Here’s a tip. If at all possible, schedule your radiotherapy for the mornings. The drag about having all my radiotherapy appointments in the late afternoon is that delays often pile up throughout the day. They keep me waiting for nearly an hour today. I top up the pay by phone parking three times. To pass the time I play pinball on my iPhone. I switch the sound off so that the receptionist and the other cancer victims can’t tell that’s what I’m doing. Then I forget to switch the sound on again so I miss loads of calls.
Tomorrow is an important day for me. I’m going to see Mr Hadjiminas to talk to him about Tamoxifen. Because I have several appointments back-to-back, Jamie offered to drive me to and from the hospital. And because I get all tongue-tied and forget to ask important questions and then forget to write down the answers, Wanda offered to accompany me to the appointment with Mr H. Whilst playing silent pinball today I miss two calls and receive two messages. The first from Jamie telling me that his car needs three new tyres, so he won’t be able to drive me after all. The second is from Wanda telling me that she has been called back for an acting audition, so she won’t be able to accompany me after all. Oh well.
Here’s another tip. Don’t deal with the Department of Work and Pensions yourself. Their aim is to have one pulling a plastic bag over one’s head or leaping from an upper floor window as swiftly as possible. It’s a cynical strategy to reduce the numbers receiving sickness benefit. They don’t care if they have to employ four people full-time to harass one night and day with multiple letters and endless paperwork. One of the readers of this blog, Lesley, wrote to tell me that the DWP obliged her to attend a “back to work” interview whilst she was in the middle of chemotherapy. When she dragged her ill and exhausted self down to the Job Centre they told her that she didn’t have to do the interview after all. They tried the same trick with me but I refused to go. Apparently the DWP are pulling this kind of malarky all the time nowadays. It would be laughable if it weren’t grotesque. The fact is that this kind of nonsense puts real people’s real health and wellbeing in jeopardy.
Anyway, my advice to you is to get an advocate to deal with them on your behalf. The people at the MacMillan Benefits Helpline* are brilliant. Kerry from MacMillan called me this morning to tell me that someone from the DWP had finally got in touch to tell her that the fifty page form that they sent me last week was all a big mistake. You may recall that when that one landed on the doormat it provoked a near-hysterical meltdown from me. Anyway there is no need for me to fill it in. Furthermore they will now address themselves to the issue of my mortgage interest payments – after only three months of doing nothing on that front. So why did they send the fifty page form in the first place? The French have a word for it: “boh!”
*0808 801 0304