The last time I went to casualty was to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. I sat there for five hours with a fractured metatarsal before storming off home.
I had done something to my foot in karate and it had been very sore for three weeks. This time, I was fed up enough with this injury that I decided to go to casualty after work today.
At the casualty reception, I was asked for my details and for information about my injury. The nurse filled in a duplicate form and I was told to wait. The form had ‘Deaf, please shout’ written across the top. Grrr.
I waited and waited. And waited. People came and went. It was bedlam. This foreign lady sat next to me and started telling me all about her pet dog and how it would alert her to the phone and doorbell. She explained she had too much wax in her ears, she’d had it removed, and is still deaf. She wanted to know how my Hearing Dog worked for me, and why I was deaf. All in a voice loud enough to ensure everyone else in the waiting room could hear her. Her daughter then sat next to us and explained her mother is deaf and so on and so forth. Oh joy.
Smudge started getting very agitated, and these two ladies kept offering to go to Sainsbury’s and get him some dog food. No, no, he’s fine I said. The mother went to reception and came back with a biscuit for Smudge. Gawd. The conversation carried on, revolving around the mother’s inability to hear and didn’t Smudge want another biscuit?
Three hours later, I had almost lost the will to live. I was so tired from the incessant din in the waiting room, from the constant concentration on people so I could turn around every time someone came into the waiting room, so that I wouldn’t miss a doctor or nurse that entered, and trying to lipread every nurse / doctor in the hope that I would catch my name when they called it out.
I went to reception and asked if I had missed my name being called out. No…. I was supposed to hand the form in to reception, who had given me the form in the first place! Ack! They asked for my address and told me to wait. Half an hour later, a doctor called me in and I was out in five minutes – it’s a sprain that will take weeks to heal as I walk so much every day. There’s not much you can do when you’ve got a working dog!
I was NOT happy at the service I got. Reasonable adjustments for deaf people doesn’t mean writing ‘Deaf, please shout’ on the form and not giving clear instructions!
As a friend says, you wouldn’t offer a blind person a torch, so don’t offer to shout for a deaf one. Speaking normally will be fine, just make sure you’re facing me!