Return to Stoke Mandeville.

It appears that on my trip to Germany, I have had a bit of a drama on a purchase at the airport. I wanted to get a small something for my kids to have from Germany. I had decided on a small teddy bear for each of them which were `dressed` in the more traditional Bavarian clothing. The total for the teddy bears was a mere 15 Eros and 90 Cents which was the amount showing on the receipt so no problem there. The problem is that the card receipt showed 159.90 which equates to £134 and some pence. Now I know that you are to check the amount before you key your pin but some shops do not have the pin devices that can come down to my level and so I simply have to accept that the numbers have been correctly in-putted by the cashier and key my PIN. I went to the bank on Friday to show the two receipts and ask what I should do and they told me to call a  number which they provided me with and to talk to them about my little problem.

I called the number and went through the “Press 1 for…” and the “Press 8 for….” and eventually got to the department which I had to speak to. I started to explain to the guy and the line went dead. Weird. So I  called back and eventually got to the right department again and I recognised the voice of the guy to be that of the guy I had just lost, I began to talk again and the line went dead. Weird or ignorant? So I called AGAIN and eventually got to the department AGAIN, it rang, then “CLICK” and dead tone. OK, so now I am just a tad unhappy so I call AGAIN and eventually get to the right department AGAIN and speak to a lady called RHIAN. I explained what had happened but as it was not her fault I was polite, she said that she was sorry for the problems and that she would help. Before she could hear the problem she had the security questions. I answered two or three and then she asked another which I could not remember, this of course meant that she would not talk to me, she refused to ask any other questions and told me to go to my bank. So, I have been essentially hung up on three times for no apparent reason and now this woman won’t talk to me. I will not lie, I had a sense of humour meltdown and properly went off on one, the guy who hung up or cut me off three times `pulled the pin` but the fly off lever and subsequent explosion happened because of the somewhat over zealous woman on the end of the phone. I said my piece and decided to go to the bank to speak again to them there.

I approached the counter at the bank which is purpose built for people such as myself in wheelchairs and a young woman came over to serve me. I explained the problems I had experienced for which she said the she was sorry on behalf of the bank and told me that she would help me with it. It took probably a half hour or more of the lady talking and explaining and despite all of the help that she had given me by talking it over with the help line, it ultimately came down to the fact that I should have checked before I punched in my PIN number…bugger. I was quite shocked that the lady who had tried so hard to help get the bank helpline department to try to get the mistakenly authorised funds refunded, apologised for not being successful bless her. She did however tell me of another type of card I can get which means I have to sign a ticket, similar to how it was before the Chip and Pin came in which means I will have the amount in front of me on paper and therefore will avoid and put pay to any more cock ups by me through not being able to see the amount if the machine can not reach down to me. We chatted for a short while after she had ordered me the card which was nice and then I finally left the young woman to join the rest of the staff to do the end of day routine. So a big “Thank you” to the lovely bank assistant who not only smoothed over the cock up from the banks “help line” (using the term loosely) and for sorting out a new card for me.

Today, (Monday), I was up at 05.40 and got ready to go to Stoke Mandeville Spinal Unit for my two appointments. The drive was going really well making some good time until it came to getting off of the dual carriageway from the A34 to take the correct roads for Aylesbury. At the top of the slip road there are traffic lights, (a great idea to put them on roundabouts), which no one really takes notice of it would appear. If they do take note of the lights then they do not take any notice of the rule about keeping the exit clear. As a consequence, it took 40 minutes to get up the slip road, all quarter of a mile of it, before the journey could continue and get back to a driving pace. It eventually took 3 hours and 50 minutes to get from the bungalow to the spinal unit. My first appointment was with the dietician who told me that I had lost fat but also some muscle as well as some good news about my cholesterol which is lower. Then I went to see my physio, the lovely Jo. I managed to chat with her for a little while and she asked if I had anything lined up to do or if I had ideas. I think she wished that she hadn’t asked if I am honest but it was nice to chat and see her laughing and shaking her head at me.

I met another patient too whilst chatting to Jo, she was interested in my skiing trip as she was a snow boarder, she would do well in a mono ski as she has the use of her abs and I have encouraged her to look in to it. I left the spinal gym and headed for my appointment with my consultant which was a short appointment but something amazing came out if it. He asked if I was struggling with anything and I told him about my transfers. He has therefore put me on the waiting list to go back in to do more split level and floor to chair transfers. He told me that due to my level of injury I may never manage it but that I have the determination to succeed with it and therefore he is hoping it will happen. In any case, the split level transfers will help and need to be mastered. The only reason I did not succeed last time I was in was because of the God knows how many things I was taught by Jo and we ran out of time. She did an amazing job teaching me the things that she did though. I hope that she will be my physio next time too.

The weather was shit on the way home again, rain with more and more rain but still the miles were passing by a good rate until of course it came to the roundabout for Larkhill and Stonehenge. A good 40 minutes were spent sitting mostly still due to people really having no understanding of how if traffic merges in turn at the end of a dual carriageway where it goes in to one lane, instead of trying so desperately hard to get that one extra place, then the traffic would actually run smoother. Consequently it was another 3 hours and 45 minutes before I got home again. It was also good to catch up with some others at the hospital including Gaya, Anna and other staff on St Josephs ward where I stayed, Luke one of the instructors and Issy who was a patient when I stayed. It was great to see them all and those who I have not mentioned. Now I just need to wait for my date to go back in whenever that may be.

Anyway, that is all for now.

Goodnight all.


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