As a rule, I think I'm fairly even tempered & I take what life throws at me in a reasonably calm manner. I'm pretty much a heads-down-grit-your-teeth-&-get-on-with-it type of person. AFTER the first initial panic, that is :o)
This past month has seen me want to do my ravin' nana far more than I have in the rest of the year.
Why ? Other people's ineptitude, recklessness, indifference & just plain ol' stoopididity !! :o)
Where do I begin ?
Well, recently, we have had a few appointments at the Disablement Services Centre at Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham, so that means going along the Thanet Way & M2. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am a bad traveller, a nervous passenger & a downright nightmare in a vehicle. I can't help it, travelling in a large tin can at speeds of up to 70mph scares the !%$@*! out of me & it hasn't been made any better by the mindless idiots who:
undertake when there's not enough room to do so
don't put their lights on when it's foggy and/or tipping it down with rain
honk at us to get out of the way when there's NOWHERE TO GO !!!
Why on earth don't people read the road ?? Why don't they actually use their eyes & their brains ??
In my experience this past month, not one driver who illegally passed us or honked us out of the way got any further than being the vehicle in FRONT of us !!! What did they achieve ? Nothing whatsoever, apart from scaring the life out of me. Grrrrrrrrrrr.
What's next on my whinge list ? Data flippin' protection.
It's the 21st century. I am NOT my husband's property & I do not appreciate being told that until they have written permission from him allowing me to speak to them, they won't even acknowledge that I exist.
I phoned our electricity supplier earlier in the week to change our direct debit payment. I gave them the account number, my name, address, Shaun's name & date of birth etc. & before I could even say what I was calling about, was told, in no uncertain terms that data protection meant they won't deal with me.
Now, I understand why Data Protection is in place, but quite frankly, when it concerns a married couple, in this day & age, they should make allowances. I deal with the finances, always have, always will & any company asking Shaun ANYTHING about account numbers, online accounts etc. will be told - STOP right there, I don't have a clue, you'll have to talk to my wife because she's the one who set the account up, she's the one who inputs the meter reading, she's the one who pays the bill.
Now, my argument with the company was that I could give all the details they need to my next door neighbour & he could answer any question they asked & they wouldn't be any the wiser. I was told that would be fraud. I replied - prove it.
I also said it was funny how they were quite willing to talk to me on the phone when they wanted to sell anything or get us to change tariff or get our gas from them as well as our electricity, how they were prepared to take payment out of a bank account with MY name on it, how they used my email address to send meter reading requests & other messages, but they would not talk to me about the actual account itself without my husband's PERMISSION !!!!
Am I living in a Victorian Melodrama ??? So much for equality between the sexes. Whoever thought data protection was a good idea between husband & wife needs his/her head examining IMO. I know more about Shaun than he does & I expect many, many other wives would say the same about their husbands too.
My next whinge is quite funny, really, now that I've had time to get over it :o)
Earlier this month, Shaun had a hospital appointment at QEQM. The doctor we saw was very nice & asked all sorts of questions, including was I Shaun's wife. So, it came a a bit of a shock, not to mention an insult, when we got a copy of his letter to our GP, stating that he saw Shaun *in clinic, accompanied by his mother*
His MOTHER ????!!!!
Now, I know I've had a few stressful years since Shaun's paralysis & I know I'm no longer in the first flush of youth, but - HIS MOTHER ???!!!
I think the young doctor we saw ought to get his eyes checked. VERY SOON.
*What's next ?!* I hear you cry. The saga of the stump board is what's next.
In Which I lose The Will To Live
Shaun had a below knee amputation on 17 July.
On 18 July we were told by the OT that a stump board had been requested for his wheelchair. (When you don't have/wear a prosthetic leg, you have to keep your stump on a stump board to help with swelling, circulation & muscle strain etc.)
We were told it should only take a couple of weeks to arrive, but after about a month it hadn't, so Shaun phoned the ward he'd been on & asked to speak to the OT. She was busy but rang him back. She said the stump board had definitely been requested so we just had to wait for it.
Fast forward to 11 September - first visit to the Disablement Services Centre at Medway Maritime. FABULOUS team of people, very caring & really great at putting you at ease.
First question - where's your stump board ? You HAVE to have a stump board.
We explained we were still waiting & were told to phone Shaun's wheelchair OT the minute we got home.
Once we were in & settled, Shaun did just that. His OT wasn't available so he explained it all to whoever he spoke to & was told that the stump board hadn't been ordered till 26 AUGUST !!! Shaun said no, it had been ordered by the OT on 18 July, but he was told, again, it was 26 August.
