Parking - Blue Badge

Since my diagnosis, I really struggle to walk any type of distances. I am still in a knee brace and need crutches to walk. This means that any time I need to go somewhere I struggle to find suitable parking. Given that a knee replacement is going to take quite some time, has anyone applied for a blue badge? If so, can you share the process and provide any hints or tips on how to get one? Any help greatly received.

Comments

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 391
    edited 23. Oct 2023, 08:49

    Hi @in2teaching

    It used to be the case that you didn't qualify for a blue badge if your disability was temporary, as in waiting for surgery

    I suggest you go on your local authority website and search on there as criteria can vary and you would need to apply through them.

    Trish

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Thank you! I’ll take a look at my council’s website.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @in2teaching,

    I applied for a Blue Badge and was refused for the exact reason Trish gave so if probably best not to mention you're awaiting surgery when you apply which I feel ironically is when it's needed the most.

    Good luck!

    Jon

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Thank you - I agree. Someone awaiting surgery needs it and with waiting times as they are, I’m unlikely to get one any time soon. If my consultant, whom I won’t see again until next month, even agrees to put me on the waiting list given my age.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @in2teaching,

    The age thing is so frustrating because Arthritis in any of its forms is no respecter of age. How old are you if you don't mind me asking? Main reason I've seen for putting off any replacement surgery until later life is the limited life of implants (15-20 years if not abused through high impact activity like running and football, etc).

    Cheers,

    Jon

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Don’t mind - I’ll be 53 in a few weeks. The consultant already alluded to having to wait to be on put on the list. However, as a secondary school teacher. I can’t continue to work modified hours and duties. This is the only way I’ve managed, but can’t imagine the school will accept this long term and I can’t afford to be off work or go down to part time. Other non surgical alternatives for me aren’t really an option. I’m also diabetic and suffered a heart attack and a stroke 5 years ago. This means that based on my medication, they won’t prescribe any anti inflammatory alternatives but that also steroids are not really suitable either as they’ll affect my diabetes (which can then create a vicious cycle of risks of stroke again). Realistically think that if I’m not put on the list I will need to consider going private if my consultant can’t think of any other viable solutions.

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Should say that I’ve been contacted by the Nuffield Health joint programme and have filled in the survey. Fingers crossed that I will qualify and get some much needed advice.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    So not too dissimilar in age to me (I'm 56) @in2teaching. Apologies for the LONNNNNG post but hope some of what follows might help.

    I was diagnosed with moderate OA in both knees about 18 months ago and since then it's continued to deteriorate to the point where I now have zero cartilage left. I was referred to MSK for an upto date assessment in April this year and was originally told the only course of treatment now open to me was surgery. Owing to my age and the fact I was (and am) managing my condition well enough to lead a very active life, it would not be consideration.

    I complained that it shouldn't take for me to be virtually paralysed before further intervention would be taken - I was following all the advice to manage my condition (and then some), so I wanted the NHS to do its bit and step up. The Consultant stuck to his guns so I phoned back, complained and said I wanted a second opinion. I spoke to someone else who agreed with me, she said with so many active years ahead of me and as someone who is sporty and active, the argument to delay didn't apply. She pointed out the potential limited life of implants so I'll ensure longevity by only indulging in low impact sport as I now do. 1 week later I'd been referred to meet with an Orthopaedic Surgeon at a private hospital in Oxfordshire and he ordered an MRI in less than 10 days. After looking at the results he announced I'd need a double TKR - I'm having the 1st one this Thursday.

    The point of all this is A: health professionals are people with individual opinions and there is no hard and fast rule or best practice they follow, it can be discretionary B: If you think they're being unreasonable, complain or seek a second opinion C: getting the result you want may take using the right sort of language which ticks a box, such as "I'm finding it very hard to cope and take care of myself" and "I am someone who needs to br active, this is having a huge impact on my ability to work and my mental state".

    As you cannot taek conventional meds for managing your condition have you investigated natural alternatives? I've found great success with Capsicum and Peperine capsules and Boswellia capsules for managing inflammation. Full Spectrum Hemp capsules are good natural painkillers. FleixSeq gel helps lubricate weakened joints, reducing crunching, grinding and clicking. 5KIND Hemp Gel is good for "numbing" painful areas. I use a TENS machine if I've overdone it hiking or cycling and a deep tissue massaging gun combined with heated wheatbags help reduce stiffness.

    Finally, it's great you're enrolling into the Nuffield Health Programme, it's highly regarded but has fairly lengthy waiting lists mainly owing to the duration. Another option potentially open to you if you can't get in or the wait is lengthy is the GP Exercise Referral Programme. That'll get you a 1:1 assessment with a Sports specialist at your local council run sports centre who will help proescribe exercises to do in the gym to suit, you'll also get a discount off annual membership. I have found it a great help, particularly with targeted weight training to build strngth in my knees ahead of surgery.

