What would you do?

creakybones
creakybones Member Posts: 31
Im a very new member and am glad I found this forum - very helpful. Briefly - I am 52 - have inflammatory bowel disease for which I have a bag - ive had over 30 ops in last 20 years. I have worked throughout but in recent years started to struggle - i reduced my hours but still struggle with bowel/bladder problems ( as a result of all the surgery) plus I get very very tired. Anyway 4 months ago I developed severe joint pains - they are putting it down to inflammatory arthritis - im on steroids and pain killers atm. I also have to try and find the courage to have a big surgery - i need my lower bowel removed plus a hysterectomy. So up against it at present. Ive been off for 2 months with the joint pain - my sick record is not very good but my emplyers are quite supportive. I am under OH who have suggested home working but bosses have not decided on this - dragging their feet. My GP and family want me to go down ill health route but reading another post in the section ( headed Tier 2) it seems its hard to get your pension on grounds of ill health. Does anyone know what sort of conditions would get you Tier 2 for example ( I work for local authority so I suppose its along similar lines to the NHS). I also get the impression once you decide to finish on ill health there are no guarantess you get your pension which would be financial suicide for me atm. Its very hard to make a decision with so much going on - do i have this big op ( increased risk of cancer if i dont have it). I dont feel well enough to go to work atm - this joint pain is awful - i cant move withour pain until mid afternoon - but do i stay off sick or push for the home working? I also read somewhere about 'capabilities' - I think that post was by Emily? What does this mean - can you be sacked for having apoor sick record even if you are covered by the Equalities Act ( formerly the Disability Discrimination Act?). I am so confused, I dont know what to do. If I thought I could have my pension I would probably finish as I know constantly pushing myself is having an adverse effect on my health. My sympathies goes out to all of you with arthritis - this is my first experience of joint problems and it is awful.
Thank you for any advice/opinions you can offer.
Xxx

Comments

  • lululu
    lululu Member Posts: 486
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There is so much info in your post creaky that I find it rather difficult to reply. I can only speak from my own very limited experience. I say limited because for me it was so easy , I put it off for so long that when I admited it it was just so obvious that I had to retire. My GP said he could make me feel a lot better, that was three years ago and I am still waiting for him. Any way on my first visit to OH they reccomended ill health retirement it was so obvious. So each case is individual. Maybe your first step should be to talk to HR to ask for an OH assessment and take it from there.
  • creakybones
    creakybones Member Posts: 31
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you lululu for your reply. Yes my post was a bit manic wasnt it - sorry about that - think its reflective of my general state of mind atm. I have seen OH several times but I think because of my other health problems - I have protection under the DDA and so I think they have to 'make all reasonable adjustments' to enable me to continue in work. They are very supportive but it has to be my decision at the end of the day. Maybe this is not the time to make such important decisions .
    Thanks for your resonse none the less.
  • fowls48
    fowls48 Member Posts: 1,357
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry i cannot help you but i do wish you well .



    karen xx
  • dibdab
    dibdab Member Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,
    Sorry I can't advise you, but I just wanted to say that my headteacher arranged an OH visit for me at home and they were really supportive- I'm not close to where you are yet so ill health retirement isn't an option, but they made a series of recommendations about reasonable adjustments that school have implemented which have helped a little in day to day terms.
    Hope things work out for you.

