no problems since, although I expect they will have me in again. Only this time I’ll be even more prepared……

The above was written by my co-editor Michael Moore, and they did have him in, for his DLA tribunal, he phoned me that afternoon, he was shocked and was almost incoherent, the tribunal refused his appeal for DLA.

A couple of months later, Michael… the author of the above words died from the stress induced heart attack these people had caused.

They killed him just as if they had took a steak knife and stuck it into his heart themselves.

Rest in peace Mick.

Joe.
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Atos Assessment and Appeal Tribunal

Post by Kitkat on Wed 25 Sep 2013, 23:16

Some replies to the above Blog.  (There are so far 498 comments in all. All comments can be read in the link given in previous post).

Glad to hear you won your appeal! I am seeking advice from Welfare Rights, and hope mine goes as well as yours. I have much the same complaints against ATOS procedures & criteria as you’ve posted on here.

Comment by Mike — October 26, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

hi there nice to hear you won your appeal,i have mine in a few days time and i am doing it myself though cab have prepared my submissions and stuff which i am gratefull for.the amount of half truths and misreporting of my statements by the hcp and subsequently by the md and the reworked md’s report is astounding ,i am taking extensive notes etc to have my say and hopefully put it right with the truth of my statements,i have the full backing of my doctor,and i have been preparing my self for the appeal with the help of my brother who helps look after me . would you have any advice for me as regards the chance to make a statement telling the tribunal about the md and hcp misreporting of my statements?

Comment by larry — October 26, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

All I can say is be confident, remember the Tribunal are completely independant of the DWP and if you come across as a credible witness with a genuine appeal it can only help your situation. I was asked to focus on the time around my medical, and how I was then when answering my questions. I chose not to comment upon the alleged Doctors performance as I am not medically qualified to do so, however, I did say he grossly underestimated the effects of my disability at that time. Dont be angry, dont slag anyone off simply present the facts. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Comment by dwpexamination — October 27, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

hi there again ,well i had my tribunal today and sadly for me it ended in dissapointment. although after what seem like interrogation style questions ,and plenty of them by the doctor on the tribunal,i was adjudged to have come up short again to exactly the same amount of points which was 13 (i know unlucky for some in this case me !).the questions he asked me were mainly centred on me and the difficulty the doctor had personally in believing i could have a lower lumbar and leg problem for 4 years and it wasn’t improving and my gp had not taken a great deal of action until just recently to get me consultant expert help ,the doctor on the tribunal seemed to hold that against me personally and he said as much he said he had a problem with it also when i told him i couldnt get out a great deal at all he didint seem to believe anyone would live like that without constantly getting on at their gp ! i told him i thought the medical matters and the problem solving of my condition was the concern of my gp and i followed his advice on treatment,i said i couldn’t keep storming into my gp’s surgery every week stating the obvious ,i was half expecting him to say i was guilty of not changing my doctor. any how i think i mentioned that the hcp in the original medical had badly reported my condition in regards qualifying answers statements made by my self and she did not report correctly on my difficulty performing some of the tests , the chairman duly noted this. the reworked medical by a second md had pushed my points score down to 3 from an original 13 by the hcp,this was reinstated to 13 by this tribunal and they did not seem to explain adequately why they were giving me those points back ? they did in fact award me 16 points in total but they said two sets of points or descriptors overlapped and they could only take into account one of those descriptors hence the 13 point total and the disallowance of said benefit.so it would seem the md was wrong to demand the hcp look at her findings again and hammer my score into the ground but they(the tribunal)were not prepared to go the full way and award me more then she originally did! i dont think the line of questioning by the dr on the tribunal was fair or impartial i think he had allready made up his mind before hearing my account of things ,but its a case of i’ve been living on 51 poUnd a week for the last 7 months now ,and allthough i have an upcoming neurologists consultancy soon (for which i guess they could have adjourned)i cant go on with that income and its ironic now the cooler weather is in i can

Comment by larry — October 29, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

continued,
stand straight or feel my fingers , in an ironic final twist even though i was it would seem in the room for a good while having a load of questions fired at me by the doctor,it transpired that the wait to get the decision took mere minutes. i was out of the room waiting for about five mins total and they had me back in he informed me that i was getting more points but sadly for me not enough ,i could appeal blah blah blah ! they got the decision typed so quick they totted score up in my favor, found for me,ie allowed appeal and when i was in the room looking at it i was puzzled ,the clerk came out of the room and had a hastily amended one for me in ink ,explaining it was a mistake but it all left a rather sour taste in my mouth to say the least,the speed it was done was all rather suss! any how as i’m going to type i’m deciding if i should contact my cab and see if there is anything i can do seeing as i am the same, my back and leg are the same, and they cant just change to keep some penny pinching benefits agency happy . all your help or advice of fellow forum readers is appreciated !

Comment by larry — October 29, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

Re Larry’s experience,
I am sorry to say that I had almost exactly the same experience at my Tribunal yesterday. I got the impression as soon as I walked into the room and saw the expression on the doctor’s face, that there was no chance of a positive outcome. The doctor proceeded to hector me, asking the same questions over and over in an attempt to trip me up, until I simply said ‘I’ve already answered that’ over and over. I was also severely criticised for being very dissatisfied with my ‘medical’ assessment and sending in a complaint about it. I actually worked in the specialty I am now a victim of, for 6 yrs, and know how I should have been examined!
He concentrated solely on my upper body function – I have severe lower back problems after two operations left me a scarred spinal cord and facet joint syndrome – and just laboured the issue until the legal representative called a halt to it.
He then moved on to my deafness, but because I can apparently hear well, despite being deaf in my left ear – I have learned to lip read and told him so – totally ignored of course – he dismissed this. He glossed over my arthritis as quickly as possible and then we finally moved to my back.
My husband repeatedly tried to back up my statements and was virtually told to shut up, although he didn’t, thank god.
Even after informing them that two Senior Consultants had supported an application by my Occupational Health Department for me to be medical retired – which has been approved, and even though the wording used in both their reports was that I had ‘Limited Capacity for Work’- the thing I thought I was being assessed for, this evidence was totally dismissed as not being within their designated descriptors.

They informed me that in their opinion I have some fitness for work, even though I cannot ever be sure on a day to day basis that I will even manage to get downstairs due to my back pain, and that I can now apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance. I was completely shocked by this suggestion, and asked them to tell me what employer, who knows anything about risk assessment, would be prepared to employ me, in view of the instability of my condition and the fact that I cannot sit for more than 1/2 in an office chair without experiencing loss of function and increasingly severe pain? The answer? A shrug.

I am so frustrated at a system that can treat people with genuinely life shattering conditions so callously. It’s not as if I haven’t paid tax and NI all my working life, I have, and cared for others whilst doing it. I abhor benefit cheats, and never thought I would be for one second, regarded as a possible cheat myself. Quite an eye opener, isn’t it?

Comment by Lynne — March 16, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

Yes, unfortunately you seem to have been the victim of a “bad” hearing. These happen from time to time and the only reason I can think of is that the “Doctor” may have once been employed by ATOS and is still applying thier standards. Check with the BMA and make sure he is registered in the first place, secondly try to find out what the next step is as it appears at first glance that your case may not have been given fair consideration. We can only change this situation by challenging it, we should do so at every opportunity and take it to the highest possible point we can in the justice system. One thing to bear in mind, it is stressful and unless you have the stamina for a long drawn out battle, forget it and walk away or you may do yourself more harm than good. Personally I have come to the conclusion that this is all a game, I treat it as such and now actulally enjoy the process of challenging thier decisions. I know people might find this a bit odd, but if they say no when I feel I am legally entitled to benefits, if I can contribute the process of bringing this organisation down and I can make them work for thier illegal victory (if they win that is) I am a happy chap. Good luck and thanks for a very frank and accurate discription of your experience, I hope you report these people to the local fire authority, the HSE and take action under the Disabiltiy Discrimination Act.

Comment by dwpexamination — March 17, 2010 @ 8:15 am

HI ALL…Was reading the above,and a very similar thing happened to me,I lost my IB appeal last year,the doctor on the panel was totally biased,and felt she had made up her mind,before I even went in,I noted her name and looked up the net,and guess what,she works in a private hospital,and runs a private clinic,I had absolutley no chance…so the conclusion is,if the doctor on the tribunal panel, is involved in private health,there is a clear conflict of interest,and should not be allowed to continue,for the sake of fairness all round…….DAVID.

Comment by David — March 21, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

Excellent news, you won your appeal!

