Disability Living Allowance – Biting the Bullet

I have avoided applying for Disability Living Allowance for a while, despite many people saying that as my lumbar disc problem is so debilitating I should do it. There are a few reasons – I have felt a lot like a fraud, as although a lot of the time I am in so much pain I can’t function, I also have lots of days where I can. There are people in a worse position than me. I have also felt I would probably not get it, as so many people worse than me struggle to be awarded it. I have been aware of the negative press that people who receive benefits get, and know some people around me who might scorn at me claiming financial help from the government they might not perceive I need, as well, I have a job don’t I? The form is long and I have been worried I will get it wrong, not be taken seriously, and now, with the new changes next year wondered if it was even worth it, I am nervous about having a medical, as it will typically be on a day I can walk fine. The biggest deterrent for me has probably been, if I am honest, the continued refusal to accept this as a disability, and continued thinking it will go away soon.

But, it is clear now that it won’t go away, certainly not any time soon. It is clear that I am entitled to it, that I need it now and that I may actually be awarded something. Financially we manage ok. We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, we have no savings, but we can survive on our income ok. However, my disability has started incurring financial costs, and there are many things that we can do/get paid for that would make our lives so much less of a struggle when I am debilitated like I am right now. And if we actually have to face the worst case scenario, my husband’s job could be at risk if he continues having to take time off work to care for and the children. Oddly, his employment is more at risk than mine right now.

So, how will Disability Living Allowance help me? It will pay for a cleaner to come in twice a week when I am unable to do anything, such as this week, when R is at work.  It will pay for take-aways or meals in a cafe, which I did on Tuesday as I could not cook or clean up afterwards, and for the children’s school meals when there is no time for R to make packed lunches and I can’t do it. It will pay for taxi’s to do the school run when R works and I can’t drive and for after-school club costs when I can’t collect them. It will pay for our laundry when I cannot use the washing machine. It will pay for some additional therapy for me such as the Alexander Technique, Bowen Therapy. Apart from these last two ‘luxuries’ we are now having to do, or should be doing all of those other things as well as paying for my gym membership which I have to keep going to keep moving in the swimming pool (some people might see that as luxury, but without out, I would probably not be walking at all now). I could actually also do with putting a handrail up the stairs and a chair/rail in the bath (can you buy tasteful ones?!) It is taking it’s toll financially now, not hugely, but enough to notice.

I had a good chat with the School Liaison Officer yesterday about Bella, my fears of how this affects her, what support is, or could be available and she talked at length with me about applying for DLA. She said I absolutely must apply and that I must not talk about how I am on good days, but put my worst days down. I said I would be happy with just the basic level and she thinks I might actually get a higher level than that because on my bad days I can’t even get to the toilet on my own, and that this is a real disability, and this is now really seriously impacting on our lives, to the point it is now affecting R’s job.

I really don’t know what I’ll be entitled to, if anything – care element? mobility element? who knows, but, what I do know now, is, I have to give it a try, as it is there to help people who are feeling the financial burden of disability.If anyone has any advice on how to complete the form, please let me know! key words to use, things to remember to include, what is not important, and any websites that can guide me, that would be so gratefully appreciated.

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I had an amazing Center Parcs Winter Wonderland Holiday last week with my family. It was just what I needed. I went down slides, ignoring the ‘do not go down this very fast slide if you have back problems’ signs, I rode a bike, I walked, I skipped, I felt better than I have for a Very Long Time. We ate lots of food, drank only a little wine (have gone right off it, oddly) sat in front of a wonderful open fire. The weather was freezing, producing a lovely glistening coating of frost over everything – very magical. We swam outside in the dark and fed ducks bread in the mornings on our patio.

I returned relaxed, walking normally, and everyone has commented at work how much better I look, how freely I am walking. I have been smiling, beaming ‘yes, I just needed to let go, I needed to stop worrying and just enjoy life!’.

So, with my upward positive attitude in tact, I headed off for a swim last night, and did 20 lengths, followed by the spa and a quick turn in the sauna. Brilliant, felt great.

At lunch time today I left work due to increasing back pain, and  the now regular flu like feeling that I get when my back is about to ‘go’. My boss agreed to get home and take meds to avert any major disaster.

I am now in bed, unable to stand straight. I just know that as soon as I stand straight, the searing pain will go through my back and legs and my back will, once again, be fucked. Excuse my language but that is the best word I can find to describe it right now. I now know the signs, and the tight deep pain along with the flu symptoms (my blood hurts) which seem to start in my back means only one thing.

I took my normal dose of 100mg slow release tramadol this morning but I don’t want to take another Tramadol through the night as I will be wired and won’t sleep so I have taken the dreaded 60mg Co-Codemol. Shame I have no diazepam left, which is what I ideally should take to stop the muscle spams in their tracks before they start.

Only yesterday I was skipping into work. I only had to do tomorrow before christmas leave, I am not sure I can make it to work for that final day

is this ever going to end? But on a good note, I have gone almost 6 weeks without a proper relapse, which is a good amount of time.

Wine Can’t Cure Back Pain…The Beginning

Wine Can’t Cure Back Pain…The Beginning


I have a Bad Back. I talk about it pretty much all the time, to pretty much anyone who will listen. I have been known to send people (my husband) to sleep with my wittering. Over the last 9 months I have been on, and I am still on, the biggest learning journey since parenthood. It seems like a good idea to rant and moan, share my pain and my fears, my difficulties with managing the children, my breakthroughs and my relapses, my learning and my ideas, my battle through the medical system, my success and my failure with medication in a Blog rather than (or, let’s be honest, as well as) with the family, friends, work colleagues and people at the bus stop who are quite clearly Fed Up of it now.

So, I have gone For It and I am excited, and nervous. I am chucking myself completely into the unknown. It is not the same as writing for others. Yes I talk a lot, mostly bollocks. And I write a lot, much of the same. What if I am Bad at It? What if no-one reads it? Worse, what if people read it and laugh? But, then I remind myself that I actually have a lot to say about back pain. Maybe people will read it. Maybe they  won’t even laugh. Maybe I can Do It.’.

But the instant I made the decision I stumbled upon the first hurdle, the first problem which almost made me shut the computer in a huff and give up. My blogname. I couldn’t think of a catchy one. I knew what I wanted, but the words were not there. Not A Good Start, Writers Block before I have even written a sentence.

 I wanted humorous, ironic maybe, not clinical and matter of fact, something that people who read this will find easily, will find funny, will understand and connect with. I knew it. I just couldn’t remember it (I will blame the meds). I spent an entire day lying down (I won’t tell the physio that) thinking, drinking coffee, watching daytime tv for inspiration. I even asked ‘the witches’ online to help me chose a name. And just when I thought it was not going to happen and contemplated drowning my sorrows in red wine and tramadol, I had an image of me propping myself up against a kitchen breakfast bar in a rented cottage one christmas, unable to sit or stand, after days of pain, and recalled some-one refilling my tightly clutched wine glass and saying to me ‘wine does not cure back pain, but it does help!’ and there it was. Right there, where it was the whole time. My blogname.

This is the start of something, I am not sure where it will go. If you have back pain and children, or just back pain, share my journey. Come back and visit me. I will try not to bore you.