These bastards want us dead…

And by us, I mean the chronically sick and disabled.

Doctors back denial of treatment for smokers and the obese, says the Guardian, going on to say that “Survey finds 54% of doctors think the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment.”

Smokers I have little sympathy for – you made that decision, in the face of all the evidence that it’s not just seriously harmful to you, but to everyone around you, so I’m sorry, but you get to live with the consequences. And had I not lived, worked and socialised among smokers for most of my life, until the ban, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as ill as I am now, so sympathy is in very short supply.

However, a lot of people with mental health problems smoke, and also take meds that cause weight gain; what of them?

And if you’re fat because you’ve quit smoking, you’re probably feeling pretty badly done by about now – welcome to the club.

It’s a given that, barring accidents, most of those who need ops or drugs are probably more likely to be among the legions of sick and disabled than among the well and it becoming increasingly clear, as I’ve said before, that these bastards want us dead.

The government bastards that is – what the bloody hell doctors are doing backing this Nazi bullshit is quite beyond me.

Pretty obviously, very many disabled people are fat, as am I, simply because our conditions totally preclude exercise, without which it is quite impossible to lose weight, and that weight is very often caused by our medication – I’ve subsisted on a diet of around 800 calories a day for many years (and that includes my weekly pub trip), and I’ve lost not an ounce because of it.

I’m several stone more than I should be – much of that, I’ve discovered of late, is fluid retention as a result of heart failure, and how long that’s been a serious problem I can’t say for sure – with a powerful diuretic I can shed a stone in a week, and carry on losing fluid weight at a slower rate. Equally, when I had to stop taking the drug for  while, I regained a stone equally quickly and am still going up slowly as my body becomes less responsive to the drug.

In addition to that, I also take a high level of inhaled steroids, and at that level they have the same systemic effects as oral steroids – primarily, weight gain, plus a raft of equally undesirable conditions, some much more serious than being fat. A lot of people with respiratory conditions are in the same boat, of course, I’m not claiming I’m unique.

I am, though, as regular readers will know, substantially – and seriously – disabled, I can’t walk more than a few yards and, if I have to I’m out of action for days afterwards. Mostly, I use wheels when I can.

And what about the medication we fat crips are already taking? Are they going to start pissing about with that?

Most of my medication, as with many other people with incurable conditions, can, very broadly, be described as palliative, in that it eases the symptoms but isn’t urgent – it doesn’t cure anything, because nothing is curable.** So how soon can I expect my GP to start buggering with my meds, I wonder?

**I’ll die without my meds, but not quickly and not pleasantly, but does that make it urgent? Not taking bets on it.

And if they get away with this, how long before they decide having white hair excludes you from surgery, or other treatment, on the grounds that you might not live long enough to derive the maximum value from it, thus it’s not worth the expense?

Cynical? Yep – guilty as charged – let’s face it, I’m entitled to be, as my cardiologist has done a runner. Impossible? Don’t you believe it!

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26 thoughts on “These bastards want us dead…

  1. Ron I am 64 smoked for 53 years ! No I did not know the repercussions when I started and yes it was and is my choice to smoke ! I do not want any sympathy from anyone .
    I am surprisecd at your attack on smokers whilst supposedly attacking the people who would withold treatment from any part of society.
    I do not believe any circumstance is a reason to withold treatment of anyone .
    I am afraid your post this time will cause me to ,unsubscribe , I cannot back up an attack on people who would withold treatment whilst attack a small part of society who will have treatment witheld.

    • When smokers devise a way to indulge in their habit without poisoning everyone around them who doesn’t smoke – or when they even CARE that they’re harming other people – then I might have some sympathy for them.

      I didn’t say they should have treatment withheld – your view of what I wrote is staggeringly narrow and prejudicial – I said in effect, that, unlike very many sick, disabled, and obese people who had no choice, smokers chose to put themselves in harm’s way. They can choose not to, too, the government, in one of the few things it’s doing right, is providing masses of help for people who want to quit.

