The day my husband became a child

12th July is not a day I will forget easily, it was the day I saw my husband become a child and it was also the day of my husbands WCA/ESA ATOS assessment.

This assessment had been rescheduled several times by ATOS, the 1st time was because my husband had requested it be record, then it got rescheduled because the recording equipment was apparently broke. Then when we did get an assessment the lady who was to do the assessment was not medically trained, so she was unable to do my husbands assessment.

So we were sent back home and had to wait for another appointment. Despite what you may have seen or heard not all these assessments are done by doctors or someone who is medically trained.

After months of rescheduling the day of my husbands assessment was finally here, this was a small weight of our shoulders, especially after months of extra stress on top of the stress we were already going through dealing with my husband declining health.

We were lucky enough to have a very good friend of ours give us a lift to the testing centre (which as a sign that says animal testing). Even before my husband got to be seen, he started having problems. He fell twice in the reception area, couldn’t catch his breath and also felt sick and dizzy. I managed to get him into a seat and our friend got him some water. If you’re a carer you will have some idea of how I feel when my husbands gets in this state, for those of you that are not, it’s one of the most heartbreaking things to see someone you love in pain and in a weakened state. You also feel frustrated for them and guilty because it’s them and not you.

During the whole assessment my husband was juddering and feeling unwell and in pain, he was also feeling very anxious. I’ve sort of gotten used to seeing my husband like this, but inside I still feel like screaming, crying and grabbing that magic wand and making him healthy again. But there is no magic wand, so all I can do is be there when he falls to pick him back up, comfort him when he as a panic attacks and just generally be there for him. Has hard as it is as a carer you need to stay strong inside.

During the assessment my husband was requested to walk, he was allowed to use his stick, but I was not allowed to assist him. Well even though my husband was using his stick this did not stop him from falling to the floor. I sat with my husband until he felt ready to get up, this can sometimes be a few minutes, but can sometimes be longer.

The actually assessment was now over, what a relief for my husband and myself, like I said earlier in this blog it’s been a very stressful time for us both. While the ATOS Doctor was finalising some bits before we could go, my husband had another fall. This time he had hit his head and arm on a column and started to have a major panic attack, he was also crying at this point. I can sort of deal with my husband falling but when he gets panic attacks his whole personality changes and on this day he changed into what can only be described as a frightened child. This is the most difficult thing for me to see and deal with, because what I’m seeing is not my husband. I’ve been with my husband for 16 years now and he was one of the strongest people I knew, I mean mentally not just physically.

When I did managed to move my husband away from the column, I only managed to get him near a chair. By this point my husband had become frustrated, angry and started to slash out by thumping the chair and what was even scarier he also started to bang his head against the chair. While all this was going on I was trying to keep calm and doing what I usually do when my husband gets like this. Which is give him soft hugs and encouraging words. This usually works straight away but on this day my husband was so far gone. In the end my husband grabbed me and held me close to him until his breathing became normal again and I carried on talking to him and stroking his head gently.

The more I see my husband change into this other person, the more scared I become that the person I used to know will disappear completely. I hope this doesn’t happen because I fell in love with my husband for being the person he was when I met him.

I’d love to hear your comments especially from other carers.

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