Wednesday, 30 June 2010

How much will it cost the government to remove my Disability Living Allowance?

(Following on from immediately earlier entry.......)

Realistically, the govt. would pay me much more in working-benefits and subsidiary costs than it would save if it sent me out to work. I currently receive higher rate care and mobility. Let's call that £450 p/m (although because I have a car on the motability scheme, the cost is more but the cash is less)

Lets say that I get a job working 16hrs a week for minimum wage (I can't expect much more than that, to be honest) our total entitlement to benefits as a couple? £11,400.63. Now, that DOES include some things we already claim, like housing benefit and tax credits and child benefit (all things, I'd hasten to point out, than ANYONE is allowed to claim, working or not, except tax credits which are an in-work benefit). It's still a lot.

Now, add to that that because I'll be working, I'll be pushing myself past what I am capable of while still retaining any degree of comfort. This will mean that most likely, I will have to go on medication. Probably anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and pain management.

I'm going to break this down as much as I can to make it a bit clearer. Obviously, these numbers are not accurate as, guess what? I don't have a direct line to the NHS offices to find out how much meds cost. But I'm going off searches of the things I would need and an educated estimate at how much they would cost based on the assumption that the NHS bulk-buys. For example, I got a price of 64p per pill for Sertraline if bought in bulk at 270pills, so I assumed the NHS would buy in even larger numbers than that, and just pegged it at 40p. It's probably less, but lets add some more for admin costs, the cost of my GP, the cost of the pharmacist, etc etc. Assume all numbers are accurate for the purpose of this excersize.

Assuming Sertraline at 40p per pill: £12.50 p/m
Diazepam (assuming 1-2 pills a week): £3 p/m
Codeine (assuming 28 a month, which I could easily do now, without a job): £5 p/m

That's £20.50 a month on pills alone, almost £250 a year. And because I will soon be diagnosed with a lifelong illness, I will soon get my prescriptions free, which means the NHS will foot the entire bill. It will also foot the bill for the support I will no doubt need. The 16 weeks of councelling I'm sure I'll be provided with (pffffft), the braces (£40 please) I may or may not need to hold myself together (chortle chortle), the hospital stay I may end up needing if I relapse and require hospitalization, or the hospital stay I may end up needing if my perilously low weight plummets any further (which it would do, if I was stressed and also having to be doing physical activity 16 hours a week more than I do presently. And lets not kid ourselves that a 22 yr old with no skills, qualifications, previous work experience AND a baby could get anything other than something that would require a large degree of standing on my feet all day, serving people).

If I was to get pregnant again (not unreasonable for someone my age, in a stable relationship, but also not something I'm planning on doing, but I COULD) the cost to the government would skyrocket almost immediately. I would be extremely high risk, I would most likely have to leave work fairly soon which would mean I would have to go on *drumroll, please* unemployment benefits, or maternity wages (the actual term escapes me at 5am, sorry) all of which come straight from the governments coffers, I would most likely have to have a high-risk birth which would cost some hospital a lot of money, if I have my baby prematurely (stress and weight problems would contribute significantly to this possibility) the costs shoot off astronomically. If I had to stay in hospital for any length of time on bedrest, Beastlet would have to go into full time childcare while I'm in hospital, AND GUESS WHO WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR THAT, GEORGIE? The government, in the form of childcare vouchers. I haven't even accounted for the fact that I probably wouldn't find a job straight away that could take me, and therefore I'd be on JSA for posibly months before anything came up. That's another £250 a month.

This is all ignoring that the initial assessment, administration, and paperwork required to remove my Disability Living Allowance in the FIRST PLACE will all cost money. George Osbourne is basically saying he wants to pay me more money so that I can be poorer and in lots more pain while someone else brings up my child two days a week. Rightio then. That makes a ton of sense.

Originally I was going to round up this post with a definitive number for you, but I don't have one. The peripheral costs, the ones that just cannot be accounted for, calculated, those are the ones that will really get out of hand if G.O succeeds in his plan of forcing me back to work by removing my DLA and 'encuraging' me to get a job. It seems fairly obvious to me that continuing my DLA payments is actually the most financially sound option for the government, so why isn't it obvious to those who are in charge and should actually know what they're doing?

"...and then my boobs will basically explode and I'll die."

That is why Mr A should just google shit when I tell him I'm sick, instead of asking 'What's that?'

I'm getting over a bout of mastitis. The anti-biotics did a number on me. I'm nauseated, have a dodgy tummy, and keep feeling very... I can't describe it. Wiggly. Like all the molecules in my body are doing the mexican wave. Or something. BUT. That's all ok, because my boob no longer feels like it's going to explode and I no longer feel lie I'm sitting in an ice bucket even though it's 30 degrees outside.