I am not ashamed to say that I did my ravin' nana. I yelled *THAT'S DISGRACEFUL !! THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO WAIT 6 WEEKS BEFORE ORDERING A VITAL PIECE OF EQUIPMENT FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS JUST HAD HIS LEG AMPUTATED !!!*
I then heard the woman on the phone say to Shaun that she could hear that someone was rather agitated & upset, would he like her to talk to me. Shaun, knowing me SOOOOOO well when I lose my rag, diplomatically said - I don't think that's particularly wise :o)
Anyhoooo - upshot was that first thing the next day, the wheelchair OT we deal with phoned to see what she could do. She agreed it was disgraceful that the stump board hadn't been ordered & said she'd look into it. She phoned back later, very apologetic & said that the data required for the ordering had been received by them on 18 July, just like the hospital OT said. HOWEVER, when it left them to go to the people who actually order it, not all the data was received & they did absolutely NOTHING about it !! They just ignored the order !! It wasn't till a month or so later that someone picked up on it & redid the order. The wheelchair OT said she'd raised an internal enquiry because she & her manager both think not having the stump board has caused Shaun problems with his health & healing.
Fast forward another 4 weeks. Still no stump board, so I emailed the wheelchair OT again & this time, when she rang me, SHE did her ravin' nana !! :o) She told me to make a complaint & gave me the email address & phone number of the dept. to complain to & she got on to the company who do the stump boards to find out what they were playing at.
A couple of days later, we got a phone call from the company saying they wanted to deliver the stump board on Thursday of that week !! HOORAY !!!!
Thursday came & at lunch time the front door bell rang & there's the delivery fella with stump board in hand. He handed it to me, I signed for it & off he went.
The next morning, we had to go shopping, so I got the bits & bobs needed for the wheelchair ready, got the stump board & guess what ???
IT DIDN'T FIT !!!
We went out as planned & while I whizzed around the supermarket, Shaun phoned the wheelchair OT & explained what was going on. Long story short, when we got home, I took photos of the stump board & where it was supposed to fit on the wheelchair, emailed them to the wheelchair OT who then got hold of the suppliers. Turns out because Shaun has swing away foot plates, the stump board needs a different fixing. Now, they KNOW what type of wheelchair he has - THEY supplied the flippin' thing !! Ugh,
The part was ordered that day - Friday - & the wheelchair OT was told it would be in Saturday or Monday & they'd send someone on Tuesday to fit it. So, Tuesday came & along with it a lovely bloke but with a somewhat shameful & apologetic air about him.
Written on his paperwork was something along the lines of - if part not in, cancel job. Because he didn't have a clue what that was about, he decided to call in to see exactly what the problem was & what was actually needed. He agreed the stump board wasn't right & said that if the part came in that day, he would come back on Wednesday.
It's now Sunday. We're still waiting. The wheelchair OT will be getting a phone call AND an email tomorrow & I am busy compiling my email of complaint.
We've been up the Medway 4 times since the amputation & each time we've been asked about the stump board. Because Shaun still hasn't got it- 13 weeks after his operation - the swelling hasn't gone as much as they'd like for him to have a cast made for his proper prosthetic. Now, no one can say for sure that not having a stump board has caused this, but they all say it's a possibility.
Oh, another thing I will complain about - at one time, we were told that the stump board had to be made especially for the wheelchair & that might be why it was taking longer than anticipated. When we finally got it, on the bottom is a big label saying MANUFACTURED NOV. 13 !!!
I give up, I really do.
And finally - yes, I can hear you heave a huge sigh of relief - when we came home on Friday after Shaun's podiatry visit (remember - he does still have ONE foot !!) we found THIS in our shared driveway & Shaun's ONLY access in & out of the house:
I knocked next door to see if they knew anything about it - no answer.
I rang both their mobiles - no answer.
I then phoned the skip company & told them they had not only illegally blocked a shared drive, it was also the only access for a disabled person & I didn't care who had ordered it, I wanted it gone NOW !!
The bloke I spoke to was lovely - he said he'd ring the driver to come & move it & true to his word, less than 15 minutes later, a skip lorry came down the road. Turns out he'd been told to deliver it to our house number when in fact, it was a house further down the road.
Just to add here:
I have NO complaints about the skip company or the driver - they were fab. Polite, punctual & true to their word. The person to blame was the idiot who'd given them the wrong house number & told them to stick it in the drive. Again, that wasn't the skip company, it was the company they were working for
Just then, our neighbour came down the road & I told her she & her husband would find missed calls from me & explained what had happened. I said that as I'd spoken to her husband earlier that morning, if they were having a skip he would have said something & she agreed.
Being disabled in any way is pretty hard going.
I think people forget sometimes that getting around isn't as easy for some as it is for themselves. And the strange thing is, now that Shaun's in the process of getting a false leg, some people have it in their head that he'll be running, skipping, jumping & walking. I just want to shout at them - what part of partially paralysed from the waist down do you not understand ??? It was his spinal injury that caused his leg to be amputated, it wasn't his leg that caused his back problems !!
But then, there's no telling some people, is there ? :o)
Normal service will be resumed shortly :o)