Claiming for what’s rightfully yours ought not to be as stressful as the Dicks for Work and Pensions put you through.

I’ve felt like giving in many times, but then I snap out of my depression, become so fired up with rage… and that’s when I demand my rights. Politely, of course.

I have 5 prolapsed discs in my lower spine, worn facet joints, 2 prolapsed discs in my neck, sciatica in my right leg, nerve damage and cramps. Crohn’s disease. Severe anaemia… I faint a lot. A blood disorder > Beta Thalassaemia… breathless, anaemic, tired – very tired. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Depression. Insomnia. Deaf in one ear. Partial loss of sight in both eyes, cataracts (both eyes) and not operable because of my anaemia and steriod medication I need for Crohn’s.
There’s others, but too silly to mention.

Now, what do you think the medical examiner asked me? LOL!
Can I walk unaided and for how long/far?
What are my hobbies?
Why I’m depressed? ETC.

I crashed a car, badly… in the 80′s and though most of the damage was internal, I never had a proper examination – Italy, see? 20 years along the line… had an MRI scan and the results shocked me! I’d been suffering in silence and working as a self employed fashion designer. Raised two kids alone. Did my best. Then I got sick. Really sick. Vomiting, collapsing, losing weight… my GP referred me for tests (colonoscopy ! and gastroscopy… and I had stomach tumours! Got the all clear after self treating naturally > Hemp Oil, but went on to develop Crohn’s… just like that! Although the enterologist beleives I’d had Crohn’s from childhood – skinny, see?

Moral of the story: Only YOU know your body/illness/how it affects you. Not some ATOSser medical examiner. So insist, resist, persist and you’ll have the right outcome.

*I swear I’ll go insane(er) if I lose my appeal! LOL!

Comment by Franka — June 16, 2010 @ 11:15 am

NB:  All of this was before the government changes came into place, making things even more restrictive - which is just at the time that I came into it.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 07 Nov 2013, 13:15

Haven't written in here for a while - not that nothing's been happening, just that life's been a bit hectic of late. Must definitely set aside some time to catch up this week.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 21 Nov 2013, 15:41

... thousands of cases waiting to be heard and to expect it to be about 7 to 9 weeks at least before my case gets to be heard.
Re the ESA Tribunal, I posted the above on 21st June.  

Still waiting for a hearing date.  toetap
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Fri 22 Nov 2013, 22:45

They must've heard me! Got the hearing date notification today, at long last. 14th January.
Not too much longer to wait now.
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Chicken and flouzies

Post by Kitkat on Mon 25 Nov 2013, 23:59

lololol 

My niece and her significant other were visiting over from Holland for a few days.
The pair of them love to cook and I am always very happy to let them loose in the kitchen to experiment on new and different recipes.  The day before they went back they rustled up a yummy menu of Chinese ginger chicken with all sorts of gourmet surprises inside, served up with an equally adventurous rice combination - all of which took just half an hour.  YUMMY!  Only thing ... all I had in the house in the way of beverages to accompany our meal was a number of small tins of tonic water (usually used as mixers to go with vodka, but totally out of vodka).  The only alcohol I could find in the place was a large bottle of Ouzo.  After some thought, we decided it might be an idea to see how the two went together - and found to our delight that Ouzo mixed with tonic water was a very pleasant drink and went down very nicely with our chicken.  We decided to call this newly invented concoction "flouzy".  The name just seemed to fit (especially after a few of them!).

We have a family forum where the niece's Dutch boyfriend has his own thread of recipes which he adds to regularly - and having enjoyed the dish so much, I made a special request that he let us have the recipe on the forum when they got back home, so that everyone could give it a try.

He put up the recipe - and added at the bottom

Eat it with floozies as we did yesterday

surprised  obgob  sidestep
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Newsletter - 3 December 2013

Post by Kitkat on Wed 04 Dec 2013, 18:20

Latest Newsletter from Benefits and Work:

This newsletter includes rumours that IDS is plotting to do away with the work-related activity group of ESA altogether, leaving just the support group. In addition, there’s the tragic news of yet another claimant committing suicide as a result of the current cruel ESA regime, let alone an even harsher one.

There’s also the tale of the drunken Atos nurse whose cases are not to be re-examined and the mystery of the bouncing Atos cheque. Plus the DLA decision makers relying on Google for medical advice and the bedroom tax supporting MPs who pocket £500 a week in expenses for their own spare homes.

On a brighter note we have triumphant news from the WOW petition plus the playwright who wants to turn your benefits experiences into drama.

BREAKING NEWS
DWP loses court of appeal attempt to prevent a judicial review of the work capability assessment on the grounds that it discriminates against people with mental health issues and learning difficulties.

Jack's Petition to force the government debate the causes of UK hunger reaches 75,000 signatures in three days as doctors and academics warn that hunger in Britain has reached the level of a “public health emergency”.

ESA NEWS
The Observer has reported that Iain Duncan Smith wants to get rid of work-related activity group so that only claimants who are eligible for the support group will receive ESA. IDS is reported to be unhappy that only half of the 550,000 claimants in WRAG are coming off benefit within three years, and that hundreds of millions of pounds are being tied up in administration of the benefit, including the work capability assessments and appeals process.

Whilst IDS tries to make it even harder for sick and disabled people to get benefits, the Bristol Post has reported that a partially-sighted woman, who suffered from crippling arthritis in her neck and back and was only able to walk with the aid of a stick, has killed herself following the finding that she was capable of work.

And there were more distressing tales of hardship and suicides amongst benefits claimants in testimony given for the United Nations. (members only)

Atos and the DWP, however, confident about the quality of their assessments, are apparently refusing to review what could be hundreds of ESA and possibly also DLA medicals, after a nurse was sacked in July for carrying out medicals while drunk.

The nurse has been suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for at least 18 months because of a "high risk of repetition and a serious risk and danger to the public". Atos and the DWP, however, have declined to re-examine all of the medicals carried out by the nurse , in spite of the fact that they may have been carried out under the influence of alcohol.

Even when your Atos health professional is stone cold sober there’s a real chance you’ll find yourself having to challenge their findings via the new mandatory reconsideration before appeal system. But how many claimants will want to avoid looking for additional evidence until after their appeal has been lodged, thereby making the reconsideration process utterly pointless?

In a commons debate Esther McVey claimed that mandatory reconsiderations for ESA should take just 14 days, provided that no further information is needed. However, she also confirmed that it could take longer if further information is needed and that there are no plans to set a maximum time limit for carrying out a mandatory reconsideration.

As a result, many claimants are likely to deliberately choose not to try to provide additional evidence until their reconsideration has failed, their appeal has been successfully lodged and their ESA has been reinstated at the assessment rate.

PIP NEWS
A member has complained that the multi-billion Atos corporation bounced a travel expenses cheque on her after she attended a PIP medical, leaving her short of much needed cash. Atos deny all knowledge.

Meanwhile, now that Atos have withdrawn from providing medicals for DLA, there are claims that decision makers are being told to Google health conditions when deciding eligibility for the benefit.

Anyone hoping to find out more about what’s happening with PIP may want to tune into Parliament TV at 9.30am on Wednesday, 11th December. That’s when the Minister for Disabled People, Mike Penning MP will be trying to avoid telling the work and pensions committee why there have been so few PIP decisions and why the contracts for medicals are in such a complete shambles.

BEDROOM TAX
The Mirror reports that 169 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who backed the “bedroom tax” have claimed up to £25,000 a year each for their accommodation bills. This includes MP Stephen Barclay, who received £24,226.09, despite living less than two hours from Westminster.

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2476-shameless-mps-who-voted-to-keep-the-bedroom-tax-claimed-3-2million-for-their-own-spare-bedrooms

OTHER BENEFITS NEWS
As the government admits that claimants are being forced to pay millions in higher rate phone calls to get through to the DWP, we’ve made another Freedom of Information request and updated our list of free to mobile DWP numbers, which we first obtained back in 2010.

Iain Duncan Smith, on the other hand, will be desperately trying to avoid giving any information to the Work and Pensions Committee about his departments misuse of statistics and about universal credit delays.. Watch him squirm and bluster at 4.30pm on Monday 9th December on Parliament TV.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 16 Jan 2014, 18:06

RESULT!   sunny   At long last ...

The long-awaited Appeal hearing happened on Tuesday (14th January) - a date to remember for many years to come, that's for sure.