    Hope some of these help,

    jon

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Thank you so much! That is very helpful. I will look into the suggestions you’ve mentioned and obviously check if anything reacts negatively with my meds. I had already put down to ask the consultant for a prescription for Capsicum. I’ll definitely look into a 2nd opinion if I don’t get the result I need. Also on my list was to ask the consultant for a physio referral. OA is definitely already affecting my ability to work and I’ve been very emotional since the diagnosis as it’s been very isolating not being able to go anywhere except my classroom and my house. It’s like being in bubble lockdown all over again :(

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Please could you let me know where you buy the supplements you listed? There’s so much out there when you search.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Sure thing, there's certainly lots on the market in different strengths and many contain bulking agents.

    The Capsicum/Peperine capsules I take are made by SuperSelf and the Boswellia capsules by Health Essential Direct, I buy both on eBay.

    The CBD capsules I take are sold by a company called Hempura, they only sell online. Of all the ones I've tried these are the most potent and best VFM.

    Unfortunately, as its a supplement Capsicum can't be prescribed but the one I've listed isn't too expensive.

    If your Health Centre or Surgery has a Physio attached to it you can phone to make an appointment for an initial assessment rather than wait for the specialist. You'll get a tailor-made plan of exercises and stretches to do at home. Be prepared - it will take many months to feel the benefits but they will help, I top mine up with gym sessions too. Don't forget the physio and exercises listed on this website, some of which have videos.

    If you live in England there's another route open to you if your Surgery has no physio dept. which is Connect Health. This is an organisation which works with the NHS to handle high volume workloads, like MSK and it's a bit of a fast-track service. They have a good website with a locator function to find your nearest. Apart from surgery they also have a Physio function too. Your GP can refer you but you can self-refer if your GP's not heard of them or you have to wait ages to speak with them.

    If you're in Scotland I gather there's a similar Triage service run on a geographical basis but as I live in Oxfordshire I've not had to look into that.

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Thank you again! Sadly I’ve researched the supplements and except the FlexiSeq all potentially increase the risk of bleeding when on blood thinners. It does say to ask your doctor but I’m pretty certain they’ll say they are a no go. So will definitely look into the flexiseq. I’m in England. My gp doesn’t have a physio so will look into connect health. Like the idea of the gp exercise referral to so I’ll get on to that this week.

  • When i first read your post, I thought I had written it - it sounded just like me and my recent investigations !! I too have a very long wait for any type of surgery but I was becoming increasingly unsteady on my feet and usually ended up in the car waiting as we were parked so far from anything - I filled in the form online with my local council and sent £10 and received a blue badge very quickly - now, I must admit I have struggled with admitting that I am in need of using it but on bad days it is the best thing I did. Good luck

  • CarylW
    CarylW Moderator Posts: 233

    Hello @TiredTruro

    I am hi-jacking this post to welcome you to our online forum. We are a friendly group and will always try and help each other with support and information. I think it is surprising how often you read a post and think you might have written it yourself! Thank you for taking the trouble to reply on this topic, and do remember we are always here to help if you ever want to ask for help.

    Best wishes

    Caryl

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

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Thank you! Found this encouraging. I’ve finally got my follow up appointment (8th November). At my appointment I’ll request a letter as although not required as evidence, I feel it would help minimise the likelihood of a rejection and subsequent appeal.

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Just downloaded the application for a blue badge with Essex council. At my appointment I’m going to request a letter or diagnosis as well as request that my consultant complete a form. This can be uploaded as supporting documents. Anything that you feel you put in/wrote in your application you feel is/was helpful? Also did you need to go to a face to face assessment? If so, what is that like? Thanks :)

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Jon - how are you? Hope the knee surgery went well and that you’re pleased to be on the road to recovery :)

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hiya @in2teaching,

    Thanks for remembering and for asking. My operation was cancelled! I turned up, checked into my room and got myself ready for the consultant, anesthatist and nurse who came in and quizzed me before I signed the forms. That was all great until I was asked if I had any open skin areas to which I said "yes, just this small patch of eczema on my hip where the skin is healing over". Off she goes and sees the consultant who then decides its an infection risk so the op's off!

    I called back for a new date and was given November 23rd but as I've a lot of social stuff happening in December around Christmas I've decided to make it January now which will still give me the Winter months to recover, then 3 months after that they'll look at the other knee to be done.

  • in2teaching
    in2teaching Member Posts: 22

    Oh no! Sorry to hear this - but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. Agree with you - next couple of months are always jam packed because of the holidays so, totally get why you’ve pushed it to January.

    As for me, had to call up to chase my next appointment, only to be told my consultant is away. Fingers crossed that I’ll see him on the 8th and get on the waiting list. In the meantime, I’ve been researching knee braces for OA and came across the Unloader One knee brace which has been clinically trialled with OA sufferers. It’s almost bionic and could be available on the nhs - otherwise it costs almost £700 I still intend to push for surgery and if need be get a second opinion, but if I end up waiting not sure I want to go private with average costs of £14-16 thousand. So watch this space, as I may end up with a bionic knee in the near future 😂