      And smokers might be a small part of society now (and I’m not convinced it’s that small a part, the tobacco industry doesn’t see it that way), but for most of my life they were a very large majority, and contributed in no small part to my impending death. And I include my mother in that, who also encompassed her own death. FFS, she even smoked in hospital, after her third coronary, as heart patients, as I know from experience, still do. Stupidity and selfishness on a massive scale, but an all too typical smoker.

      And you seriously think I should have sympathy for them? Jesus Christ! What part of how immensely selfish and self-destructive they – you – are do you have trouble comprehending? Do you think you have some fucking god-given right to poison anyone who happens to be near you?

      Oh, and by the way, I left school in 1959, and I already knew, at 15, that smoking caused cancer (it’d been known for about 6 years by then), and I also knew, that it was heavily implicated in a whole raft of respiratory and heart problems. It wasn’t a secret. It’s still not.

      • You are right again (of course). Now the end of April 2012 and I am awfully glad that you are still alive and sharing your wisdom. Like you, I have known that smoking is bad for the smoker and those around them since the late fifties. The UK’s wealth is predicated on addiction driven supply/demand even down to the humble tea.

        Most worrying is that the health debate now is being manipulated by the insurance business which of course only likes good bets -therefore seeks to guide populist opinion towards the abolition of the concept of universal health care. Once the smokers and obese have been killed off, will the bookies (that is all they are) start suggesting that those damaged by crashes do not deserve[sic] to be repaired at public expense on the grounds that it is their own fault because they should[sic] not have been using that road anyway?

        Insurance companies are not benign carers – their sole purpose is to maximise profit by collecting the premiums while paying out as little as possible.

        • How much of an impact has the smoking ban had on the tax revenue from tobacco, I wonder (though out and about (ha!), I’m not seeing people noticeably not smoking in the streets), and how much are the cuts compensating for that?

          Anyone any idea how to find out?

  2. Dear Ron…as always, you are ‘spot on’ with this..I admire your incredible ability to write the way you do and with such passion.I wish i was as ‘eloquent’ as you my friend..In my eyes, you are a star!! You may not always feel too bright but my goodness, you most certainly are..Ali.

    • Thanks, Ali, but as you can see, it’s not a universally shared opinion.

      As I’ve said somewhere here, 50-odd years ago I had arguably the world’s best English teacher. I learned a lot from him (at 14, thanks to his teaching I was getting 98% on old GCE O-level English papers), and in part, at least, this blog is my way of giving something back by making use of his teaching as, indeed, was my time as an adult literacy tutor.

      Ron.