I won my Appeal,  wine   - being awarded the maximum possible - the crucial requisite 15 points (as opposed to the original measly 6)
- and I have been placed in the Support Group.  YESSSSS   :thumb: 

It was a panel of just two - the Judge (female) and a medical professional - doctor. Between them, they tried their best to trip me up with questions specifically designed to influence whether or not each box gets a tick or a cross - but I was well ready for 'em, and had an answer for everything - and more on top!

The Judge actually commended me on what she said was "an excellent job on presenting my case" !   surprised 


Of course, it's not quite as simple and straightforward as you might think (well, nothing ever is   pirat ) ....

I phoned the DWP yesterday to inform them of the decision, and to query what happens next ...

They can't do anything until they have received notification from the Court - and then they have to work out the calculations (of what I am to be paid - which will be backdated for a year and a half - 1st June 2012 when I officially applied for the ESA).   I am told that because of the volume of Appeals being dealt with at the present time, I can expect an average of 8 to 9 weeks to pass before everything gets processed and I eventually hear from them!

FFS !!!!   How long does it take to work out the calculations?!!  angry   It took me all of 5 minutes to work out the sum that is due to me.  You can bet your life that if the decision turned out differently, there would be absolutely NO DELAY in making sure that benefit payments would be stopped with IMMEDIATE effect.  

It would also be nice to imagine that there might be some kind of apology in the offing ... for the wrongs that have been committed and the stress and torment that followed as a consequence ... but ... well ... sure a person can dream, can't they?

So, for now at least, I can't quite say goodbye to the Waiting Game that I've become accustomed to, but at least, if nothing else, the past couple of years have taught me PATIENCE.  Yep, I've got that in abundance now ... especially as I know with absolute certainty that my patience will be rewarded in this instance.  Having to keep patient in uncertainty is a different thing altogether.   cat
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What happens now?

Post by Kitkat on Fri 24 Jan 2014, 13:45

So, now that the ESA uncertainty and its associated problems are behind me, I am now in a base position to focus more positively on What Happens Next?



[ETA] - I did not in the end have to wait the mentioned "average" 8-9 weeks - on checking my bank account yesterday, the full back-dated due amount has been paid in and future payments adjusted to include the officially accepted rate].   :thumb:  toast 




Well, in her Report back in March 2012, the Neurosurgeon said that there is actually an operation that can be done to correct the chronic degenerative disc disorder element of my condition.  She did stress, however, that an op in my case would be called for only as a last resort, and then only after one year of pain management and physiotherapy.  With that, she discharged me from her department, stipulating that if both of these options turned out to be unsuccessful, she said she would be happy to see me again.  
It has actually been TWO years, trying out various forms of pain management and physiotherapy, none of which have proved successful, with the 'pain management' consisting of simply regular painkillers (albeit very strong) and anti-inflammatories, which of course do not offer any 'cure', but simply ease the extent of the pain (in part) and help towards maintaining a tolerance of that pain - which is now a constant, the base of which is with me always and, it seems, something that just has to be tolerated and kept to a minimum with medication, pain avoidance tactics and gentle exercises to restore core muscle to some kind of equilibrium.

The suggested op is called Spinal Fusion - which is known to be successful in many cases where one disc is involved.  I have spoken with people who have had such an op, who have told me that the excruciating pain they were experiencing before they had the op, had now disappeared completely and their lives had been transformed.  In my case, however, there is more than one disc involved. (At the date of the report, there were an immediate 2 with severe problems, and the rest I was told are progressively on the decline). More commonly associated with older people, it would seem that the various cancer treatments and exploratory procedures involved surrounding the ongoing monitoring of my 'condition' have all contributed to my present situation.  As my Oncologist said, at the outset of this progressive chronic painful situation - "the cancer is the very least of your worries now".

Indeed, I was advised by a specialist at the Pain Management Clinic that there is no guarantee in my case that the Spinal Fusion op would be of any benefit to me.  Apart from the obvious dangers in performing such an op (one being that it is so close to the spine), there is a large possibility that even if the op were to be a clinical success (i.e. fuse together the problematic bones and set within protective tissuing), apart from the possibility of subsequent problems occuring elsewhere, I am told there is no guarantee that the op will even get rid of the pain! (the purpose of the op in the first place, from my own point of view).  Throughout the past two years, I have been given the impression that they are very reluctant to operate on me - and tbh, I personally have had my fill of surgery procedures, exploratory or whatever.  It is not an avenue that I would like to proceed with, "last resort" or not!

However, I have heard (in passing, here and there) and just more recently from my physiotherapist, about the existence of a cortisone injection that can be given and, according to the physiotherapist) this is GUARANTEED to get rid of the pain - albeit temporarily - for a period of something like 4-5 months.  The idea of 4 DAYS free of pain, let alone 4 months, seems like absolute heaven to me.  For some reason, this is something that is not too readily offered or advertised within the medical community (I would speculate that perhaps this has got something to do with cost).  That physiotherapist did recommend to me that I approach my GP to make a referral on my behalf for this injection.  When he spoke of it, it was almost as though he was revealing a top secret assignment - and he did specify that I do not mention his name when I make this request.  shtum  - So there ya go ... kind of says it all.

Anyway, I have an appointment with my GP on the 30th, and I am going to put it to her then.  I imagine that even if she agrees to it, it's going to entail another stint in The Waiting Game, but at least it's one with a possible positive end result, so I would be more than prepared to be placed on that particular waiting list.

As my physiotherapist said - it's really the only [realistic] option open to me now.  We shall see ...


[to be continued] ........
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Fri 24 Jan 2014, 19:14

 

Have changed my mind (about the cortisone injection) after having read just 4 pages of the various patient comments and experiences in this link:  

Patient Comments: Cortisone Injection - Experience



4 pages is enough!  I ain't reading any more.




I think I'd much rather just stay with the status quo.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 30 Jan 2014, 12:26

Benefits and Work - January 29th 2014 Newsletter

(If you would like to read further into the many links embedded in this Newsletter - taking you to more detailed information about each subject mentioned, click into the link immediately above here, to read online)

In this edition we warn you that Channel 5 are on the hunt for fresh victims to parade before the public in a new benefits show.

The show’s casting director’s previous roles include keeping “difficult contributors onboard” on Jeremy Kyle and on People Like Us, the infamous fly-on-the wall documentary which trashed a Manchester community.

He also claims to have “gained access to schools, colleges and charities, for both filming and casting purposes”  for a show about young people at risk of getting STDs.   Classy stuff, which claimants might want to be aware of before signing up.

Not all claimants are taking cover in the face of the continuing media and political hate-campaign, however.  We have news of a national day of action against Atos next month which is gathering momentum rapidly.  See Atos National Demonstrations below for more about events in a town near you.

And Iain Duncan Smith isn’t getting things all his own way where the work capability assessment is concerned either.  The latest results show that a higher percentage of claimants than ever are being awarded employment and support allowance and a bigger  proportion are being put into the support group.

Plus, in this edition we introduce members to a name that may become all too familiar over the coming years:  PIPAT.  It’s the computer software now being used to assess claimants for personal independence payment. Benefits and Work has obtained copies of training documents that reveal details of how the software is used.

And we’re also asking you if you’ll let us have a copy of your medical report, so that we can begin to dissect the inner workings of PIPAT and discover what generalisations and unfair assumptions may lurk within.

Finally, for organisations, we're offering the chance to receive four months of professional support in relation to PIP, ESA and DLA absolutely free as we pilot a new service.


ATOS NATIONAL DEMONSTRATIONS

There has been plenty of buzzing on social media about planned demonstrations sparked by the deaths of ESA claimants and the government's refusal to release updated mortality statistics. You can read more about the issues here as well as in this blog by Dr Éoin Clarke which is backed up by statistical data.

Protests are taking place on 19 February. To find out more about what's going on visit the main Facebook page for the ATOS National demo Wherever your local assessment centre is, from Aberystwyth to York and from Oban to Barnstaple, the chances are a protest is being planned.

You can also follow preparations on twitter.

The news by you website which claims to report on ‘a beautiful mish-mash of information outside of mainstream reality’ says it ‘looks like it's going to be a meaningful day for a lot of people’.

Sarah, one of the organisers, says:

'We're hoping that Benefits and Work members will support this because urgent action is required as we will no longer sit back and watch this Government openly target thousands of sick, disabled and vulnerable people. We have to fight together for what is their absolute right to welfare support.”

If you feel able to join in to show support you can find all the details of the local demos on the Facebook site.

MPs are also now seriously concerned about Atos and Hilary Benn has said:

“As the Labour opposition we have called ATOS a disgrace and said they should be sacked. I have only this morning been dealing with yet another constituency case in which ATOS got the assessment wrong- it has now been overturned following my representations - but the system needs to change.”