    Deb x
  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    Im heading down the ill health route at min
    Just got my paperwork through
    There are lots of factors to the ill health like the job you do, if there are any adjustments in place if so what they are
    Ive had all that done & still keep going off sick with my OA
    Even had a written warning a few years ago went to appeal and lost!
    If you want to pm me thats fine coz somethings i dont want to mention
    As Im sure big brother watches from their carpetland!
    Keep fighting
    Maria
  • Saphire
    Saphire Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there,
    I have only just joined this site today but in finding my way around I felt I just had to reply to your question. I am 53, I finally made the decision to apply for IHR last September, the process took until the beginning of March when I finally was retired. It was complicated because I lived in tied accommodation which went with my job. Just as you expressed in your thread I worried every which way as to if I was doing the right thing but in reality I could not have struggled on for much longer. My GP had been encouraging me to stop work for the previous six months before I took the step.
    Ten months on I am still awaiting to move home, this should be happening in the next three weeks. I had to accept that the property which I was buying for usual age retirement would have to be sold. I also had to accept that I would be living on a very minimal amount of money. With hindsight I have to say that it has been the best thing I could have done, the only thing I could have done. I now feel as though I am living, albeit a very restricted way of life rather than existing and surviving from one day to the next . I do hope that you reach the right decision for you.
    Saphire
  • creakybones
    creakybones Member Posts: 31
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your replies again.
    Its now 23 days since my first rather manic post! I have seen a rheumatologist and been given a steroid jab which has been amazing ( but temporary I know). I still feel very tired and am finding running the home enough but im sure we would all say that! I am probably going to be having major surgery in October ( hysterectomy plus part of my bowel out) so I have decided to go back to work until the surgery. I dont know if it is the right decision - I dont trust my judgement anymore on these things - i have had chronic ill health all my adult life ( chrons disease and gynae problems) so I dont know what its like to feel really well. I am worried that I wont know when the time is to say enough is enough. My employers are supportive but there are limits - my sick record is not good. The phone me every couple of weeks to ask if im better - how do you answer that?? Well no im not - nothing has changed - im rested having been off work for a while but better - no. If I said that then what would happen? It is a big decision isnt it. I am thinking of going back til my op and then goodness knows what will happen. To those of you who have made the decision - Maria, Saphire, Lululu - I wish you all the verybest and if there are tips you can give me I would be most grateful. These absence review meetings are torture partly because I dont really want to discuss my bowel problems with my male boss who I will see everyday if/when i return. Its embarrasing. I have been to occ health who were great - recommended i work from home during periods of flare up - i have no decision ( I saw occ health in Jan 12?? - no decision and in the meantime I have developed these joint pains). Oh well onwards and upwards - thanks again xx
  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Creakybones,
    Just checking up to see how you are doing any news?
    I hope your operations went well & not too painful
    Ive heard nothing about my ill health yet but hoping for tier 1 there is no way I can go back to work as Im a nurse on my feet for a full 8hrs & already down to 2 days aweek
    There comes a time when enough is enough Im not strong anymore & know I cant keep fighting so fingers crossed.
    Just found out my daughter has Ulcerative Colitis 2 weeks ago ahe was admitted to hospital with a HB of 5.4 & needed to have 3 units of blood
    A colonoscopy was done & biopsy showed UC shes almost 18 bless her
    Wish it was me not her
    Keep strong
    Maria
  • creakybones
    creakybones Member Posts: 31
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Maria - thanks fo getting in touch.
    This year just gets worse for me - my mother has had a brain haemorrage - it happened 8 days ago. She is progressing but she has become very aggressive - the haemorrage was at the back of the brain and was down to her very high blood pressure - she couldnt/wouldnt take the medication as they made her ill. So to be honest I am in hell atm - im still off work - have had a diagnosis of enteropathic arthritis - its linked to the bowel disease. Im on steroids and painkillers and manage it ok now that im not in work. Im onto half pay in a few weeks and find all of the IHR frightening as its delving inot the inknown. If I thought I would get tier 1 or 2 then I woul go for it - but I would also like to work from home but my bosses arent very interested in that even tho its been recommended as a reasonable adjustment. I think they ( bosses) feel I would be better off going on IHR as in fairness I have struggled for years even before this arthritis came on board. Im seeing the occ health doctor in 2 weeks so we'll see what he says. He seems very supportive but im not sure any more about anything,
    I am sorry to hear about your daughter - its so hard when they are unwell. The meds for uc are much better these days so i hope they stablisise her soon and she will pick up - with a hb that low she must have been feeling rough poor girl.
    I hope you hear soon about your IHR - I think it would be helpful if I could find some information on what constitutes permanently incapable but ive googled and come up with nothing! Anyway = I will try and keep positive and thank you again for making contact xx
  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh dear poor you
    Im so sorry about your mum
    I do know what your are going through last year my mum had a huge stroke & it was touch & go if she would survive
    A year down the line she can now eat but still has feeding tube into her stomach she is paralysed down the left hand side Is confused at times my dad is looking after my mum & Im there everyday
    So like you life is stressful.
    I will let you know how I get on
    Have you looked on the government web site think it tells you on there
    As mine is through the NHS my payroll sorted out my forms
    Keep in touch you can pm me if you look
    Take care
    Maria
  • archaeobard
    archaeobard Member Posts: 30
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh no, Creaky!! I feel for you. I can speak a little from experience regarding the work front. My sickness record is not the best either, although I've only been working 11 years with RA, unlike your issues. You must be a very strong person to cope with all that.