  3. I wish I could say how I feel,not articulate at all!! but Ron, I relate to you and your diabilities so much (Im a smoker though):) I have been telling friends ‘dont say you drink and smoke’ because THEY! will not treat you on NHS soon! I have just watched my brother die, even though I managed to give him a few more HAPPY months, not in so much pain/stressed/frightened, because I fought/asked, every clerk, doctor,nurse,surgeon,about what they were doing! Some didnt like it, but hey ho….it made my younger brothers last 7 months easier and better… COR… what a fight though, phone calls, questioning everything, Different doctors would come round, (who he didnt know) and give him different medicines!! He didnt ask why! I did though..In September he was taken in to hospital, with lung infection, (he had cancer of lung) but said to far gone to do anything! Unfortunately my disabilities kept me away from being able to get to him for 2 weeks, When I went, he had suddenly developed diabetes really badly??? blood levels dangerously low, couldnt sit up, eat bla bla bla…Eventually I managed to sort out why he was having these added problems,and made them look at the main problem.. Antibiotics were not helping his chest infection and it had turned into an abcess!!! I managed to get them to give him IV antibiotics, within 2 days he could stand, eat talk……amazing… off I went for couple days rest (I was so ill) left other family members to visit/care for him….He rang me 2nd day the iv had fallen out and they couldnt get anyone to put it back!!! GUYS of LONDON Hospital…2 nurses tried but couldnt do it! Because of my disabilities I couldnt get there (I live in Kent) and the journey by train alone, I could write a book about. So I made many phone calls , went from one to another….eventually, 24 hours later (brother gone back 20 paces by then) I was told aneathetist needed to do it, It took 2 more days of calls, messages, talking to everyone who just thought i was a nusiance, before he came and put iv in…I asked “in the whole of this GUYS hospital, NO ONE can put iv in, and it takes 25/36 hours,, because he is busy!!!!!! Going on now sorry,..He got better , still very ill but had another year or so left!! with proper treatment!!!!!!!! He walked talked put on 2 stone, came out of hospital, stayed with his young daughter and children, really best Id seen him for years, he was really happy…I was exchausted, in bed for a week at least lol. It nearly killed me……Anyway, when he went for check up they said he was doing fine…a day later he rang me asking me for help!! He was so ill had lost 2 stone etc…APPARENTLY…he had a chest infection AGAIN and was noted at the appointment but they just sent him home…GGGRRRRR. I went to see him,managed to get Hospice care to him, He came home with me, .they rang that afternoon and he was in hospital….I of course tried to sort things out (and I did) for lots of thing, meeting head surgeon, all so called doctors , lung nurses, palative care etc all together and its was hard but seemed to be sorted, all this took its toll on me again….I spoke every day about 4 times to brother, who was confused, and visited twice a week, but they just wanted him dead!!!! Gave him any drugs he wanted, They killed him, he died in such a bad way, I was with him every day in his last 2 weeks, but it was too late, I hadnt been able to be there and check everhthing and other family didnt knowor understand what to do….2 days before he died,he rang and said a doctor had been round and said he was going to be discharged and put in temporay accomodation because they had nothing suitable for his needs at the time!!!!GGGRRR….because he was only 59 he couldnt be put into nursing home, palative care said they didnt know of him (Of course they did) I made sure of it…..Well…now I am fighting DLA and have to go to tribunal now over my illnesses, ME/CFS, Heart disease, rumatoid arthiritus, etc….I have a blue badge, disabled bay outside my home, grab rails etc….my GP’s report (I made complaint about him) details were one word answers and no details at all!!! DLA doctor didnt even listen to my chest, my blood pressure was high, I manafged to walk 30 feet from my bedroom to bathroom ( I live upstairs in bedroom because its near bathroom) I have had bowel cancer, I was raped on my 61st birthday by a friends friend…whom id met twice….(he was black) I had said this in my many forms letters to DLA and said I wanted a woman doctor….they sent, a very pleasant black doctor same age build colour of rapist…..to my home…I am still traumatised by all this, have counselling ( another story) when I complained and asked WHY they didnt read about my many forms letters, and sent a MAN, Unfortunatley (THEY say) all my previous documents have been destroyed in ERROR!!! and apologised to tribunal…not to me!!! The DLA doctors report was unbelievable…I was so traumatised, lucky my daughter was with me, he didnt even recongnise how traumatised I was, I could walk very slowly to bathroom, was very alert, blood pressure a high, could hold cup in 2 hands (yea because I cant hold it with one hand). OMG ..YES.. THEY are trying to kill us! I get medium rate care now, had high rate and mobility, asked for mobilty this time but they say NO..I can still have medium rate care indefinatley…I live in Bexley Kent, do you know of anyone that can help with my appeal.. Inspire and other .org associations are not even any help because they have no staff….HELP and thanks for reading this RANT :)
    I dont know how you do it, bless you :) Lots of love and thanks Christine x

  4. I am so fed up with fighting THEM on my own so much…writing this email has been so hard, mostly because im not literate, but I have pains in my chest arms calfs,hands frozen,numb,head pounding etc…you must know….COR can you imagine how hard it is for me trying to explain to THEM in writing!!!.Thank you RON x