ESA NEWS

One person who won’t be able to attend the demonstration in February is Sheila Holt, whose mental health deteriorated as a result of the pressures placed on her following her assessment. She was sectioned in December and subsequently suffered a heart attack, which has left her in a coma. Despite her condition, she continued to receive letters asking why she wasn’t working.

We also have the sad news of the death of another claimant  which his son feels is a direct result of the pressures placed on him through loss of benefit.

However, despite the many methods the government has used to try reducing entitlement to ESA, the DWP's quarterly report shows that an increasing proportion of people have been successful with their claims.

And just as importantly, the percentage of those placed in the support group has increased every quarter since March 2010.

PIP AND DLA NEWS

Concerns are being raised about the numbers of people who may not qualify for the Motability Scheme (members only) under the rules for PIP.

Some suspect that only a third of those who are currently eligible under DLA mobility will be eligible under PIP mobility.

This will impact significantly on those who can walk more than 20 metres, reducing their independence and ability to remain mobile. It is also likely to have an impact on those who are able to work because of the support that Motability provides in accessing their workplace.

MP Dame Anne Begg, the Chair of the work and pensions select committee has told MPs that she is hearing from many people about their experiences of waiting more than 6 months for a decision under the new scheme (members only).

Meanwhile, Atos have published a Youtube video showing how they claim a PIP medical assessment will be carried out . . . when you eventually get to have one.

We would be very interested to know of your experiences and will be conducting a long-term survey of PIP medicals that you can respond to - see the next newsletter for details.

Finally, The DWP is separating Attendance Allowance (AA) telephone numbers from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) numbers.

From 29 January 2014 a new number for AA will be introduced. Claimants can contact the AA Service Centre on 0345 or 0845 605 6055. The new text phone number for Attendance Allowance will be 0845 604 5312. The DLA/AA Helpline number (0845 712 34 56) will become a dedicated line for DLA only. DLA Text phone will also remain on the same number (08457 224433).

OTHER BENEFITS NEWS

In a case about Local Housing Allowance, CH/140/2013, the Upper Tribunal has attempted to define a bedroom by giving it a plain dictionary meaning:  a room for sleeping/a room with a bed in it. Gareth Morgan says in his blog that this ‘may mean that only the practical use of the room matters and not any specification of the property by the landlord – or others.’ The decision will have to be followed by the First Tier Tribunals.

However, the Nearly Legal blog by Giles Peaker suggests it may not be so straightforward.

CAMPAIGN NEWS

We've had three requests for support for petitions by unfunded groups.

The first request is from a group of parents who are concerned because their disabled (adult) children’s funding comes entirely from benefits and social services. They believed that this secured their future and they were safe in the hands of UK government and local authorities. In response to the package of cuts to benefits and services, they state:

“These cuts are a false economy and will seriously reduce the quality of life of disabled, vulnerable adults.“

They are asking readers to sign their petition  to ring-fence funding.

We have also been contacted by a mother with a similar request. She has an adult son with learning difficulties. She tells us he ‘cannot fill out forms for himself, nor stand up for himself, nor understand what all these cuts might mean for his future. He is part of a large group of people like this.’

"This group of people are unable to fill out the requisite forms themselves or advocate or fight for their rights on their own behalf. Others have to do this for them and this help (though lovingly given) creates high levels of stress for those in this position. When elderly parents/carers die those with learning difficulties may be left without the level of support they need."

Please read what the petition is about and support this cause if you can.

The third request is to publicise a petition calling for the abolition of the service charge - which the petitioners say is "the contribution towards social care for disabled people required by Social Services, who often want to have a financial assessment to set the service charge before even looking at what that care will actually be and then dictate what care will be provided."

Finally, we have had a message from Michelle Maher of the WOW petition.

“Your help and your members help in the past have been invaluable, and we are asking for your help again. John McDonnell has asked for the debate to be towards the end of February, but to date no time has been set as yet, but time is of the essence. We have had no support from any Tory MPs, so pressure is needed. Your help in the promotion of the debate and the need to contact their MPs is imperative.”
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Copied from 'Here we go again'

Post by Kitkat on Sat 01 Feb 2014, 06:56

Oops!

Had appointment with my GP yesterday for what I thought would be a HAPPY appointment - after the good GREAT news of my ESA Appeal.  Just goes to show though  obgob  ... I think this is a situation where the expression "Don't rest on your laurels" is probably appropriate - although I've yet to find out exactly what that means, and to look up the origin (there's usually a factual story from where all these expressions originate)...

Anyway ... had to discuss with her a new and different kind of pain that I've had constantly for the past 2 weeks (coupled with an unnatural kind of constant tiredness over the same time period).  The pain is sharp (high-pitched) and constant, doesn't let up at all - and it's in exactly the place where my first tumour was, back in 2004.  That was actually a rare type of tumour, called a Phylloides tumour, which they don't (or didn't at that time) know too much about and are still researching into - but from the information that they had at the time, they were able to tell me that (good news in a way) this type of cancer does not spread to anywhere else in the body and if it were to come back, it would be in exactly the same place.  

Well, because this new pain IS in exactly that same place- and the tiredness, I had a little check there and thought - I could be wrong (I am quite (let's say) well endowed Wink in that area, which makes it difficult to notice lumps 'n' stuff, especially if they are deep inside) - but felt what seems to be a lump, the size of a pea.  (The original tumour 10 years ago was the size of a lemon when first discovered - and before discovery I had no pain and no indication whatsoever that anything was wrong - apart from (on looking back) an unnatural tiredness (similar to what I have now over the past 2 weeks).   This is what I wanted to check with my GP, just to be on the safe side.

She checked - and yes, she thought too that there was a pea-sized lump there - but .... she also checked the other breast (the one where the second diagnosis and treatment was more recent - in 2009) - and found what she reckons is a larger lump.  pale   What's more, it really hurt when she pressed the area.  My next 6-monthly mammogram check is not due till April, so she set about making arrangements for me to go and have this checked out and said the hospital would be in touch to let me know the date.

The hospital just phoned me this morning - giving the date as 13th February.  - Not that I'm superstitious or anything(!)  Neutral , but .................  rock

I just can't seem to get rid of that Waiting Game ....  

Still, not too long to wait - 2 weeks.  

Off to check out this 'Don't rest on your laurels' story now ............  I'll come back here with my findings.
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Rest on one's laurels

Post by Kitkat on Sat 01 Feb 2014, 07:06

Found it - the origin and meaning of the expression, to'Rest on one's laurels'

(I have indeed been using it in the wrong context thus far - although it could be correct in part, depending on how you look at it - but my research makes an interesting discovery, nonetheless):


Meaning

To be satisfied with one's past success and to consider further effort unnecessary.


Origin

Bay tree

The laurels that are being referred to when someone is said to 'rest on his laurels' are the aromatically scented Laurus Nobilis trees or, more specifically, their leaves. The trees are known colloquially as Sweet Bay and are commonly grown as culinary or ornamental plants.

Rest on his laurels

The origins of the phrase lie in ancient Greece, where laurel wreaths were symbols of victory and status. Of course, ancient Greece is where history and mythology were frequently mixed, so we need to tread carefully. The pre-Christian Greeks associated their god Apollo with laurel - that much is historical fact, as this image of Apollo wearing a laurel wreath on a 2nd century BC coin indicates. The reason for that association takes us into the myth of Apollo's love for the nymph Daphne, who turned into a Bay tree just as Apollo approached her (anything could happen if you were a Greek god). Undeterred, Apollo embraced the tree, cut off a branch to wear as a wreath and declared the plant sacred. Their belief in the myth caused the Greeks to present laurel wreaths to winners in the Pythian Games, which were held at Delphi in honour of Apollo every four years from the 6th century BC.

Following the decline of the Greek and Roman empires, the use of wreaths of laurel as emblems of victory seems to have taken a long holiday and didn't re-emerge until the Middle Ages. Geoffrey Chaucer referred to laurels in that context in The Knight's Tale, circa 1385:

   With laurer corouned as a conquerour
   And there he lyueth in ioye and in honour .

   [With laurel crowned as conqueror
   There he lived in joy and honour]

A 'laureate' was originally a person crowned with a laurel wreath. We continue to call those who are especially honoured laureates although the laurel leaves are usually kept for the kitchen these days. Nevertheless, laureates benefit in other ways; Nobel Laureates get a nice medal and 10 million Swedish Krona and Poets Laureate (in the UK at least) get a useful salary and a butt of sack (barrel of sherry).