    I've recently been looking into a few things relating to work as I find I have been having periods of being able to cope and then having breakdowns, both physical and emotional simply due to coping with pain and managing at home and attempting to appear as 'normal' as possible at work despite staggering about like a 90 year old with a stick. I've trigger pointed several times on my sickness and have been through an absence procedure more than once. Your employer tells you the process is there to 'help and protect you' but half the time it feels like you are being persecuted for having something wrong with you that you can't do anything about!

    I have looked into the scheme Access To Work which can help with transportation to and from work, adaptation in the work place and the cost of these on your employer.

    From a financial perspective have you applied for the Disability Living Allowance? You are entitled to it even if you work since it is designed to support the extra funding needed to help with coping with a disability. I applied about 6 weeks ago after reducing my hours at work but I haven't heard back from them yet. Apparently there is an 8 week turn around in the applications. You don't say what hours you work, but this could act as a supplement if you needed to reduce them further.

    Like your occy health, my occy health also mentioned home working but my bosses nearly had a heart attack. They agreed it was not feasible...I think primarily because it would set a precedent...if they let me, they would have to let anyone with a limp work from home.

    Regarding your pension, I can't speak from personal experience, but the Pensions Advisory Service have a publication available online regarding the affect of retiring early due to ill health on your pension. I'm not sure if I am allowed to post the link on here since it is a volunteer service, a quick google search on 'Ill health Early Retirement The Pensions Advisory Service' should see you to it. It answers a few questions and give further contact info you may find useful.

    From a sickness record perspective, I don't think your employer can sack you if they were aware of your medical condition when they hired you. They would have to prove to a tribunal that they were unaware of it initially. I know it sounds terrible, but since the arthritis you have been diagnosed with links directly with your existing condition, from a 'wrongful dismissal' point of view, this is a good thing...unless you did not disclose your existing condition when you were hired.

    I hope you find the solutions to you need and things become easier for you.

    Kat
  • creakybones
    creakybones Member Posts: 31
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Kat
    Its some time since my original post and it was a bit manic. Its been an awful year - i am still off sick and think i will lose my job. Even though I come under the Equality Act ( previously the Disability Discrimination act) your employment can still be terminated if you are incapable of doing your job ( plus all reasonable adjustments have been considered). My occ health have recommended ill health retirement and my GP is supportive. I still find it diffiult to accpet tho as i quite liked my job and enjoyed working for the local authority. But it seems i dont have a choice now and it looks like I will be going down the ill health route. The really worrying thing is they terminate your employment then ( from what i can see) you apply for your pension so worse case scenario the pension doctor could say No. I am very down at the moment so I probably looking at everything through very negative eyes. I see my mother every day - worked all her life - had brain haemorrage 9 weeks ago and is still very very confused - it is heartbreaking. As the eldest daughter I have to be strong for everyone else and as I have always been ill everyone thinks I can cope with it all. I cant - i cried all the way back from the hospital - I can see my mother and my job slipping away.
    Sorry for such a depressing post!!!
    Hope you have a good week and thank you very much for your input Xxx
  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hope you are ok
    You need support as much as your family
    Maybe its time for your sister to come through & be strong for you for a change
    Take care
    Maria
    x
  • ketysmith
    ketysmith Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello I am can't helped but I wish all the best!!

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