A year ago today I got my wheelchair! I was almost completely bedridden at the time. Walking just a few steps every hour or two just to keep circulation and muscles alive was a chore.
As a family we were house-sitting in the Lake District at the time. It was a long term arrangement, so was kind of our home away from home, but I had been confined to an upstairs bedroom and was unable to get out to see the countryside around me.
I would enjoy, for a few minutes, watching the birds at the feeders outside my window and the gorgeous orchids that adorned every windowsill. Although it was a freezing cold winter, I longed to go out and explore.
Sandwiched between 2 hot water bottles, under layers of clothes and blankets, medicated - multiple times, in the dark with sunglasses on, my phone's screen dimmed and the blue light filter on so that I can bear looking at it for a few minutes at a time.
This was me yesterday after I had a nap on the sofa where I toppled over after lunch, in a bundle of pain and tears as the previous night's insomnia caught up with me and my body was flooded with pain in every muscle and every bone.
On this day last year something very wrong and so unfair came to my attention: People with disabilities, who are deemed unfit for work by doctors and occupational health assessors, are being denied benefits because of their Internet activity. They’re being stalked, not only online, but in real life too!
In this post I will elaborate on some of my thoughts I’d shared online at the time. My heart goes out to anybody who has suffered unnecessarily due to such corruption in the benefits systems, not only here in the UK, but abroad too. I have spent some time in various international support groups online over the years since the onset of my ME/CFS and was shocked to read about people’s experiences of surveillance through windows and being followed.
This means that if the chronically ill applicant dares venture out and is spotted, it could seriously affect their applications for benefits. This is simply wrong on so many levels.
Does this mean that since we are unable to work due to illness, we also no longer have the right to live? No longer have the right to enjoy a rare occasion out or join social media so we can connect with the outside world without the negative consequences of going out and exerting too much? Despite the discomfort and pain we will endure during and after the activity anyway.Continue reading
I was lying in the bath relaxing last night when I felt the shakes coming on... This is what I get for walking to the bathroom and getting undressed. I started feeling a bit of the internal tremors at this point, I imagined it might come to the shakes, and then as I lay in the tub to rest, before washing, they suddenly started up. (see the video clip below)
This is just the start, it then takes over my whole body and that's when holding my phone, or anything else for that matter, becomes very hard.
As anybody with ME/CFS and their carers will know, many doctors and health care practitioners still treat ME as a psychological disorder, when in fact it has been proven to be physiological. Patients have been dismissed for decades, disbelieved, misunderstood and symptoms ignored.
The current treatment recommended for ME/CFS patients is CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, a type of psychologically based talk therapy) and GET (Graded Exercise Therapy, a controlled exercise program). This came about due to findings that came out of the PACE Trial which has been reviewed recently and found to be based on flawed principles. The whole trial was unscientific and skewed, not at all a sound basis for deciding how to treat ME/CFS.