Atos medical on Saturday :-(

I know its something everyone goes through but I am getting myself so worked up about my medical on Saturday. I cant sleep and can feel the panic building up.

I was awarded 0 points at my last medical and then ESA stopped, also refused DLA so this medical is part of my impending Tribunal. Its so important but most of all I feel as though it justifies that I am telling the truth and am struggling daily with the pain and lack of mobility amongst other things.

I have Fybro, CFS, Chronic Hyperventilation (not sure what that is but Im awaiting counseling) and IBS.

What should I take with me to the medical and please does anyone have any tips for me, calming ones or practical ones? I am so worried about this :-(

28 Replies

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  • Hi Helen, don't despair. You will win through, Be positive.

    I was fortunate that I was experiencing a major flairs when i had my medicals for SDA and DLA. They were many years ago but the first question I asked the Doctors were whether they believed in Fibromyalgia and how much knowledge they had of the condition. Both admitted they had to ask specialists for information and both also told me they had requested info from more than 1 source.

    I went armed with as much info as i could find (was not a lot then), and all the appointment cards, dates and letters. I kept a symptom diary listing when and how bad my pain, stiffness and fatigue were and what if anything my GP had done. I told them a lot of the info was written long after so please excuse any mistakes. I just wanted them to see the long term problems I had suffered with.

    I don't know what the medicals entail now, but the advice I was given before my first one was to impress on them that just because i can do something today doesn't mean I can do it tomorrow. That i couldn't make any plans for myself or my family because I never knew from one day to the next how I would be feeling.

    Most important of all I dropped my shield. We all walk around with the smile plastered on our faces no matter how bad we feel. Always protect ourselves from other people's censorship, because they don't know how bad it can be for us. With these doctors, they have to see the real 'US'. All the pain and despair we feel day in day out and if you feel like crying, then cry.

    Show your true self,

    I hope this will help you, remember your not alone..

    Soft Hugs xxxx

  • Just know that they observe u all the way in to see how you walk how you sit etc also how you are dressed use pull on clothes if possible do not us stairs if no lift refuse to go up because you can't take someone with u if you have a care plan take that and all copies if socialist letters tape the interview on your mobile and ask to see what they have written the may not show you but ask as the refusal when recorded is useful above all renewberries you are not a school child going to the head you breathe head and these people are lastbthats people be polite but firm and yes cry if u feel you want to good luck petal

  • hi helen just take as much info you have with you,they are watching as soon as in carpark,so just remb.no good days or bad days just pain &fb every day,dont use stairs,be aware how you sit,tell them if your in pain on the day,can you take someone with you?dont carry heavy bag,tell them you would love to be in the real world&work but FB stops this happening.i passed first one&6months later forms came again!just posted them,they dont care what stress it causes.&definate ask if they know about your conditions?if not try explain as best as you can,dont let them pull you around if your in pain,good luck,no one should have to go through this its disgusting!big big hugs xxx

  • Thanks you all :-) My mums going to come with me and I will deffo wear loose, pull on clothes...cant stand anything tight on me and I struggle with the buttons now.

    I am in the middle of a flair up at the moment, I think I'm getting myself so worked up I'm making my fybro worse! Im also at the rheumy physio on the Friday so I suppose its a good thing that after the Friday appointment I will be very painful anyway.

    I will take my specialist letters, the CAB has got the originals as they dealt with my appeal but can take the others.

    Fadedblossom...yes I do feel like Im going to the head teacher....its exactly that...as though I'm going to be in serious trouble for lying even though I have been completely honest. Does that make sense?

  • hi pet go to currys/pc world or some such outlet and get a USB recorder,they are as big as a cig lighter,and record your ATOS medical..they wont like it but by law you can ask for it to be recorded,but they make an excuse not to , that way you have a record of exactly what you said...good luck xxxx

  • Hi,

    I had my assessment just before Christmas, and I am waiting to hear the outcome. My doctor did more talking than I did, but at least he knew what fibro was, and the implications it had on peoples lives.

    My advice:

    Be yourself, however you are feeling - be that person, show that you are in pain, nervous, tearful or uncomfortable.

    Take someone with you family or friend, they may probably not be asked anything, but they are there to support you. My husband was asked several questions about me, and how he helped me to do things, and was able to talk about changes that he'd noticed.

    Take any additional or new information that you have.

    If there are aides fitted at home (shower seat, stair rails etc), take photos of them as evidence that they are there, and if necessary explain how they have benefitted you.

    Take a full medication list, and understand what each medicine you are taking is for for i.e why you're taking it, what it does for you, and how you felt before you started taking them and how they make you feel now.

    If you need to stand up, because you can't sit down any longer, do so and explain why you're having to do so.