As to the phrase's meaning, to 'rest on one's laurels' isn't considered at all a praiseworthy strategy - it suggests a decline into laziness and lack of application. That's not the original meaning. When 'rest on one's laurels' or, as it was initially, 'repose on one's laurels' was coined it was invariably part of a valedictory speech for some old soldier or retiring official. An early example of that usage is found in The Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz, 1723:

   The Duke [of Orleans] was old enough to take his Repose under the Shadow of his Laurels.

Of course, the 'repose' was figurative - no one was imagining someone sleeping on a bed of laurel leaves, although the citation above could be construed as referring to laurel trees rather than laurel wreaths. No such doubts with a slightly later citation from the London-based Gentleman's Magazine, 1733, on the retirement of a schoolmaster of Westminster School:

   So thou, paternal Sage, may'st now repose.
   Nor seek new Laurels to adorn thy Brows.

As soon as we move into the energetic 19th century, the meaning changes and the phrase is used with a distinctly disapproving tone. The review magazine The Literary Chronicle, 1825, which praises the work of Maria Edgeworth:

   We do not affect to wish she should repose on her laurels and rest satisfied; on the contrary, we believe that genius is inexhaustible... For Miss Edgeworth there must be no rest on this side the grave.

We are hardly any more charitable these days. 'One-hit wonders' are sneered at and, with proper Anglo-Saxon earnestness, Anthony Burgess dismissed his fellow author Joseph Heller's inability to write a second book for 13 years following the success of Catch-22 by sniping that "Heller suffers from that fashionable American disease, writer's block".
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/rest-on-his-laurels.html
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Mon 03 Feb 2014, 11:26

I'm off this afternoon to pay a visit to an old haunt of relatively recent times, Maggie's Cancer Care Centre.

Based in the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, I found this haven a huge and welcome benefit a couple of years following my last cancer diagnosis/treatment.  They ran (and still do) a regular group there called 'Where Now?' centred around those who had completed their respective [physical] treatments for cancer, and many (like myself) who were returning back to the workplace, or just fitting back into an 'ordinary' lifestyle routine.  Life after cancer diagnosis is never quite the same; once you are finished with the physical course of treatment, regular attendance at hospital, etc, more often than not people are left in a scary, uncertain place with many issues left to contend with.  Being part of this group was hugely therapeutic, in that everyone there was in more or less the same boat, albeit at different levels.  It was not just for experiencers of cancer, but included also friends, family and carers involved with cancer.  Something that is not often realised is that cancer affects everyone involved, not just the experiencer.

Every aspect of cancer is covered at Maggie's, where you can simply drop in any time to chat with others there, get advice from the various professional workers and specialists there (who put in their time and expertise totally on a voluntary basis).
Throughout each week they also run various regular drop-in (or sometimes bookable) sessions (all free).  I have been thinking for some time to head down there and check out the regular Tai Chi sessions part of the programme there.
My physiotherapist did suggest that Tai Chi might be hugely beneficial in my circumstances.  As my brother is staying with me for the moment, I managed to rope him into going down there with me today - something that had been planned before the discovery of the current 'new worries'.  So now, all the more reason for going along there ... should the result of my examination on the 13th (at that hospital) prove a 'comeback' or a spread, then Maggie's will be a most welcome hangout in difficult times to come.  All that aside, I'm really looking forward to seeing and experiencing what this Tai Chi is all about - something I've wanted to do for a long time.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Tue 11 Feb 2014, 10:52

The Tai Chi session at Maggie's proved quite 'interesting'. Our instructor/helper was a really cool, laid-back, dreadlocked and beaded Rastafarian from Barbados, called Elvis.  pirat 

He explained to us before we began that Tai Chi is all about balancing the energy and the movements are all about 'Intention'. I could see straight away that it consisted mainly of 'shifting the weight' (i.e. shifting the weight from one foot to the other, or one arm onto the other - with twists and turns (albeit gentle and flowing) that I would not be able to manage. All of the people there were, like myself, going through or finished various stages of cancer, some still a bit iffy in places not long after an op, some having chemo or radiotherapy, some with the worst bits in the past. I could do most of the moves from the waist up, but the footwork that went with it - i.e. shifting and turning stuff ... nah, too painful for me. I sat down quite soon after the beginning (Elvis had already told us that it would be quite alright, just do what we felt we could). I did try some more of the moves while sitting down - he actually made it quite interesting, in that each move had its own description; like 'let the tiger show its claws', 'Split the horse's main', 'Punch', and 'Rest by the river'.

I enjoyed the session, but won't be going to any more. They do Yoga sessions there as well, but that would definitely be out for me - a lot of that is done in weird positions on the floor, and balancing on one leg sort of thing, so I think that has to be a no-no for the moment too.

I think I'll just stick to the Relaxation sessions there.  geek 

The dreaded appointment on the 13th is at the hospital where Maggie's is; expected to take anything from 2 hours to 6 hours (!), so depending on what occurs there, I may well be in need of some 'Relaxation' straight after anyway.  What a Face 
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by lar-lar on Thu 13 Feb 2014, 21:56

xx
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Number 13 - Lucky for some!

Post by Kitkat on Fri 14 Feb 2014, 01:27

Well, one of my superstitions was put well and truly to the test today.  I can't even blame this particular superstition on being Irish, because my sister is, of course, Irish too - and she has always insisted that the number 13 is a LUCKY number.  It was our mother's lucky number and no doubt her mother's before her, and so on .....  

Not so for me though  hairpull    .... at least, that is, until now .............

Bad enough that the date of my dreaded hospital testing was on the 13th , but when I got into the car to head off to the hospital, the car's clock showed the time as 13:13 ...  scared   That just about did it for me!  Expecting the worst, I dragged myself up to the hospital today ...  the same hospital that I had visited every weekday for 8 weeks 10 years ago, for my radiotherapy treatment following my first diagnosis ... the same hospital that I had visited every day for 3 months where my much loved Aunty Nora had resided, following a routine operation (to avoid a stroke) and where she had had a stroke in the recovery room following that operation and never did come back home from there.  She passed away in that very hospital in the early part of the same year that I later discovered my second cancer diagnosis - although treated in a different hospital that time.

Also the same hospital where the wonderful Maggie's Cancer Care Centre is attached to, and where I had gone last week for the Tai Chi.  On that visit I had picked up a library book from their small but interestingly varied library, and had brought this book with me to keep me going during the inevitable waiting time - appropriately (or perhaps inappropriately) titled "The Diary of a Breast".  I started into the book ...

Some reviews:

"A richly funny, highly original book in which the anxiety of illness competes (unsuccessfully) with exuberant life." ~ Elle

"Unlike any diary of a cancer patient I've read.  Just as helpful and informative, it is also highly literate - literary, even - and thanks to the quirky, cumulative charm of the writing its an unstoppable read.  Best of all, least of all to be expected from a cancer book, The Diary of a Breast is deeply and seriously funny." ~ Irma Kurtz

"Segrave has a writer's pathological curiosity about other people and details the oddities of hospital personalities with a sharp eye.  Her wry, deadpan style masks her own considerable courage.  Her is a singular character, idiosyncratic and contradictory." ~ Guardian


Loved it - from the start ...  Three places mentioned in the first few pages (it's a real-life story) were three of the very places I had just driven through to get to the hospital - Ladbroke Grove, Holland Park - and that hospital itself (Charing Cross) was mentioned therein also - where the writer went to get her treatment.
I recommend the book - if only for the humour.  Elisa Segrave is the author.

Anyhow - to cut to the quick, they would not give me a mammagram as it's too soon after the last one, but a cursory initial examination seeming quite positive (in a good sense), I was sent next door for an ultrasound.  Result - absolutely nothing to worry about ... simply scar tissue on both counts.   pirat sunny 
When I came out and switched on my phone, I texted my sister back to let her know all was okay.
Her reply ... "See, there's a lot to be said for the luck of 13" - and when I told her in my next text about the time showing 13:13 she was even more convinced, replying that she firmly believed that was our mother saying she is with me!" (I'm the superstitious one  confused. - She's supposed to be the sensible one! tongue ).  Then, on getting out of the car when I got home, I noticed - on the kerb(!) just beside where I had parked, large white painting of ... just the number 13! - nothing else!  Just that ...  I walked a little further to turn the corner to go in home and noticed ahead of me another piece of the kerb with something painted in white.  Don't know what that number 13 signified, but I thought this one will most likely say 12 or 14 ... but NO - it was another number 13, but this one was upside down!  I then deliberately walked on further, either way of these white numbers, but couldn't find any other numbering or painting anywhere else for quite some distance.  I daren't tell my sister about that one because for sure I would never hear the end of it.   giggle
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Fri 14 Feb 2014, 01:36

@lar-lar wrote:xx

Aw, thank you, lar-lar.  happyheart 

We have since 'spoken'.

xx to you also. I hope things get a bit easier for you too. Hope to speak (properly) with you soon. xx
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by lar-lar on Mon 17 Feb 2014, 12:20

Thank You. Yes, never ending for me  thumbdown I'm just trying to concentrate in putting in more little bits of happiness in my life. I can't influence 'the other' but I can give more to myself.
One must keep trying  toast 
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What do those squiggles on the pavement actually mean?

