Possibly Having to Retire on Medical Grounds

Hi everyone, this is my first post & I apologise for it's length but I really don't know who else to talk to without being judged.

I'm 53 and currently having tests for RA. I've had Fibromyalgia, Lupus and Sjogrens Syndrome since I was about 18 (but only diagnosed in my early 30's) and I've had hEDS since I was a child (again only diagnosed in my 30's).

I work full time at the moment (from home as I could no longer work in an office), and my job is predominantly typing. To cut a long story short I went off sick with work related stress, and this progressed to a full blown autoimmune flare. However, this flare was different as it's now receded but I've still been unable to close my hands due to pain & stiffness, and the joints in my thumbs, index and middle fingers of both hands are so painful I can't even touch them. They also throb & hurt even without touch (as though I have a knife being pushed into them). I'm also having the same problem in my toes.

My employer hasn't been the most supportive, and talks over me whenever we have a conversation. But I'm now at the stage where I think I'm either going to have to reduce to part time as I'm pretty much useless before lunch time, or even medically retire and see if I can claim my pension early (accrued with a previous employer). I receive standard rate PIP for daily living and enhanced for mobility (I'm looking into appealing the daily living).

I have another telephone meeting tomorrow & I'm going to broach the part time, but I think they've just advertised my job online, so I think it's going to be a non starter.

I've read lots of posts on here, but wondered if anyone has been in a similar position to me, if so, what they found was the best solution for them?Or even any suggestions if there are avenues I might not have thought about?

I feel so very helpless at the moment and I'm trying not to say too much to mum as she worries so much.

Comments

  • Cath100
    Cath100 Moderator Posts: 40

    Hi @Dee_Dee and welcome to the online community.

    Thankyou so much for reaching out to us, I hope that you find us a friendly and supportive group, we certainly aim to be! Often it can be really helpful knowing that you are sharing with other people who have possibly also gone through similar experiences.

    Am so sorry to hear about your hands, this sounds awful for you, if you haven't already been referred perhaps you could ask about a referral to a hand therapist via your rheumatologist for information about treatments like wax bath therapy, hand supports and exercises that could help.

    Am also sorry to hear that your employer hasn't been that supportive- am wondering if you could get a referral to Occupational Health as they could chat to you about reasonable adjustments?

    You can find out more here about working with arthritis and support

    And also SCOPE have some information about asking for reasonable adjustments that could help too

    Am sure that you will also get plenty of support from the community, but I hope that this may have given you a few things that can help

    Thanks

    Cath100

    (Online community moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 391

    Hi @Dee_Dee

    I as m not an expert in employment law but I have just googled the question "my employers have advertised my job online" and some very interesting information has shown up in the results

    I suggest you do the same before your phone meeting so you are armed with what you need before you start raising the question of reducing your hours. I would also record the call and tell them you are.

    Good luck!

  • dip1
    dip1 Member Posts: 2

    Hello all,

    I have osteo in my knees, hands, back and now beginning in my hips. I work as a teacher. I have been through OH and HR and found them useless. OH recommended adjustments, as did my GP. A year and a half in, I have only ever received a footstool, which is rather useless, as I do not need it. I have struggled to 64, but I now need to give up. Many employers only pay lip service to the law, so unless I sue, I do not have much choice. Any advice is gratefully received.

  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 673

    Hello @dip1 welcome to the online community

    You are considering your options about staying in work since you have struggled with arthritis for a number of years and do not feel heard and supported by your employers. You can access the links posted above for more information and if you think it would be helpful you could ring the Helpline ( see below).

    Some of our members have experience of similar situations and I hope will share their advice with you .

    I do hope you reach an amicable solution, do keep us posted with your progress.

    Best wishes

    Poppyjane

    If it would be helpful to talk to someone ring the Helpline 0800 5200 520

    Monday - Friday 9.00a.m. - 6.00p.m.