When do you think is acceptable to ask for help and could you have carried on your job if it wasnt physically demanding?

After reading some replies on here i just want to see what others think.

I started working in my school holidays and evenings and weekends at 9 years old loading turf on lorries.

at 16 i started in civil engineering as a kerb and drain layer which i did until i reached 52 and had my first serious infection and hospital stay Which was 2 years ago. Since then i have had many infections and bad times and have lived off my wifes earnings.

What i am trying to get at is this. ome people say they worked until they got to the low 20s on theire fev% readings But was the job they did physically demanding or not?

Bearing in mind some of the new drainage systems are 30 feet underground and do not have mechanical lifts for the workers only ladders to climb is it acceptable to expect me to look for work when this is all i am qualified in?

I have applied for shelf stacking jobs just to keep active but they tell me this is physically demanding especially when lifting full cases of beans etc so is not for me!

I am willing to train as an ATOS claims assessor but they told me i am over qualified.

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23 Replies

  • You don't have to justify yourself on here, sambob. Each of us is completely different, some working to 23/24% lung capacity and others not being able to and having to give up work much earlier. Your FEV1 is not the only thing that matters. Some use oxygen quite early on, others never will. Some hardly desaturate at all and some desaturate markedly. Of those that desaturate some recover quickly and for others it is a much longer process. Some have repeat infections and some rarely get the bug. Some of us were very fit in our pre-lung disease life and others were couch potatoes. Some have other, quite serious, issues alongside their lung disease. There really is no way to compare us, one against the other. Nobody can judge another without walking a mile in their shoes (and some of us could not walk that mile under any circumstances!). We will each do as we can. xxx

  • Don't beat yourself up about these ill informed comments made by some Sambob. Only you can make that judgement on whether you should work or not. My FEV1 is 66% and I certainly couldn't hold down a 9 to 5 especially through the winter months. There are other measurements that show how efficiently you transfer oxygen to the blood and carbon dioxide out of the blood (TLCO), this is where my problem lies as mine is only 33% so FEV1 only shows a small part of the overall picture.

    When I asked my consultant if ATOS would try to force me back to work he laughed and said 'what you honestly think they would try and make you work while being ill enough to need a lung transplant'.

    You like me sambob have worked hard over the years so don't feel guilty about claiming benefits, its only bad luck that you find yourself in the situation your in and it could happen to anyone at anytime. Believe me I know as I am now disabled at the age of 54 and certainly didn't see it coming as I was a fit person 4 years ago.

    I agree with Toci that the fools who feel fit to judge others should only do so if they have walked in their shoes beforehand but they probably wouldn't have the guts to try. :) .Forget them sambob and get out to enjoy the brilliant sunshine were having today


  • I agree with Toci. I DO work but only part time. My GP a couple of years ago suggested I was signed off permanently but in MY case it is good for my mental health to continue to work. I have chronic depression as well as COPD. Most days I struggle to get through. I am not just in an office but even on days where I am in the office, moving about to photocopiers etc is difficult. Although work colleagues would not have a clue how much I struggle day to day. It sounds like the job you were doing was not suitable for you. Possibly a different type of job MIGHT be viable but only you know and also securing that job (in this day and age) will be difficult!

    When I was 40yrs I told occupational health that I wanted to keep working until I am at least 50 yrs. They fell about laughing and said no way I am too unwell! That was 5 yrs ago and am half way there!!

  • Toci puts it very well Bob, we are all completely different, even from day to day. Yesterday my SATS stood at 98, a figure not seen for years. Today they are at their more usual 92. Why the difference? I haven't a clue.

    My FEV1 is 30% and there is no chance of me doing a day's work. Others still manage to work with figures as low as 22/25%. Life is a mystery, just enjoy it as much as you can.


  • Hello my names jackie i have had copd for 5years i lost my job in march due to medical capabilty up until then i worked a 40hr wk doing 12 hr night shifts im finding it realy hard not working but nobody wants to employe me im 52 and feel like im on the scrap heap i have got esa but i am waiting for the dreaded assessment to see what group im in i realy just wanted a moan and to say hello and a big thank you for being there x

  • Hello, Jackie, and welcome. x

  • Hello toci thanks for ur welcome x

  • Sorry if ive put this in the wrong place didnt mean to jump on somone elses post

  • Welcome Jackie - please don't worry - sambob's post obviously rang bells with you and your situation. By the way hun you are not on the scrap heap - we are not the Daily Mail!