  5. for those needing help with benefits problems. look for unemployed workers centres, citizens advice centres or law societies locally….
    those further afield may help by phone tho if none nearby. some of these will provide someone to do a tribunal for you.
    the link Ron has provided is good. i am a member myself, but they dont provide representation unfortunately.
    only this last week a 60 year old ex truck driver who suffers with arthritis in his shoulders and neck was thrown off ESA after a farce of a medical where a male nurse asked him to wiggle his toes. then felt his toes saying yes i can feel you wiggling them…. through steel toe capped boots???? and apart from asking him who did his cleaning ,washing up and shopping for him that was his medical.he has appealed but meanwhile has to go for interview for JSA next week. on asking what he is to live on till he gets some money (as he was being turned down for a crisis loan at this point) he was told he would have to draw on his overdraft facility which apparently gets charged @ £1 per day every day hes overdrawn. so not only do they want us all dead but our relatives put in debt because of us by looks of it.

    • Makes me wonder how much more obvious it has to be that Atos staff are making crap up as they go along. I know, from what I’ve heard, that some are honest and conscientious, but by Christ they’re thin on the ground!

      And if you’re applying for ESA or DLA, do read this post
      http://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/claiming-dla-and-esa-some-tips/ but do bear in mind that I’m no longer able to offer personal advice.

      And before another arsewipe accuses me of helping people fiddle the system, if you feel that way don’t bother me, your comment will just get binned, but do feel free to print out the page and take it to the police, with my blessing.

      • well if yu are i must be too as ive just been advising that neighbour of mine using what knowledge i gleaned in my 5 years as an advice worker (the basics dont change.)..i,e,. only offer the info youve been asked for and nothing more. stuff like that. think my neighnour talked himself out of his benefit anyway by doing the opposite of the above. one mistake is to treat them as a friend. they are not. they are the opposition.dont ever forget that.

        • In my experience people do have a habit of talking themselves out of benefit. A friend could never get Lower Care – though she should have – because she insisted she couldn’t cook, but could manage if her husband helped. No money. When I convinced her to just answer the question as put, and not embroider, she had no problem.

          I’ve seen it time after time, and my stock advice was always never explain so much that it undermines your answer. But explain the hell out of it if it supports your answer. Not rocket science.

        • ditto – the very able DRO, Derek Rose, at my local Jobcentre was a true friend to all the disabled(physical mental or all three) he advised. Sadly for the claimants (but not for him) he retired being replaced by a non-competent called Alison who advised me to the point where I would not go to mandatory appointments without an MHS support worker by my side.

          The new regime fronted by ATOS, A4E et al are only about money even if they cost more than they ‘save’.

  6. Ron there was an article on radio 4 last week about a hospital device which “cleans” the blood of people experiencing heart failure related edema; the results are supposed to be dramatic. will post more info when I find it.

  7. Hi Ron, I agree 100% with your comments, and for anyone to say that they were not aware that smoking was harmful when the started beggars belief! I’m only 57 but since my forced inactivity like many others I have found the internet a great source of entertainment and education. I helped my son do some research into smoking and one thing he wanted to know was when did people first realise that it could be harmful? References have been found that as early as 1914 cigarettes were referred to as “coffin nails” and the first official findings linking tobacco abuse to lung cancer appeared in 1954! (a year before my birth). I was fed steroids for 5 years to help combat my condition and in that time, despite many attempts at dieting I put on a total of 10 stone! I kept a close watch on my weight and the biggest increases always happened when I was in hospital or rehab! I don’t know which medical professionals were surveyed about withdrawing help to overweight patients but my GP, who called in to see me after my wife called him for me this evening, read your blog and has made a note of it so he can read up some of your other posts. His comment was “anyone refusing to treat patients who have any illnesses causing obesity is likely to be in breach of a whole heap of codes of conduct!” I must close now as the needle he gave is is finally taking effect, and making the keys on my PC jump around when I try to use them……..