Post by Kitkat on Tue 18 Feb 2014, 18:18

An article in the news today at least goes some way to explain that number 13 painted on the kerb:
"I noticed - on the kerb(!) just beside where I had parked, large white painting of ... just the number 13"

Utility company code!  cyclops 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25915468
Look down at British roads and pavements and there's often a slew of squiggles, dots and arrows, painted in a plethora of hues. But what do they actually mean?

In London alone, more than 50 different utility companies have the power to dig up the highway.

There are a lot of people who need to know exactly what lies beneath the ground, says Stephen Palmer, the chief executive of the Institute of Highways Engineers.

Mistakes are dangerous and costly. To offset such risks, a language has emerged that is spoken in spray paint. Its lexicon is numbers, lines and symbols. Its grammar is most definitely colour.

White is the "sticky note" colour of the road and pavement marking world. From advice to measurements to instructions about what road markings should go where, white is the colour of general communication between the highways contractors.

When a road is resurfaced, for example, all the previous white or yellow markings in the street disappear. But the previous locations of these carriageway markings - whether they denote bus stop or keep clear zig-zag lines - will be noted in white on pavements to the side.

A "white line gang" will come along after the road surface has set and recreate the street markings as they previously were. "It saves someone having to set it all out again, it saves money,"
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My repertoire of foreign languages is expanding

Post by Kitkat on Sat 22 Mar 2014, 18:00

A novel way to learn a new language -- have a walk-in shower built into your bathroom!

A 2-week job, that started here on Wednesday.  I knew it was going to be an interesting 2 weeks from the moment the white transit van pulled up outside here 4 days ago and a line of 'shady-looking characters' piled out; some leg-stretching, banter ('babble' - foreign language) and lighting-up of small roll-up ciggies. Two of them looking intently at the house. I take note of all this through the window before the bell rings.

A tall, jolly, spectacled 'foreign-sounding' guy introduces himself as Daniel. He is here to 'deliver the lads' to start the work on my bathroom. He introduces the young, similarly foreign-looking guy with him as Marian. Explains that Marian and his brother-in-law (no name yet) will be doing ALL the works, plumbing, carpenting, painting, etc. Daniel tells me that Marian is Romanian - understands "a little" English, but not very much - and then translates for me Marian's mumbled floor-looking explanation that he 'can speak English, but is not good with grammar and stuff'.

They ask to see the bathroom, and almost immediately the whole gang begin a very fast and efficient to and fro of materials, tools, etc.

Few minutes later, Daniel comes to say cheerio - he is now off to 'deliver' the rest of the gang to another job. I ask him how long am I going to be without water - he tells me "oh, just about 2 to 3 hours today", and another mumbled translation from Marian assures me that they will let me know when the water is going to be turned off. Daniel bids his final farewell and I am left with the two multi-taskers - who immediately get to work with concentrated gusto.

These guys are good, hard-working and conscientious.  I have been anticipating and prepared for two weeks of living in a building site with dust all over and having to make a passageway through piles of 'stuff' all over the place - but no!  All their stuff (and there is a LOT of it) is neatly piled up out of the way when they leave each evening.  Even while they are here, apart from the drillings and bangings every now and then, you would never know anything was going on here at all.  I am very pleasantly surprised.  And they are very fast (but meticulous) workers.  Each day when they leave I can see more of what my totally transformed bathroom is going to be like - I suppose I should call it the shower room now, as the bath has been removed altogether, a whole new floor constructed, and tiles from floor to ceiling, new wash-hand basin and loo waiting to go in also, along with the shower - and a fold-down shower seat.

______________

The guys left yesterday, saying they will be back on Monday morning.  I was half afraid to ask what time on Monday, because their arrival time seems to be getting earlier and earlier.  The first day (Wednesday) was 9.30 am, Thursday they arrived at 10 to 8, and then on Friday the bell rang here at 20 to 8.
I have the clock set for 7 am, so as to be good and ready (and painlessly mobile) by the anticipated 8:00 am arrival, but no such clock-watching activities with these guys.

So far, I have learnt how to say "thank you" in Romanian, and also "little bit" or "half" or something like that anyway - I learned that from the second one, Paol (the originally un-named brother-in-law of Marian) when he tried to explain to me that he only wanted half a cup of coffee, rather than the full mug I had been offering.  

They brought their own radio with them yesterday, set to a Romanian station.  haha ... a subtle way of saying, perhaps, they'd had enough of my usual background musical stuff.

Not too sure how these guys exist at all ... here from early [what will probably be 7.30 next time!] in the morning till about 5 o'clock in evening, they do not take a lunchbreak at all, in fact they don't take any kind of break, scarcely stopping working to knock back their coffee - which is only twice during each day!  They have refused point-blank any offers of biscuits or sandwiches - here to do the job and that's it.

So, not expecting to see anyone now until Monday, I was just about to go head off out ... when the bell rang.

Two different guys arriving with their tool-boxes, ladders etc.  These are the electricians!  Their names are Kwang and Tam (Chinese possibly? - I will find out later ...).  Looks like these guys might be father and son (or possibly another in-law partnership).  Kwang tells me their work will take an hour maximum.

Kwang and Tam turn out to be Vietnamese!

They've gone now - were just here to put in a new fan in the ceiling.

I have now learned how to say "thank you" in Vietnamese.  Also the various correct grammatical terms for "hello" and "goodbye" ... and also - "You are a beautiful lady".  facepalm  Laughing 

I was also complimented on my Vietnamese accent - apparently my intonation is just perfect!  Spoken like a native, they tell me.  

Aah ... I wonder what's in store next week.
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Acupuncture

Post by Kitkat on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 20:33

Unbelievable!  Just had word from the Pain Clinic that approval has come through for the Acupuncture treatment on my back (which was applied for a year and a half ago!!).  The first recommendation and application was in fact two years ago - funding (from where, I'm not quite sure ... ?) was not approved at that time.

Meantime, the whole Pain Clinic department that I had attended at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington (from where the first recommendation had been made) had closed down at St Mary's and upped sticks, staff and all, over to Charing Cross Hospital and this is where my treatment will now take place.

In between that period of time, I was actually offered a 4-week course of treatment by my physiotherapist at a different hospital - which didn't work (and where, incidentally, no funding approval was required there).

So, I begin the first of 6 treatments at Charing Cross next month.  What an absolute dog's dinner this whole thing has turned out to be.   facepalm


Also, in the meantime ...  the Oncologist Consultant that I see regularly at Central Middlesex Hospital (though he was actually based at Charing Cross) has left to go up to Liverpool, and last time I saw a different consultant, who has replaced him.  This guy told me that the whole Cancer department there at Central Middlesex will shortly be transferring to Charing Cross hospital - BUT to avoid any mix-ups with medical records etc, I will still have my mammagrams and checks at Central Middlesex, but my consultant appointments will be at either Charing Cross Hospital or Northwick Park.  I was asked which hospital I prefer and I said most definitely Charing Cross (as the Maggie's Cancer Care centre is there also).

Today I get a letter from Central Middlesex Hospital telling me in future my consultancy appointments will be at Northwick Park Hospital.  head-bang  hairpull   hanged no comment
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My new wheels!

Post by Kitkat on Sat 19 Apr 2014, 14:00

Picked up my shiny new car today.  

Night Blue VW Up!   happyheart 

Off out now to explore in it.   sunny
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Sun 04 May 2014, 21:17

On Friday, I went to meet with a friend who lives in Harpenden, Hertfordshire - one of the many interesting and pretty places along the A5 route.   My first 'proper' trip in my shiny new Up!  Missy.

The Up! version that I have acquired is appropriately called 'Move' (There are 13 differently called models of the Up!  - including 'Take Up', Move Up, High, Groove, Rock ...etc)  Very appropriate for me that I've got the one called MOVE because that is exactly what this little treasure is designed to do for me!)  so it seems only natural I suppose to make a move towards exploring the historic route that goes to make up The A5 Road.  I live just off this road, and something I've always hankered to do, is to follow and explore the whole length of the road.



