Ill health retirement

Hi everyone I posted a while back about applying for IHR. Well it’s crunch time because I saw my consultant yesterday and he confirmed that the stress of my job is exacerbating my symptoms and he will support me in an application for IHR. What I am nervous about now is the assessor saying that because I am not on any medication I haven’t done everything to help alleviate my symptoms. My consultant agreed that I should wait and see how I feel after 6 months away from the stress of the job (assuming IHR is granted) and then re- evaluate the need for DMDs. So it’s a bit of a catch 22. Does anyone have any thoughts? Especially those who have made a successful application. Many thanks Claire

Hi Claire,

I haven’t taken (or applied for) IHR, but DMDs don’t treat symptoms anyway, so I don’t think whatever decision you make about that has anything to do with your application. DMDs are an intensely personal decision, and I can’t imagine any IHR policy saying that you must have tried them before your application would be considered. It would be unethical, and, I should think, illegal - you can’t force employees to take pretty drastic drugs they either don’t want, or remain undecided about, as a condition of IHR.

DMDs (if you decide to have them) are a very long-term strategy anyway. Years, or even decades. A few weeks of “trying DMDs” is not going to tip the balance on whether you’re well enough to work. I think it’s very unlikely this question is even going to come up.

Treat it as two unrelated issues, to be dealt with one at a time. Don’t get forced into the DMD decision because of fears it might compromise your IHR application. I honestly don’t think they’re in any position to dictate what medication you must take, and I don’t think it would make any difference to your fitness for work anyway. It’s not as if DMDs cure MS, or even address symptoms, so it’s not “a few jabs and you’ll be fine for work again”.

Tina

Thanks Tina- you make some very good points Claire

Hi Claire,

Taking IHR is a big step I know, having gone through it myself about 18 months ago. I worked for the NHS and in the end the fatigue had me on my knees as well as all the other stuff which made carrying out my job efficiently very hard. I don’t know if you have an occupational health term where you work, but for the last few years I instigated appointments with one of the doctors in the OH department every 6 months or so, just to let him know how I was, even if there wasn’t any follow up required at that particular time. I felt that way, I was always in control and he was always in the picture. This was always confirmed in writing. He made sure I had Access to Work come in and assess me for a wheelchair and other equipment, which was great, but in the end when I was away more than I was there, he had no problem backing up my application. I am SPMS and at the time of my application hadn’t been on DMDs for quite a while, just pregabalin and modafinil ( for fatigue, which was very hit and miss). My neuro also did a splendid report for me as did the OH doc, and I was granted a pension at the higher rate without the need for any other assessment.

In your case, I’m afraid I wouldn’t tolerate anyone commenting on your taking drugs or not. Who is to say that whatever you take including DMDs is going to alleviate the very real problems caused by stress. The very fact that so many of us struggle so much with the various symptoms of this vile condition just reflects that the MS drugs aren’t always effective.

What I would say is be completely up front and give FULL details on your application form about just how grim you feel and how the stress affects you physically and mentally. I can’t remember the number of the form I had to fill in, but your employer should give you a copy.

Good luck with your application. If you have an OH team, get them on your side and don’t stand any nonsense. It’s amazing how many “experts” have no idea about this condition and the mayhem it causes. If you need any other help, do let me know.

Alison

Hi Claire,

Forget about drugs; what you take and when is irrespective for IHR. When I took IHR I did not take any drugs except my venom; still don’t.

Good luck with your IHR; go sick for 6 months and get SSPD. Decide in haste; repent in leisure.

George

Thanks guys- much appreciated Claire

Hello everyone.

I haven’t been on here for ages. Luckily I’ve generally been quite well over the last couple of years (since I took IHR from my stressful job!) However, for the last just over 48 hours I’ve had the worst headache I think I’ve ever had. Accompanied by the worst backache I think I’ve ever had and also very bad nausea. My neck is also quite stiff. I’m beginning to wonder if I might have meningitis. Before I take myself off to A&E /doctors I was just wondering whether anyone on here thinks this might be MS symptoms?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.