    Listen to what is being asked or said, and if you disagree or don't understand, ask them to repeat or explain more of what they looking for, and also explain why you disagree.

    You don't have to accept what they say, fill in any gaps that you want them to take on board.

    If you're asked about looking after yourself, be honest - if you have problems dressing because of zips etc, explain how you have had to adapt, loose clothing, help with pulling things over your head and so on.

    But most importantly, tell them exactly how it really is on a day-to-day basis, including things that you are no longer able to do because of your pain, confidence, ability or safety. And even more important, how your illness HAS changed you future.

    Good luck

    Sharolina x

  • Hello Helen, if you email us on info@fibroaction.org we can email you for free the Benefits and Work info sheets on ESA and DLA. These contain useful information about completing forms, assessments, tribunals etc which you may find helpful.

    Wishing you all the very best for your assessment, there's some very good advice for you on this thread and some useful pointers.

    (((hug))) xxx

    Libs

  • Thanks LibertyZ I've had the forms emailed to me already...one of my biggest fybro hurdles (after the pain and the fog) is I have lost the ability to retain info...its so silly but I can read the benefits and work stuff and yet cant remember it. My gran had dementia and now I feel as though I understand it better.I tried reading through it again last night but seem to only be able to read a paragraph at a time.

    Before the fybro I had a good job and was at uni but now I cant even read my bills properly. I'm hoping to get the chance to explain all of that but because I 'sound' okay I think it gives people the impression that I 'am' okay.

    I have got a really good supporting letter from my rheumy physio and its spot on, she has backed me up really well. I cant get out any more as I have very little mobility and she has put all of that in the letter. im just hoping they take it on board. Its so hard letting someone decide your future in this way isnt it?

    I am still employed (but dont get sick pay) so in theory if I get turned down for ESA Im not eligible for jobseekers and therefore will have no money coming in to support my boys and I. I think that's the scariest thing...what next? i cant work as I cant get out and spend a lot of the day very woozy due to my tablets and the pain. I'd love to be back at work but its just not possible at the moment. I think thats the scary bit...what next?

  • The next step to being turned down is to appeal. It is a very difficult situation unfortunately that many of our members find themselves in.

    We will do all we can to help and support you along the way, I hope your claim is successful.

    Take care. (((hug))) xxx

    Libs

  • Thank you. So if I still get 0 points could this still get overturned at a tribunal? I have back up letters from my GP, specialist and physio?

    Thanks for your help, its silly but I find things easier to read like this rather than in a big long letter. Fybro has a habit of making you feel daft doesnt it?

  • As far as I understand it Helen you have the right to appeal whatever the decision regarding your claim. Keep all the documentation, note everything down that is relevant to your health, dates, work info etc.

    I completely agree that it's easier to read messages in the forum than a lengthy letter, I have the same problem as I am sure many of us do. All our concentrations are affected by Fibro. The print size in our forum helps make it all easier to read in my opinion and the clear lay out etc.

    Take care Helen. (((hug))) xxx

    Libs

  • For the record I often feel completely daft, I think it goes with the territory sometimes with having Fibromyalgia. My short term memory is terrible these days too. Admin have Fibro too and so do our Volunteers, so we all understand all the problems faced. xxxx

  • Its really nice to know its not just me (I didnt know if it was). Yes my concentration is shot...I leave the taps on, gas on and all sorts! It comes to something when the kids are walking round turning things off after you! lol!

    I'll let you all know how it goes

    xx

  • Bless you Helen, you are by no means alone! I lose track of how many times I go upstairs for something and by the time I have reached the top step my mind is a vacuum! So frustrating!

    Wishing you all the best! Hope to hear from you soon.

    xxx

  • lol! Thanks. Yes I can do so many things at once and in reality I spend all day achieving nothing! The kids come home and fix all my messes. Thank you xx

  • I can so relate to that too lol! :)

    My pleasure Helen xxx

  • GOOD LUCK XX

  • Good luck helen , we shouldnt have to go through any of this, I will be thinking of you x iam the same to cant remember things takes me longer to absorb everthing I actually thought I was loosing my mind , iam awaiting appeal , things shouldbe more staight forwardfor us living this is nightmare enough without facing these people to explain ourselves over again , good luck , will be thinking ofyou we are all here tc lots of love xxxx

  • Thank you all :-) We shouldn't have to worry about all of this should we? Well physio tomorrow and then the medical on Saturday....how typical I'm feeling a bit clearer headed today...for the first time ever I'm hoping it doesn't last long as I need them to see me as I normally am not having a rare good dayl! lol!

  • Good Luck! Mine's on Tuesday :(

  • Well I have got all of my paperwork together. Im not sure whether or not to take my specialist, doctors and physio letters as the only copies I have are the copies sent to me via the appeal tribunal (will that sway the medical into agreeing with the original outcome if they realise its an appeal??). I've got all my meds in a bag ready to take etc and am a nervous wreck.