The A5 is a major road in England and Wales. It runs for about 260 miles (420 km) (including sections concurrent with other designations) from London, England to Holyhead, Wales, following in part a section of the Roman Iter II route which later took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street.

A documentary film quite recently made called The Road:  A Story of Life and Death

The road in Marc Isaacs's highly engaging documentary is the A5, the 300-mile Roman legacy connecting Holyhead to Marble Arch. Isaacs installed his camera at various points to record its many travellers: marching Muslims, Buddhist monks seeking nirvana in Colindale, an alcoholic ex-navvy, whose loneliness is horribly compelling and rarely observed this honestly. As proposed by his 2001 doc Lift – which sought out characters in a tower block – Isaacs may be British cinema's pre-eminent people person, locating strangeness, melancholy and joy in the urban landscape, and those who inhabit it. Almost every subject might have merited their own film, but the brisk diversity is central to what emerges as a subtly pointed, humorous and, above all, humane contribution to the immigration debate: the road has been retraced as a lifeline, pumping fresh blood into the city's heart.
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/feb/21/road-story-life-death-review

Not sure if it's still available to view on iPlayer, but I'll put the link up here anyway, in case it does become available at some time in the future.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rr3z9

Storyville: Documentary in which critically-acclaimed filmmaker Marc Isaacs paints a rich portrait of multicultural life in the UK by looking at the lives of immigrants living along the A5, one of Britain's longest and oldest roads. Stretching from London to the Welsh coast, the road has always been an important lifeline for new émigrés. Today, it is a microcosm of the wider world, and the film meets people from across the globe whose lives now orbit around the road.

From Irish immigrants like aspiring young singer Keelta, and Billy, an ageing Irish labourer struggling to find meaning to his life, to glamorous German-born air hostess Brigitte, Austrian Peggy, 95, who lost most of her family during the Holocaust, and Iqbal, a Kashmiri hotel concierge trying to secure a visa for his wife so she can join him in London, their poignant stories of loss and the search for belonging are woven together into a rich tapestry of human experience


My friend does voluntary work 2-3 days a week in a Charity Shop. I had arranged to meet him after his Friday morning stint in the shop - at the coffee place right next to the shop.  I had found just one parking place right in the middle of the town, and when I parked up and phoned him to find out where I go from there, describing my immediate whereabouts - he said just look in front of you, maybe 2 mintues away, and you will see the coffee shop.  He was standing outside when I got there!  I could  not have got any nearer to the place - and I had just sailed smoothly into this [only] parking place as soon as I got there.  It was meant!

Harpenden can be approached by way of three other major routes from where I am, but being almost phobically averse to motorway driving, my choice of route was a straight road (more or less!) keeping to the Roman tradition, passing through some lovely little villages and towns (well, you can probably eliminate Edgware, one of the first, from the pretty or interesting category), but once you Move Up!  into the bordering  county of Hertfordshire, through places like Radlett and St Albans, it's really quite a pleasant journey and I thoroughly enjoyed the doing of it.

My trip took me not much more than an hour, which surprised both my friend and myself really, considering I was going along for the most part at a comfortable pace and had even made a 10 mins or so stop to fill up with petrol along the way.

I enjoyed my mini tour of this lovely little town, and before I left to come back (avoiding the Friday evening rush-hours), I had a mooch around the charity shop where my friend works.
Spent £7.50 there on the purchase of a few interesting and unique little items:  A lovely little painted milk jug, two small and unusually decorated stoneware drinking mugs - perfect for coffee - a nicely decorated china, medium-sized sort of trinket box with lid, the colours perfectly matched for my newly constructed walk-in shower room.  That's gone straight in there on the window shelf.   And last but not least - a thingy ... some sort of weirdly shaped receptacle, again china with a pretty painted design.  After some humming and hawing, decided to place this beside the kettle to put the squeezed tea-bags in before transferring to the bin the other side of the kitchen, saving on drips en route and more importantly helping to avoid the spasms of gripping pain that can often occur on making sometimes the slightest of turns or movements (like lifting the kettle to pour water into the cup and then other movements like reaching for the milk, etc.)  On the days when the pain is really bad, I have found it's better to try and keep the turns and jerky movements to a minimum and try to do as much as I can "in a straight line".

So, thoroughly enjoyed my first mini practice run along at least part of the A5, although have to say I really paid for it later on that night (3 hours sleep) and most of the next day ... pains and grips.  That's what quite often happens.  Fine at the time when you're doing it, but it does often gang up on you the next day.
In this case it was the sitting in the car for such a length of time without changing position.  Although only about an hour or so, it was too long for me to be in ANY position for such a time.  I simply just have to remember to pace myself, take little breaks at regular intervals - even though I don't think I need to at the time, stretch the legs etc.

If I were to fulfill my dream and cover the whole road - all the way up to Holyhead, and (ya never know?) maybe on over to Ireland (a route I've taken many times in the past) ....  it might take me 5 or 6 times longer than it would take a 'normal' person - but it can be done and be quite an enjoyable experience.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Mon 12 May 2014, 01:04

I had the first of my 6 weekly sessions of Acupuncture last Thursday at the Pain Clinic (which has now been moved from St Mary's Hospital to Charing Cross Hospital). 3 days on, and I find the pattern is exactly the same results as I experienced with my 4 acu sessions last year with the physiotherapist at a different hospital (i.e. something is happening whereby some kind of blockage is addressed in my abdominal area, resulting in (trying to be as ladylike as possible here ..) ... put it this way ... the medication that I have been taking for the past 2 years (strong painkillers & anti-inflammatories) have side effects - one of them being constipation  Embarassed , there! I've said it ... and an awful bloating around the abdominal area, plus putting on weight in general because of the inability to do the tiniest little exercise and other movement restrictions for such a long time now. So, the painkillers etc do the job of simply easing the constant pain that is there, but that's it ... they don't really have any other practical design other than a cover-up, an aesthetic role to play. They are actually slow-release painkillers which last for 12 hours; one dose in the morning and one other 12 hours later in the evening. If ever I go over that 12 hour period without having taken the Tramadol (Naproxen is the anti-inflammatory), I feel it! I am reminded with a vengeance that without them I would be in a constant state of pain. Thing is, it's a kind of viscious circle that I'm in - because of the side effects, the bloating etc, I've not been able to do the excercises necessary to get things working back into some kind of normality - there was a stage there when I couldn't even feel the muscles in my stomach, let alone try to get them toned up! The acupuncture that I had last year (the 3 sessions) had an immediate and positive effect on that problem - loosening up that tightness, resulting in the much needed bowel movements helping to do so, and a better blood circulation all round. Immediately, I found the muscles back in my tummy and was able to work on some of these strengthening exercises in that area. This is happening again now right from the start of these new sessions and I can definitely say that it is a beneficial consequence attributed to the acupunture session.
The Chinese acupuncturist nurse, who is a qualified practitioner of Chinese acupuncture, reminded me that the nature of Chinese acupuncture is a holistic treatment, which affects the whole of the system. (She is the same nurse who recommended and gave me two years ago when I first attended the pain clinic, the TENS machine - to apply when the pain got really bad, which back in those days was usually at night time when I couldn't sleep because of pain and couldn't lie down, sit down etc. The medication at that time would wear off after about 4 hours and so I was always getting up through the night to take further painkillers, also morphine at that time. It was for this reason that after some time I was prescribed the slow-release tablets which last for the whole 12 hours, meaning I could at least get some sleep. Made a HUGE difference right from the start.
I had mentioned to her beforehand on the dday about some old pre-existing pains that I get every now and then which stem back to my first radiotherapy treatment - 10 years ago! after the first cancer surgery. When the back pain is bad, on the really bad days, these old pains are resurrected and exacerbated also, so I'm getting pain from two different sources. I was told way back at the time I first began experiencing those pains - along the path where the radiotherapy was applied - that it was an aftermath of the treatment affecting the bones, as the particular radiotherapy I had back then had no option but to include some bones that were in its path. (At those sessions, you spend about half an hour (sometimes more) at the start before the radiotherapy is applied, with 3 different people simultaneously measuring and cross-referencing those measurements to ensure that the radiotherapy is directed in exactly the right place. This was all done before the machine was turned on - and they would all have to leave the room and look through this tiny little window when the 'space machine' went into full motion. You had to stay very, very still (in the weirdest contortions) for the time they were doing these measurements as the slightest movement could put the radiation direction out of place. Then of course for the time the machine was working you had to stay absolutely still in the very precarious position that you had been put into. I remember on one occasion after all those measurements had been done and cross-referenced with each other, that I had to go through the whole measuring procedure all over again because they found that part of the radiotherapy would have been passing through part of my lung!