I'm feeling better these days, and worse. I'm a little depressed about this whole shake-up of the DLA. I know I shouldn't get involved. I shouldn't. But I feel I HAVE to. I feel like remaining ignorant to the issues isn't right. But when I open myself up to the truth of the situation, I feel like I'm drowning.

I'm drowning in the futility of the situation: The big bad government against a small rally of educated cripples.
I'm drowning in the bad press; hyperbolic, sensational stories of benefit cheats.
I'm drowning in the ignorance of the average person about what DLA actually IS, and who can claim it.
I'm drowning in the truth of what will happen if I lose my DLA award.
I'm drowning in the feeling of being worthless, scum, a scrounger, no good, a waster.


I'm in tears writing this. The worst part? The words of fellow disabled people. People who feel that their disability is more worthy than mine. People who campaign for ramps and toilets and better chairs, but who would happily consign me to being sent back to work or, more realistically, just being much much worse off.

I try so hard not to judge people. In the car park the other day a man driving a car with a blue-badge rushed into a parent-and-child parking space that Mr A and I had been patiently waiting for. When Mr A pointed out it was a P&C space, not a disabled bay, and that the disable bays were further down (closer to the store entrance, in fact) the man became belligerent and rude. We drove past an empty disabled bay just 10 parking spaces down. He hadn't even bothered to check for one before taking the last P&C space. We had to park at the back of the car park so as not to get boxed in, and I had to limp across the car park.
That man judged me and my family. He decided arbitrarily that his desire to not bother to look for a more suitable space and his right to park where he liked, outweighed my need to park in a P&C space (for those without children, P&C spaces are important, because getting a baby into a carseat when you can only open your doors a foot is dangerous and difficult. P&C spaces usually also have safer routes to the stores, so parents don't have to walk children through open roads where there are blind corners made by badly designed carparks. Sometimes they aren't even closer to the store. Just safer and wider than regular spaces) He decided that I didn't need that space as much as he needed to stop driving RIGHT THAT SECOND.
Now, had there NOT been a free disabled space, I would have been the first to tell Mr A to give the space to him. But the act is that he can park in the disabled space, we could not. He had two spaces to choose from. We had only one, and he chose to park in that one space.

This is all getting a bit garbled. There was a point..... in that, people like him would look at me and go 'Well the medical assesment will weed out people like her! Send them back to work!'

I'm going to write a seperate entry about this...I started writing it in one entry but this deserves it's own one.

Friday, 25 June 2010


It's been a tough few weeks. I've been over-stretching myself while simultaneously not getting anything really achieved.

It sounds stupid but my dental treatment is really stressful. The dental office is up a flight of stairs, which means that nt only do I actually physically have to climb the stairs, but it also presents the baby-problem. Firstly, there's getting to the place. It's a 5-10 minute walk, with no bus that goes there, so I have to walk. What does this have to do with stairs? Well, think about it for a second. I can either take her in the pushchair and then have to lug 12kgs of pushchair AND a baby up and down a flight of stairs, or I can not take the pushchair and carry the 20lb baby there and back. Neither of these options is actually any good. I can't really physically do either of them without doing myself damage. Forgoing the pushchair is the easier option, because I can take her in a sling, but that presents the problem that once she's in the dentists office and I'm in the dentists chair....what the fuck am I supposed to do with her? For my last appointment her godmother came with me, but I cannot and will not ask that of her again (except for when I go into hospital to have my wisdom tooth removed) I hate being in debt to people, I hate asking for favours, it humiliates me. The dental room is too small for her to be in there with me, so assuming I get there in one piece and get up the stairs in one piece, we then have the issue of who looks after the baby.

Are you starting to see why I'm extremely fucking stressed about this?

Yesterday I had a really great day out with a couple of friends, but the need to pretend that everything was great and I was fine and normal and wonderful meant that I massively over-excerted myself. Then we had a huge problem that took a couple of hours to sort of on the phone and that caused a lot of stress. Because we'd had a big day and then a stressful night we didn't end up having dinner, just a small snack. So today I woke up exhausted, in a lot of pain, with stress-whiplash, and the niggling guilt of having things that desperately needed to be done but hadn't been. I was also starving. But because I was out all of yesterday and out of spoons when I got home, there were NO clean dishes. At all. And no clean pots or pans or cooking implements or anything. The fridge was full, but not of grabbable, immediate-to-eat food. It taunted me with ingredients! They were all 'Ooooh, look at me, I'm a lettuce. If you took me out and chopped me up and added those tomatoes over there? You could totally have a really crappy salad. But you can't do that, CAN YOU? HA! YOU LOSE!'
Guys, it's a bad day when you're being taunted by lettuce. Lettuce is pretty much the wimp of the vegetable world. If you suck worse than the suckiest vegetable, then you suck a LOT.

