I am the sort of person who thinks obsessively. I say that I tend to “over think” or that I’m an “analytical thinker”, because stuff goes round in my head until I’m dizzy. There are lots of people out there who can be puzzled at something that’s happened, and then say “oh well” and shrug, because they accept that not everything makes sense. I am not one of those people. The maybes, the whys, the wherefores all spin round in my head like a pink sock in a white wash.
Of course, over the last few weeks, I’ve done little else but obsess over the details of my IB appeal. From a simple “damn, what was that doctor on?” to a broader “the whole system’s fucked” and everywhere in between. In my head, it’s been extremely complex, and if my thought processes could be printed out on a flow chart – well, let’s just say there isn’t a piece of paper big enough.
So, you’d think that writing my statement of appeal would be easy. I’ve got the facts sorted out, I know I’m right, I’m articulate and intelligent. So, yesterday I sat down with a note pad and the appeal summary bobbins, and started reading. I knew I’d get angry with it, and thought that I’d channel that anger into a well constructed statement that someone with clout was actually going to read.
Then I noticed something. If you remember, the doctor at the medical in December ticked the yes and no boxes, and had to write the reasons for his answers. The first question on the list was the one about whether I could answer the telephone and take a message. He’d said yes, and I couldn’t read his writing well enough to decipher his reasons. Yesterday, as I went through the pages once again, I realised what it said.
“answers when phone ring, responsible memory”
In other words the doctor has BLATANTLY LIED on that form. If I could have channelled that anger into a well constructed statement, it would have been fantastic…

That’s better

It takes a five minute conversation with the Lovely Solicitor™ to put my mind at rest.
Up til then, I was convinced that if I had to drag myself to a tribunal, kicking, screaming and stoned on valium before promptly puking on their desk, I would do it. LS™ says this isn’t necessary. My options for a hearing have been either an oral hearing (the kicking and screaming bit) or a paper hearing, where I basically submit a statement of why I think the decision is wrong. I had this idea of writing a statement anyway, in case I spacked out at the hearing and couldn’t get my point across, and I’ve been busying myself making notes etc. LS™ suggested that an oral hearing might give the appeals panel the grounds to say, “well you made it here, what’s the problem?” (or something like that). So, the way forward is a paper hearing.
The bumph I received yesterday asks if I have any further evidence to support my claim. This has always bothered me, because at the moment, apart from Dr H, I’m not seeing anyone. LS™ and Wonderful Legal Secretary™ have suggested that a statement from Mr D will be good – and it makes so much sense – after all, he knows me best and lives with this shit too. I’ve been given instructions about how it should be written, and what they’ll be looking for.
That’s this weekend sorted, then…

she knits and she shits

there I was, writing a post about how I’ve been dying from the most horrible diarrhoea and vomiting bug EVER, when *thunk* the postman drops an A4 manilla envelope through the letter box. It looks like someone thinks I’m a publisher, because it’s as big as a book manuscript.
It may as well be a novel – it’s the “Life and Times of Dominocat’s IB Claim”. The Benefits agency have sent me photocopies of every bit of paper pertaining to my claim now, and stuff from when I had a PCA in 2004. Hopefully, the Benefits Agency have sent a copy to my solicitor (that still sounds so cool!) otherwise I’ll have to spend a lot of money copying it and sending it on. It makes interesting reading – and answers a few questions that I had. One of these was “which of my health care professionals filled in the form last time?” I thought it was M, I distinctly remember having conversations with her about it. As it turns out, it was Dr H, who filled it in this time too.
It seems they have put my appeal through what they call “reconsideration” where someone looks at the forms again and decides whether they added the points up correctly. I’d already said there was no point in doing this, because I was appealing against the entire medical, and the fact that the doctor didn’t even ask me many of the questions on the form – well, you know the story.
The whole thing looks incredibly scary. The size of the document, the legalese, the fact it is scrutinizing me, when all I want to do is hide… I can’t help thinking that they make it deliberately scary to put people off. I honestly think that if it wasn’t for the fact that I have a solicitor and his wonderful legal secretary giving me encouragement and resassurance, I’d have just puked and given up.

Mental note to self…

Do not start thinking “hmm, I should write something in my blog but nothing’s happening”, because this is known as Tempting Fate.
Fate happened at around half past three this afternoon, when that big silver car decided to overtake at a place where there was clearly no room, and without checking for oncoming traffic. ie oncoming traffic being us. He swerved back into his lane, but it was too late. I’d seen him.
To be fair, the panic attack wasn’t big, and didn’t last long – but I still felt stupid and knackered and fed up. Why can’t I just yell “stupid bastard!” like everyone else, then get on with life? I hate stupid primeval conditioned responses.