Anyway, apparently those bones that were included along the radiotherapy path are weakened and damaged (permanently) and I was told by the surgeon then (when I had asked how long would this pain would be for) that it would be a permanent thing, i.e. for rest of life.

As the acupuncture I am having is supposed to be aimed at my lower back area where the chronic situation is, (i.e. so many needles inserted in specific areas to tackle that area alone), I had asked the practitioner if one or two could be spread to another area to take in those other (different kind of) pains - and her reply was then to say that as it is a holistic treatment, that should naturally occur anyway.
Remains to be seen. I have another 5 sessions to go till the end of this course. During that time, I'm going to be keeping a detailed daily record (for myself) from one session to the next, right through to the finish, and after.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Fri 23 May 2014, 11:45

Had my third Acupuncture session yesterday morning, and yes the pattern is there.  So far (and I reckon this will be the case at the end result also), no reduction or change where my ongoing chronic pain is concerned - but there is most definitely a noticeable beneficial change/reaction where my digestive system and circulation is concerned, and I now have no doubt this is attributable to these acupuncture sessions (as with the few I had a year ago).  

Whether this situation will change and revert back when the sessions finish, I have yet to discover, but on a positive note, that factor alone could well be the stepping stone to bringing around an overall balance, i.e. grab the moment - necessary exercise is at present made easier with each session, so I should make use of that current advantage to attempt some kind of core muscle tone-up and strengthening to continue after these sessions are over.  It's not going to happen by itself; needs input from myself also.  So, I guess I can grab this opportunity to facilitate some kind of self help.

At one stage, when the acupunturist was inserting one of the needles, she said "Ah yes, that's a good sensation, I can feel that".  She asked me "Did you feel that sensation, feel it travelling down your leg?"
My answer was "No.  The only 'sensation' I felt there was the tiny prick of the needle going in and another little prick as you turned it."  shrug  I'm not sure how many needles are used (must ask the next time I go) but that's the feeling when each needle goes in, some feel a little bit more than others - and some I just don't even feel at all going in.

Afterwards, the weather being so nice, I sat for a while on a bench in the sweet-smelling, peaceful wooded area leading up to Maggie's Cancer Centre.  After a while I was joined by a guy who in the throes of having a Nuclear Medicine Whole Body Bone Scan, a procedure that I have gone through myself in the past. He had earlier had radioactive material injected into his veins and then had 4 hours to fill in before going back for the long procedure of 'photographs' to be taken all over.  That is the worst part, because you are put onto a bed in this huge room with all sorts of whirring space-machine-type of instruments coming from the ceiling and the floor, and you are then placed into all sorts of weird positions where you have to stay very still holding that position while they take photographs all over.  The whole procedure takes a full day in hospital.

I picked up on a trace of the accent, and it turned out yer man was originally from Co. Waterford, so we filled in some of his waiting time with some great stories and craic from "back home".  Turned out that he had acupuncture some 15 years ago - on his head, as a tried treatment for tinnitus, something that he has suffered from quite badly all his life.  Said the acupuncture did absolutely "feck all", useless.  Tried everything apparently, but now accepts that it is just something that he "has to put up with".
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Thu 05 Jun 2014, 08:01

Supposed to be having my 5th acupuncture session this morning, but I'm going to have to give this one a miss. Rotten cold, resulting in fierce jolting back pain every time I sneeze  crybaby , in bed most of yesterday with a hot water bottle, hardly any sleep though. So, feeling right sorry for myself today. The morning rush-hour drive up to the hospital would be unadvisable under these circumstances (going an hour at least without a single painful sneeze would be chancing it) and then having to lie still with 10 needles stuck in my back for 20-30 mins would not be a pleasant task at all today.
This was to be my last but one session - last one due next week. I hope I'll still be seen then, having cancelled today.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Sat 07 Jun 2014, 19:20

When I phoned to cancel the acupuncture appointment, they said I will actually be given another appointment after what was supposed to be my final one next week, so that's good - I won't be missing out there.


Went this afternoon to a little meet-up group arranged through an online equivalent of the local newspaper.  The venue was in a lovely little restaurant which used to be a regular haunt of mine 20 years ago when I lived just around the corner from there.
There were 9 of us altogether (all females) - a really nice, mixed bunch of people.  Only two of them had met before, two Italian girls, friends for about 10 years or so.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Through that, I'm going next week to see this film (the matinée showing) 'Jimmy's Hall':
The trailer for Ken Loach's new film, which stars Barry Ward as James Gralton, the political activist who challenged the Catholic church's restriction of free speech in 1920s Ireland. Gralton, a communist, was faced with violent protests from the church for running a dance hall where he shared his political views. Jimmy's Hall, which is rumoured to be Loach's last feature

http://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2014/apr/02/jimmys-hall-trailer-ken-loach-film-video

in the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn (the one cinema that I can go to and sit in comfort, as there are 2 large seats on either side of the ends of the back row specially designed for 'disabled' people. Those seats are larger/wider and even though too low down for me to sit comfortably, I can perch on the upfolded seat without disturbing anyone behind me and can shift position and stretch the legs and go stand by the wall behind me for a bit without disturbing anybody else.

I'm going with one of the girls I met at the meet-up today (a Glaswegian-raised Protestant, turned atheist) who's son arrives back from Russia tomorrow.  The 22 year old suddenly decided he wanted to learn Russian, and where best to do so than in Russia itself - spent 8 months there, travelling all over - now speaks [more or less] fluently.  Man after my own heart!)

All there agreed that we would definitely be having more of these meet-ups - at different venues.  A really nice way to meet new people, perhaps nurture new or unfulfilled interests and discover new places to go.
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Feather on Mon 09 Jun 2014, 10:30

Sounds great for you, kk. I always say I'm not a joiner. I rarely join groups. I think it's my father in me. I can't explain it other than to say I get a negative feeling when I think about it. Maybe it's because my true interests are limited and I just know it's not for me.
Latterly I got the same negative reaction when I thought about going to The Legion on a Saturday night--and that was before J died. I told him I was being pulled in another direction. He passed soon after that. I thought that was quite strange.

I'm happy that you get pleasure from your meetings. That's the healthy way to be. I must be sick!!!!


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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Kitkat on Mon 09 Jun 2014, 11:24

Oh, I'm generally not one for 'groups' either - I tend to steer clear of anything organized with set agendas.  This didn't look to me as being that way and that's why I thought I'd give it a try.  I was right. All the people I met there seemed very independent in their own right - and these meet-ups serve different purposes for each individual.  It may well be a different set of people on the next one that's arranged - and anyone can be the 'arranger' and venue suggester, by their own choice.

My brother, who's just arrived back from a (totally independent) impromptu walking trip in the Yorkshire Dales - as he's never been there before, is coming along with us to see the film also, as it's a right-up-his-street type of film.

and ...

get this! .....

I phoned the Cinema beforehand to see if I could reserve one of the 'disabled' seats at either end of the back row and 2 seats next to it for Tricia and Jimmy.  (It's just a very small theatre/with cinema and its own little bar & cafe in the back with a large but cosy sort of sitting room with settees, armchairs and little side tables dotted around - also free computer/internet access in that area).
Turns out those seats are not 'disabled' seats - they are known as the 'Love Seats' !  surprised   Specially designed to fit two people together, and of course they're in the back row!   giggle 

I explained the reason why I particularly wanted/needed one of those seats and they couldn't have been more understanding and helpful.  Turns out that as I am a Blue Badge holder, not only do I get a discount off my ticket (£8.50 instead of £9.50), but also - one other person who comes with me gets in for free!  Classed as being with me in the capacity of 'Carer'.  I just have to sign some sort of Access form at the Reception when I go there on Tuesday - just the once, and then whever I go there I am on their books as a Blue Badge holder - with the 'Love Seat' reserved for me  shtum  and one person coming with me getting in free!

(They are particularly caring and sympathetic towards people with disabilities; they have a matinee session on Thursday afternoons in the Cinema, with subtitles on the screen - specially for those who are hard of hearing.)
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Re: Kitkat's KK Blog

Post by Feather on Mon 09 Jun 2014, 11:36

Can't be bad, kk. Enjoy yourself. Be good to see Jimmy again.


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