  8. Know how you feel Ron, I have severe copd. Have put on 4a nd a half stone in 18 months because of steroids, and to add insult to injury have oesteo arthritis because of steroid tablets, legs swelling etc, etc and my arsole of a doctor told me ” you really need to loose weight, your knees are collapsing under the strain, also your back” no shit sherlock, I said “well you keep giving me the steroids, what do you expect.” He told me you don’t put on weight with your medication. Nooooo of course I don’t, it’s all in my imagination. I love reading your posts, sometimes you make me laugh and sometimes you make me cry, but best of all you say what everyone else is also thinking, but can’t put into words. Thank God for Ron, I say.

    • Thanks, Maggie – always good to meet a fan.

      In 1987 I had a nose to nose shouting match with my then GP, who insisted that high doses of inhaled steroids caused no problems, and didn’t need a steroid card (6 years before my first computer, and 10 before my first Internet connection, I knew that they did) – then, as now, the information is there for those who cares to look, and in those days my major source for drugs info was the British National Formulary – the GPs’ drug bible. Mine too.

      Anyway, a couple of weeks later he came up to me in the waiting room, publicly apologised and said I’d been right. Not many GPs like that, and sadly he quit a few years later to go into admin, leaving me with just the arrogant god-complex, tossers!

  9. Many people using psychotropic medication to maintain their mental well-being, are, as you say, prone to weight gain, not only that they often find they suffer co-morbidity issues as a direct result of the medication (and not lifestyle), with diabetes type 2 being the most common of these. On average people suffering mental illness die over 10 years earlier than average and that is quite often because physical symptoms are overlooked by the medical profession (especially heart related issues) because they are deemed as a symptom of someone’s illness – all in their mind!

    For many sufferers attending GP/hospital appointments can be an ordeal in itself, and many go without physical health treatment, despite collecting prescriptions for many years for heavy psychiatric meds.

    Similarly the rate of ‘smoking’ is higher in those with a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.

    Instead of demonsing folk, these GP’s and the Government should be ensuring that people are in the least offered help and assistance in smoking and weight management because many people reading the news today will feel disinclined to attend their GP if he’s going to add “It’s because your fat” onto the “It’s all in your mind” attitude before they’ll consider treatment.

    As someone commented yesterday – tackle obesity, alcoholism and smoking within the NHS, Govt and medical profession before preaching to the masses.

    • It’s an old joke, and not entirely untrue, that you don’t have a drink problem if you drink less than your GP. Though I did know one GP who had no problem with chronically sick people drinking – his view seemed to be that life sucks, so why not have some fun. Works for me.

  10. Reblogged this on Dawn Willis sharing the News & Views of the Mentally Wealthy and commented:
    Many people using psychotropic medication to maintain their mental well-being, are, as you say, prone to weight gain, not only that they often find they suffer co-morbidity issues as a direct result of the medication (and not lifestyle), with diabetes type 2 being the most common of these. On average people suffering mental illness die over 10 years earlier than average and that is quite often because physical symptoms are overlooked by the medical profession (especially heart related issues) because they are deemed as a symptom of someone’s illness – all in their mind!

    For many sufferers attending GP/hospital appointments can be an ordeal in itself, and many go without physical health treatment, despite collecting prescriptions for many years for heavy psychiatric meds.

    Similarly the rate of ‘smoking’ is higher in those with a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.

    Instead of demonsing folk, these GP’s and the Government should be ensuring that people are in the least offered help and assistance in smoking and weight management because many people reading the news today will feel disinclined to attend their GP if he’s going to add “It’s because your fat” onto the “It’s all in your mind” attitude before they’ll consider treatment.

    As someone commented yesterday – tackle obesity, alcoholism and smoking within the NHS, Govt and medical profession before preaching to the masses.

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