Sunday, 18 June 2017

Going Nowhere

Hello dear readers!

And a happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

Yes, today is that day that we (well those of us in the UK anyway) set aside to celebrate fathers, dads, pops, and paters the land over. I, of course will be making the traditional pilgrimage to the folk's to drop off cards and presents, and perhaps share a nice pot of tea with the old lad, later today.  Ideally I would also be able to celebrate the day with my own lovely step-daughter, Sarah (see here) but as she is currently in Cheshire busy studying, learning to drive, working part time and, well, being seventeen pretty much full time, that opportunity is unlikely to present itself.

All of which has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of today’s post.

Moving Parts
No, what I would like to possibly enthral you, my dear readers, with today is the latest chapter in the saga of the broken wheelchair.

Those who have been enduring this blog for a while may remember that this is not exactly a new phenomenon. You can read about previous exploits here for instance. So when, a couple of weeks ago, I once again found myself with a severely limping ‘chair I decided to learn from the past and take immediate action. It didn’t work.

I was told, upon contacting wheelchair services, that the parts to repair the machine in question would have to be ordered in. visions of someone, possibly in blue overalls, sucking air in through their teeth and opining that ‘you just can’t get the parts these days’ were pretty much unavoidable.

 Still it would only be a week until the parts arrived, so that’s not too bad, is it?

No Work & No Play
The problems start when the chair becomes unusable, when you’re left on three wheels with a seat back that will either collapse forward or, perhaps more worryingly, backwards, with increasing frequency. When that happens, it means almost complete immobility and in this particular case, enforced time off work.

Luckily I had holidays to use and my employers were kind enough to allow me to do this on an emergency basis. Not ideal, as these holidays are a finite resource but, ah well, it would only be a couple of days until those parts arrive. So surely that can't be too bad… can it?

Of course it can.

Upon reaching wheelchair services to chase up the repair and see if the relevant parts had dropped on the proverbial doormat I was told in short order that they hadn’t. This was now ten days since I was told they would be there within the week. Ah, but the private company that supplied the parts had been in the middle of a stock-take when they were ordered, leading to a delay. I was of course free to check back with them at any point to see if they had arrived, as it could potentially be any day now.

It wasn’t

Heavy Going
Three days after this call, four days of forced absence from work, and three phone calls later I was told that the parts manager was on holiday for two days and the ‘other manager’(?) was off ill. I’m sure any thought of them at home cowering under their respective duvets and jumping at the sound of the telephone ringing are entirely uncharitable.

Now, I had previously enquired about the possibility of loaning a wheelchair whilst mine was out of action, but was told that although some were available they would not be suitable for myself. To be fair to them I am a reasonably well built gent (although nearly a whole stone lighter than four weeks ago. See here) and wheelchairs are not exactly ‘one-size-fits-all’. As at least one divinity is claimed to have affection for those that make an attempt, I thought I would ask the question again, and this time, after a long wait for a phone cal backl, I was told they had one that I could pick up the following day.

I think you might be getting the idea by now.

Sure enough, after driving the ten miles to the company’s facilities, I as presented with a chair that would easily accommodate me. The only trouble was, that it would easily accommodate another three people as well. The thing was huge, and apparently made out of solid lead. It certainly would not fit into the back of the car. However, with my own chair at least another two (2!!) weeks from being repaired, due to the parts coming from Germany, possibly by way of The North Pole and Outer Mongolia, and with the offending item right in front of them it was decided that using three wheeled sun-lounger to get about was potentially dangerous (duh!) and something needed to be done.

Father Time
I don;t know where it came from, I didn’t ask. I just took the ‘chair they drove off to procure and ran (metaphorically of course).  It’s not ideal. It is heavier than my own, harder to push and harder to get into the back of the car but, importantly, it got me back mobile and meant that Wednesday saw my triumphant return to work. It also means I can honour that appointment with a certain older gentleman to whom I may bear some small resemblance.

I still want my own chair back of course. Assuming that the parts arrive before we leave the EU in full I may even be back to full power before a certain upcoming holiday (more on which at a later date). It’s even possible that this comedy of errors could speed up my application to the voucher scheme (see here). Of course that was only initiated back in January... So I guess we cant ask for too much.

Until next time...