I am a 47 year old man, living on the south coast. I worked hard all my life, up until 10 tears ago.
In 2000 I had a bout of Bronchitis. This got worse and turned into full blown terrible pneumonia. I was coughing terribly, and feeling simply terrible.
I was totally shattered, I couldn't even walk 10 yards from my bed to the loo.
I was sent for a chest x-ray, and I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. I was still coughing very badly.
I keep referring to coughing for a reason, and that reason being, during my TB I cracked several ribs from coughing. It was just unbearable pain, I was in tears for weeks on end, and could see no help.
The ribs couldn't mend properly due to the constant coughing from the TB and pneumonia, and they just got more and more painful. I went through a nasty drug therapy to combat my TB, and thankfully after about 6 months I started to get a little better.
However, I was still coughing, and was still suffering excruciating pain in the right intercostal ( Rib) area. I spent several months being given Epidurals to help combat the pain. I was also on a lot of morphine patches and lozenges.
After several months the Pain clinic consultant offered me the chance to simply undergo a procedure which would in effect burn the nerve endings and stop them from sending the pain signals back to my brain. This was a great option, and I grabbed it.
Unfortunately 1/2 way through the procedure the Surgeon pierced my lung, badly, causing a huge pneumo thorax. I was immediately sent to a different hospital, where they did some procedures and then drained/blew my lung back up. It took several weeks for my breathing to get a little better, and the pain in the ribs was even worse than ever.
So, the surgeon refused to do any further work on my pain, basically telling me I was to live with this pain all my life.
I fell into deep depression, wanted to kill myself, I simply couldn't bear living, I had no hope. I was blessed with some very good friends and my best friend, a learning disabled lady called Mandy , who I share a apartment with (No sexual love relationship, simply a symbioses of 2 people who get along and understand each other problems). Without Mandy and various benefits I would be dead, simple.
Then last year I nearly died again, I got double pneumonia in both lungs, and spent a month in hospital, 1 week in very dire straights and near death. I was then diagnosed with Pleurisy, which for me is very very regular, not weekly, almost daily I get severe pleuritic pain. I live in pain. I have been terribly unhappy, only for my friends to support me, and love me, and my benefits to help me not suffer from debt or worry.
My breathing is now totally ruined, I cant walk 10 yards, I have oxygen in the house. My car is the only bit of joy I have left, and Im going to lose this due to callous money saving people.
I was told to apply for various benefits. Incapacity benefit, Disabled Living Allowance, and Disabled mobility High rate. I didn't think I was disabled, I didn't want to beg, but more people told me I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk properly, Cant breath properly, I relied on Mandy to do every menial task, was in constant pain, on morphine liquid, chronically tired all day long.
I was / am slow release tablet, and slow release powders. Due to my mental state I am also on 2 forms of anti depressant, Amytriptaline and Fluoxitine.
I had so many bills, so much stuff I simply couldn't do, I couldn't afford to live, so was very very pleased to be told that I qualified for all 3 benefits.
It was a huge weight off my shoulders. My mental state started to improve, I felt more able to get out of bed for an hour a day, I slowly started to feel life was worth living. Then I found out I was eligible for the Motabilty scheme, and could get a mobility car. I applied, and got my little car, and this enabled me to go out for a short drive once a week, and to drive Mandy to the supermarket to buy our 2 sets of food. It was brilliant, I was slowly felling more like living.
This was 3 years ago, and after several scarey interviews where I faced losing my car or my benefits, to be told to stop worrying, I was in no danger of losing any of these safety nets.
Now Im told I will lose them all due to this PiP scheme.
I rely on my Doctor to be up to date with my illness , which is hard, as I never see my GP, I am on medication advised from specialist, I only see GP to titrate my medication and raise it a little. Also, nowadays, they wouldn't be certain of getting my on GP, even a locum could get the illness question from the DSS, and totally stop all my life again. I dont see specialist unless I have a bad period, Im NEVER going to be well again, ever.
I have COPD, with Constant pain from my ribs, along with Pleurisy
I have been told this will not ease, it can only get worse.
This PiP is crazy. I am ill for life, I am severely disabled, and in constant pain, and rely on my benefits.
But now Im told I have to rely on a face to face interview with NON Medical people. And the chance that a locum has written 'Have not seen Mr Clark for 6 mths, assume he is better now." OH Yes that does happen believe me!!!
I have started to regress again, my few friends have told me not to worry, but I see on the news every day real disabled people get their money stopped,whilst scammers and con men keep theirs. I full understand why these changes, but surely not to mentally punish legitimate claimants.
I don't beg, I don't expect free money, but I worked hard for 25 years, and paid my taxes. I don't look disabled, until you ask me to walk 10 yards. I rely on my support, mentally, physically and totally.
To be told I will lose the car at least for certain, and probably get put on jobseekers which I will lose after 6 months as I cant get out of my bed. I simply cant work, I want to I loved my work, I loved people, but now , due to my illnesses and medication, I am simply not able to even get out of the door. I know what this officialdom will do, and it will ruin my life.
Please, please, consider peoples minds, and their mental health, along with their ability to live a sensible way of life without worry and stress.
Realize that people like myself simply cannot get to an interview 30 miles away up a steep hill (Brighton being my nearest Non Medical reviewers) If I dont attend, I get stopped, I cant win here can I. Rely on GP who I dont see for 12 months, for my life.
Realize we wont get better, regardless how many times you make us jump through differing hoops, and realize how much pain and suffering lal this worry is having on people such as myself.
I dread the postman every day, delivering me a letter telling me my GP has been contacted and my benefits have all been stopped. Dreading that letter telling me DLA and Mobility allowance has been stopped, I must hand in my car and wait 6 months for a appeal.