I ended up having a can of coke, just so I would have the energy to grab a few sticks of celery and a jar of peanut butter. I wiped down the cleaniest of the dirty plates and after being up over an hour and a half finally had the oomph to eat something.

I'm in a guilt-spiral right now. A friend is very ill, and I bought her a present and meant to send it off a while ago, but didn't. The more time that goes by between when I MEANT to send it and the present, the worse I feel, and the less I can physically look at it. It is not all my fault, as I said it's been a tiring few weeks and honestly, I'm beyond exhausted. All the time. The 50 minute round trip to the post office (including standing around for 25 minutes in the que while A.B screams at me and my hips freak out) is something that I dread and that I've put off on thebasis that I can't push myself any more than I absolutely positively HAVE TO. And who always loses? My friends. My friends lose. And then I'm so ashamed of myself that I step back from them and then you know who loses? Me. And then I'm miserable and grumpy and guilty and who loses then? A.B and Mr A. So now EVERYONE HAS LOST. Awesome.

I also just got an e-mail from Mr A's aunt, inviting me to the theatre in a week. I could cry. I like this woman a lot, and I haven't been out by myself (as in, without Mr A) to an evening thing for over two years. I would love to go but I can't, because Baby A.B won't take milk from a bottle. And no one understand this. No one seems to understand that I can't 'just' leave her to starve. People don't understand why we don't 'just' get her on bottles. They act like the answers are so easy but they don't know her and don't understand what we've been through trying to get milk into her. They don't understand what it's like listening to your baby scream and cry and knowing that you can fix it. They don't know how hard it is to 'just' ignore that. And I get so tired of trying to explain why I can't 'just' leave her to people who don't understand why I bother to breastfeed in the first place, why I bother to breastfeed for 'so long', and why I care SO MUCH about breastfeeding her. They always feel like they need to offer me advice I don't want or ask for. Really, she won't starve to death? You don't say! Fuck off, even if she doesn't starve doesn't mean she'll be ok. There is a lot of bad stuff between being happy and starving to death. Bad stuff that I don't necessarily feel like inflicting on my baby.

See, I'm getting all defensive and angry and upset and.... I don't know. I'm stressed. I may have mentioned that.

I'm going to go drown my sorrows in some strawberry and mango tea.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Dentists do the funniest things

I had a dentists appointment today. I was scared. I hadn't been to a dentist in about 3 years, when I had two root canals and had an entire tooth rebuilt from scratch. When I was pregnant, my wisdom teeth started growing in, and caused a HUGE amount of pain, but because I knew they couldn't do anything (because I was pregnant) I didn't bother to have them seen to. The pain went away, I assumed all was well.
It wasn't. From then until now, every few months the pain flared up and I spent a week or so crying and clutching my head.
I also, in the course of my labour, chipped the tooth I'd had rebuilt at a cost of £350. Not. A. Happy. Bunny.

So after 11 months of faffing and procrastinating and avoiding, I went to the dentist. It's worse than I thought. My left wisdom tooth is growing in sideways. Not at a slight angle. Not a bit wonky. Actually almost fully sideways. This image gives you a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about. So I have to go to hospital and have it removed, probably under general anaesthetic. The waiting list is about a month long, so I'm not even sure when it's going to happen. I'm asking A.B's godmother to help me out by babysitting on the day, but I'm pretty nervous. I'm not sure whether the drugs they give me will affect my breastmilk, how long it'll take, how much pain I'll be's all very worrying for someone who likes to know what's happening and doesn't like uncertainty.

I also have to have the chipped tooth capped. They're doing a silver cap, because I get free treatment, which I am SERIOUSLY unhappy about, since I paid fucking £350 3 years ago to have the tooth replaced in WHITE. Now I'm going to have a horrible ugly silver thing in my face. You couldn't even tell it wasn't my real tooth before. But we don't have the money to get it fixed 'properly'. Aaaaaahhh. I am SO glad that I get free tretment, please don't misunderstand. I am more angry that the previous dentist charged me so much money for something that didn't last.

I'm watching random snippets of Stephen Fry on Youtube. He makes me happy in my pants.

Monday, 14 June 2010


It's 'funny' how the less I weigh, the less I want to eat. I just don't see the point anymore. I never gain weight, it never gets better, nothing ever helps. My BMI hasn't been above 15 for months. I've been struggling for months and months to get it up and nothing ever works.

I'm just so tired of fighting this and never getting anywhere.

