OK so I read loads of horror stories.I read that they tell you the lift is broken to watch you climb stairs, I read that they are there to find reasons to stop you being awarded pip, I read that they watch you from the car park. I just read so many horror stories and spent the night awake worrying.
The reality was we parked right outside the building, the receptionist wasn’t watching us. And everything was on the ground floor. She was more concerned with the fact an assessor had rung in sick. We sat there and listened to her cancelling assessments. I only got seen because I was already there. I could have cried for those people. It would have been devastating for me to go through the worry again.
I took another 30 pages of evidence to add to the 20 they already have including a report from my medical for my blue badge. The receptionist happily took them and checked my id then ignored us as she was so stressed.
The assessor called us in and I was in my wheelchair which I have had to use all weekend due to horrendous pain. Her office also had no windows so she hadn’t watched us come in. And it was freezing this morning so sitting in a wheelchair and not moving is not a decision you take lightly. I need to start wrapping up warmer when using the wheelchair.
So Rob (my husband) wheeled me in. The assessor immediately put me at ease. She introduced herself as a nurse and said she wouldn’t keep us long. She had noticed a fit for work report in my evidence so asked me about it as she had seen a job advertised there. So it began as a chat about that and all my fears came out about everything I had heard. She was so nice and said that yes it can happen and there are bad assessors but the majority want to help the genuine people. She did say they become a little disillusioned in her role as you often assess people trying to cheat the system. She asked questions about my medication and went through my repeat slip. She then asked how I cook and eat, how I wash and dress, how far I can walk and then did a few exercises. She said she wasn’t going to ask me to get out of the wheelchair but did a few arm exercises. Which if I am honest I did quite badly with as my shoulders are badly affected.
I talked about my job as a senior care assistant, obviously as a nurse she knew the job well. I said I have moments where I am desperate to go back for money, social reasons and just to give me some self esteem. She said not to and I should get a favourable decision. We then talked about me selling Avon and trying to find work from home. She agreed that working from home and having pip would be my best option then I get to work to my schedule. Taking fatigue into consideration.
So overall it was a positive experience. I am still scared it won’t be the outcome I want but I am not confident I did everything I could and the assessment went well. Yesterday my attitude was that if I needed to take it to the next stage I just don’t have the strength but have come away more positive and think I would have now.
She did help us outside but purely because we had discussed my husbands poor wheelchair driving skills and she told us a story about her being in a wheelchair.
So now it’s fingers crossed that my decision won’t take long and will be what I need.