    Had a bit of a disaster today though...now Ive not left the house since Xmas day, felt shocking and yet in typical form I woke up today and the fog had lifted...joints hurt but weren't agony, really good day (and I dont get many of those). I went to physio this morning with my mum but still felt okay so I took the car out this afternoon to go and collect something that been waiting weeks to be picked up. I havent driven since Xmas Eve and it was lovely to get out.....blooming typical as ATOS rung me while I was out to make sure I was attending tomorrow :-S

    I now feel like its a fail already as she had such a superior tone that she had had to phone me on my mobile as I was out :-( I'm just hoping I dont have a good day tomorrow so they can see me as I usually am (how bad's that as Im usually praying for a good day?)

  • Oh dear, Helen... always best to let it go through to voicemail until you are assessed but we don't think of these things when having a 'good' day. xxx

  • Well Ive been. The assessor was lovely, he talked mostly about my bad days, he read all of the supporting letters and took my info off them and just confirmed things with me as he was going along. He wrote down all my meds, asked how they made me feel and also what the pain clinic were going to do for me.

    He could see I was in a lot of pain (its a shame those good days don't last long really because I don't get many of them) and by the end of the assessment told me he wouldn't be asking me to do any of the physical tests as he had put me through enough.

    He told me to expect to hear back from DWP within 2-4 weeks. Not sure what it means but hopefully it went okay.

  • Hi helen01,

    I am so pleased for you, as it seems as tho' your assessment went well and I hope that you get a good outcome.

    Do you feel relieved now that you have been?

    Let us all know how you get on. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Enjoy your weekend now that ordeal is over.

    Love and hugs Saskia XX

  • I feel better now its over thanks (and thank you all for your positive words), I get so worked up about things and then end up not sleeping and then making myself worse. I had a good cry when I came home and feel shattered now. Hopefully I'll get some sleep tonight.

    Lets hope I get some positive news. Does anyone know.....if he wouldn't do the physical exam due to the pain it would cause me could I still get 0 points again? That's the bit I am scared of....more appealing, paperwork and fighting it :-S

  • Hi Helen,

    I don't know anything about these assessments and how the scoring works etc etc so I can't really help but I am sure there are some lovely people on this site who might be able to give you some insight.

    I can imagine how exhausted you were and the fact that you attended is a great achievement in itself so you should be proud of yourself. I, too, get extremely worked up about Dr's appts. and similar situations. In fact it doesn't take much to knock me off balance emotionally and that exacerbates the Fibromyalgia symptoms so it is a never ending vicious circle really.

    Try not to worry too much though. Wait until you get your letter and hopefully you'll get good news but, if not, then you will have to appeal. If you are like me you are probably already worrying about that but do try not to..... easier said than done, as I know well. I could worry for England and my mind goes round and round in circles.

    Still, for now, try to have a relaxing evening in the knowledge that you've done all you can for now. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Have you got a treat for yourself .. a bar of chocolate or a big piece of cake? That is what I would have with a cup of tea!

    Take care.

    Love and hugs Saskia. XX

  • Hi Helen , you sound just like me what with the memory of a hen, kids & mess & total exhaustion. I too am technically still employed but not working. I was told by my works doctor that they can't sack me as I have a disability & not long term sick. I am lucky in that I pay into a pension fund which has an insurance built in that pays me 2 thirds of my salary. I filled in the form for ESA when I was really down & sore. I filled in the form like I am typing this now. I told them the problems I was having with my hands & my fingers all bending in. I actually wrote on the form that my 12 year old daughter told me I was looking even more like a witch than I had been. I told them how my mood affected everyone around me. I didn't have to go for an interview as I was put into the support group.

    AS Saskia says a cup of tea & a big slice of cake or a big fresh cream meringue. Best medicine ever & friends like we have on here who listen & understand where you are coming from.

    Keep on going & don't get beat.

    Agnes (Tortie)

  • Hi,

    This will be a short comment, as I am having trouble sleeping, yet I am exausted.

    I listen to meditation tapes to keep calm. Also I found reading a book about FM symptoms helped me better describe my symptoms, and the impact FM has on me daily.

    I have been put on a work programme, but have not been contacted by the people who run it for months. Thanks to this site I feel more confident in challenging decisions. I was given 6 points in my last medical, I then worked on an appeal with the CAB, and my points were increased. Even if the examiner does not beileve you are ill, we do, and you are not alone.

    When you are being examined, remember there are a lot of people who understand your challenges, and who send you hugs. As you walk into the medical, immagine hundreds of other people with FM, are with you in spirit, supporting you. Cathy

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