Ganked from BendyGirl

Friday, 11 June 2010

Birthdays suck

So, I turned 22 on Sunday, and it sucked. I won't go into detail, because a LOT of stuff happened, but it was just a horrible day in general and involved a big falling out with Mr A's family. I spent about an hour solid just sobbing in a way I haven't done for years. Needless to say, it failed in every aspect as a birthday. We're trying again on July 6th, hoping 22 v2 goes better.

Today we also got a letter from the council. The council ALWAYS send their damn letters so they arrive on a FRIDAY so you can't fucking do anything about them. We had applied for housing assistance (yes yes, I'm a horrible benefit-scrounging loser, I know, but please bear in mind that we are roughly £1000 a month below the poverty line [the poverty line here being less than 60% of the median UK income after housing costs have been paid] so I'm sorry, but we do need government assistance. And if you disagree you can come and live in my house with my budget for a year without any. Then we'll talk.) and when Mr A handed in the forms, the woman insisted on putting down that we were applying for Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits at the same time, even though we weren't, she said we HAD to. So today we got a letter through saying that they would not assess our claim until they had seen documentation of what we were awarded in WTC and CTC. Guys, we havent even received those forms yet. They need to be sent to you, apparently, and we havent got them yet. We then have to SHOW the Housing people our filled-out forms AND show them the letter detailing what we've been awarded. We won't have the forms until next week at the earliest and we won't hear back from then for at least two weeks, add another week to sort things out with housing and two weeks for them to make a decision, and we won't be getting our back-payment and our payments for over a month, at the earliest.
On top of this, theres a box on the form asking why you haven't filled it in any sooner, and we put that Mr A is working full-time and when he's not, he's looking after me and helping me look after Baby A.B. When Mr A took the form in the woman was SO snotty about it, saying why hadn't I bothered to come down, and what was so wrong with me that I couldn't get out the house. I should point out that the form clearly states I am in receipt of the FULL amount of Disability Living Allowance. Nothing on this form should have led her to think I sit on my arse all day thinking of essential tasks I can shirk. Along with the letter above, we get a letter saying that we have to provide PROOF that I have been ill in the time-period we're talking about, which means supplying a fucking note from my GP. Er, except, my GP doesn't KNOW about my PND. You know why? BECAUSE I AM NOT OBLIGATED TO REPORT ON MY HEALTH TO MY GP. If I want to keep that shit secret, I'm ALLOWED. I am so ANGRY. It was clearly stated on the form that I have post-natal depression, Mr A works full-time, leaving at 7 and getting back at 6:30, when is he supposed to be able to go there? And I'm angry too that I'm being ordered to produce proof of my depression when that isn't even relevant to our case, only to the time-line of when we handed the form in. I don't go to my GP for every sniffle, I was sick for 6 weeks earlier in the year, immobilised for weeks at a time and I didn't go to him then (mainly out of stubbornness and because their appointment booking system is ridiculous) so why would I go to him with something so personal and difficult?
Yes I know I shouldn't be bitching about all my free money....I'm not really, I'm just upset about all the rudeness we get from them and all the red tape and things that stand in our way just to get help. You have to fill out a 50 page form and then supply 600 bits of paper and then get grilled by a super-rude bitch and then 10 days later get told 'Oh well thats not enough'. They want you to give up before they have to give you anything. Why can't they just be nice? Like asking for help isn't daunting and demoralising enough, they need to beat you around and make you jump through hoops and feel like shit on their shoes. It's so unnecessary.

What else sucks? Well... one of our pet rats died this week. The other won't be around much longer. I have a dentist appointment for Tuesday which is scary and I-want-to-avoid-y. The company delivering my replacement credit card (part of the Birthday Of Suckiness, my e-bay/paypal/email account got hacked into on my birthday so I had to cancel all my cards) has my address SO wrong it's baffling that the letter even arrived to tell us they couldnt find our house.

Right, I'm off to go watch Secret Life of The American Teenager and pretend my life is awesome.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

It's a bad sign when.. google yourself to see what people you're getting into fights with online who know your full real name will find if THEY google you.

Guys, that should NEVER be a concern.

What do people find when they google me? Oh god. Well mostly, random listings websites that don't really do anything other than list my name. But also, a link to my poetry on a writing website (I tried to erase that link but it didn't work. Damnit! It's *very* incriminating.), pictures of me on my wedding day, my goodreads account (not terribly incriminating, that) and a bunch of dud links to my facebook account (which is so private that even if you click on them and search, knowing my full name, you get nada)

Once again I am kind of floored by the internet and the scary scary things on it. I'm also now stuck in the whole cycle of clicking through the profiles of people I used to know, to be friends with...getting sucked into that vortex of pain is NOT goodtimes.

But hey, at least if the people I'm in a dispute with see my crazy 16-yr-old poetry, they'll back the fuck off and leave me alone because they'll assume I'm certifiably insane.