I love the smell of bureaucracy in the morning…

This may be brief, or jumbled, or both. I woke at 8.30am to phone my GP. I wanted to get an afternoon appointment because that is when non-urgent cases are seen and I was non-urgent: I wanted to get a ‘Fit-Note’- ‘Statement of Fitness for Work For social security or Statutory Sick Pay’. I’ve not applied, asked, for one of those before. Way back when (2008) I had to get a ‘Sick Note’ for DWP application, my GP filled in a form, by hand, gave it me, and I sent it off. That was the last time I had to ask him for such a thing. Since then, much has changed. The ‘Note’ is computerised, and has interesting statements on it with tick boxes; for example ‘I advise you that:  [tick box] you are not fit for work, [tick box] fit for work, [tick box] you may be fit for work taking account of the following’ and the following are suggestions for making returning to work easier, such as [tick box]’Altered hours’. Advice from the DWP to GPs filling in this form is about how work keeps people healthy and is good for them, so the GP shouldn’t write them off ([tick box] you are not fit for work).

I could not get an appointment to see my GP this afternoon, only the morning, but when I told the receptionist what my appointment was for, she told me I could see the Surgery Manager and he would organise it – come in the afternoon. Why could I not make the morning: because I had a hospital appointment! Yes, I was going for a medical double-whammy. And what a whammy. The short version – my hospital appointment (ENT) was 11:10 am, I was seen at approximately 1pm. I don’t actually know the time because the room we were in had no clock… oh, yeah. Old Skool Orwell situation. But the time went quickly as I scribbled in my notebook. And the outcome was acceptable. I (unexpectedly) got to see the head honcho Specialist because I am ‘an Interesting Patient’*. I can’t disclose the condition I have until I have the official letter – that’s my policy. But it’s rare and there’s no treatment. After the hospital I got a bus to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of West London**.

To get or not to get, a Fit-Note. Holy Hell, things have changed. The poor Surgery Manager! He asked me which conditions I wanted the note for, and then had had to go through ALL my Specialist letters (helpfully scanned and ready to view) to find the exact ones where my conditions were confirmed. This did include going as far back as 2004. He had to check everything. And it took a long time. I could not remember all the dates and Specialists.  I understand the need to cover the Surgery Arse in these cases. I’m glad he did it. But it made me very nervous. Indeed, it made me shake. After printing it out, he went to see the GP on my behalf to get it signed. The Surgery Manager and I have not always been friendly. But since Mum died he’s been helpful, and I really can’t fault him today, indeed, he was kind. And when he takes blood, he gets it straight away BANG! Which is rare for me. I have deep veins.

So, I have another diagnosis, and a Fit-Note and I’ve filled in my ESA1. I just have to send it off. It wasn’t as bad as the ESA50*** but it wasn’t nice. If I had a Partner I’d be quite embarrassed to ask them to fill in their part – why should they be considered connected to me when it comes to my inabilities? Also, I got very scared when I read about the working and not working  and P45’s. I’ve not worked since 2007 and have no idea of where my P45 is. Much of my paper work got destroyed in two floods in my home. And part of my Depression and Anxiety manifests itself as an inability to manage myself. Sometimes I can’t manage my pants, sometimes I can’t manage my meds, nearly all the time I can’t manage ‘Official’ paperwork. Forms fill me with dread. I styled this one out by looking at lots of pictures of hands on the Internet and knowing that I can have a sleep-in tomorrow and take a laxative tonight… you know, all the cool relaxing stuff that helps you through stress – sleep and poops.

I do hope the sleep comes, and the poops do too, but in an orderly fashion – polite poops.

*I have heard this before. A previous Specialist called me ‘An Amalgam of 5 percents’ because I had so many conditions that ‘only’ affect 5% of the population. Funnily enough, since he said that, many of the things I have have been discovered more common: thank you genetic testing and the Internet.

**My GPs Surgery Manager.

***Or whatever the Ego shrinking, tear inducing, horrorshow form is called. I’m saving up Diazepam for that one.



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