I had to call upon one of the emergency services last week to assist me. They were very helpful and, within an hour, I had professional assistance by my side. He made sure the situation was safe before greeting me politely and taking a quick history. He then proceeded to examine the problem, made a preliminary diagnosis, and tried treating the condition. Sadly, relapse occurred after a short distance of mobility and, despite two more attempts at treatment, we finally agreed to call a halt. There was nothing for it but to call for transport and whisk me off to hospital. Well, at least my Smart car was whisked off to a car hospital. I had an afternoon’s work to do.
I have to say that the RAC provided a first class service. They answered the telephone quickly, were caring in their approach, had assistance to me as quickly as possible and, before that, kept me informed throughout by regular telephone updates. The patrolman was incredibly attentive and went out of his way to be of help, with a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude (even to the point of running me home to collect another car whilst we waited for the transporter to arrive.) The driver of the car ‘ambulance’ from Gallows Wood Services was equally caring and soon had my car delivered to the garage, where it has since been operated on.
As a postscript, the aftercare has also been good. Even the local council sprang to life with the rapid mobilisation of community care in the guise of the Mayor of Barton upon Humber, Councillor Paul Vickers. Within 24 hours, he ensured that his office staff had been informed of the whereabouts of the offending pothole and, the last I knew, he was seen striding up the B1218 armed with a can of yellow spray paint.
Likewise, Smart cars are usually wonderful things; small, nippy, easy to park and very economical. At least that is how they are until one hits a pothole or two in the road. Once that happens life has the propensity to come to an abrupt halt, with the prospect of helplessly sitting staring at a ploughed field, or the equivalent, for several hours. At least it was a sunny day and the birds were singing.
However, the analogy between my car hitting a pothole and the subsequent care received from those coming to my assistance, made me think about our journeys through life and how unexpected events have the ability to bring us to an abrupt halt. I also recognised an analogy between the services provided to me by the RAC and Gallows Wood Services with that experienced by patients in the NHS. Our hopes and expectations would be very similar: swift, expert and compassionate care interlaced throughout with good communication; followed through with focused community support after the event. It is what we all want at times of crisis, and I don’t think it is too much to ask for, is it?
First published in the Scunthorpe Telegraph, 16 May 2013
© Copyright Robert M Jaggs-Fowler 2013