    Good luck with your assessment.

    love cx

  • Lol thank you cofdrop x

  • Hi sambob, it is acceptable to ask for help when you feel you need it, and I agree with you that higher physical demand jobs often result in earlier retirement for health. Whether you can continue in your normal employment is very much a decision you must make based on how you feel and if you can cope however in practice many employers make the decision on your capability based on absence from work, if that makes sense. Understand what you are saying, a lighter job is maybe the best for you but how do you convince someone you are capable of doing a job different to the one you are qualified for, it's not easy to find a new job in your 50s. But you should not be made to feel guilty about claiming benefit or being unemployed because of your health. As many would say enjoy each day and what will be will be.

  • job in a call centre enough calling selling stuff are sitting on their a**e all day

  • Hey Whinger I used to work in a contact centre. We might sit on our a..e all day but it is b....... hard work even so. Being mentally on the go is just as hard as the physical work! Trust me.

  • Not to mention the constant talking. When very breathless talking is exhausting and gasping for breath at the end of every sentence is not going to make you a very efficient call centre worker.

  • Anytime is acceptable to ask for help

    even phone the helpline they are wonderful

  • Hi Sambob - replied to you hun about the same time as I replied to Jackie - it was nice (honest) but it has vanished - I probably didn't press the reply button and give enough time.

    You can't compare your condition with another person - we are all different. As stated by Toci, dall and others FEV1 alone is not the deal breaker. You are a proud man who has been used to doing heavy work and it must be a very difficult time for you.

    Whatever you decide to do I wish you well.

    love cx

  • Hi sambob I agree with everybody else on this you have been given some brilliant advice,as for the minority unwanted posts they do get under your skin and can defo upset us,but they are the minority the majority of us are likeminded helpful supportive souls all doing our best to get through and help anyone we can on our way. :)

    As for when is it time to ask for help etc ,again we are all different with so many variables you cant possibly compare.The numbers are just that numbers,to some they are important to know to others not so much but again that doesnt mean that everyone who has a fev1 30% will be the same cos they wont.You know how you are and are the very best judge as to what you can and cant do at the end of the day.We are your friends and will support you sambob whatever the weather is so to speak .The job you did do sounds physically knackering and I doubt very much anyone with severe lung disease would be able to continue to be sure :O Takecare try not to worry to much something will sort itself,one door closes another will open.Keepwell now :) Janexx

  • Sambob numbers mean nothing as many people on here have said. My Fev1 is 32.5% (love the .5 bit) I'm still working 6 hours 5 days a week and coping in the house, maybe the house is not as it used to be but I go to work because I feel if I stayed home I would stagnate and stop making an effort to be active. Ignore other people worry about what your body tells you and what is best for you. xx

  • Hi Sambob

    My hubby, like you has done a physically demanding job for most of his working life and before he became ill gratefully took redundancy in his early 50's because he was finding it harder to keep up the pace, he has done light work since then but after he became ill, his strength seems to have disappeared and he has bouts of fatique regularly so has had to give up work completely for now. Your health and wellbeing is the most important thing here ,don't worry about other peoples opinions, you know your own capabilities and what is best for you. Take care and keep well

  • It has to be a personal decision Sambob - you know what you are capable of. This is certainly one of those illnesses that affects everyone differently. I absolutely agree with others - ask for help when you need it. Over-doing it will only make you ill, take good care of yourself. TAD xx

  • You may not be aware but most large companies have to have a certain percentage of disabled on their payroll. If you are looking for supermarket type work, try tills or dot com picking, that sort of thing. Dot com picking doesn't require as much walking as you may think but you do at least have a trolley to lean on when you are struggling. Also make an appointment with your disability officer at the job centre. Once you start a job, they will keep and eye on you and can make massive changes to your working enviroment. My friend went as a cleaner and found it hard work lugging an industrial vacuum cleaner up one flight of stairs. Their answer was we will put a lift in for you. My mate said why not just get another vacuum cleaner that I can leave upstairs.

  • i have to agree with all of the above i am a cleaner in a private school who have boarders, and i cleaned classrooms and then houses where they slept and i was up and down stairs that was for 6 hrs with half and hour break and i found it exhausting and i was so tired i would be driving back with my eyes drooping so talked with hubby and still clean with the school but went down to 3hrs a day mind you i now start at 5.30am but i can have a rest during the day and still have a life, so only you know what is right for your good luck marian xx

  • Thanks everybody especially cornishbrian! The bit about the vacuum for upstairs made me laugh. Although to me that was logical thinking.

    Vacuum £90

    new lift £3000

    Loved it.

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