It doesn’t matter how hard I try and how careful I am, there are people who treat me I’m a pest.
For the follow up Specialist meeting, I had to have another transport assistant. I made an appointment with local GP to have Medically Authorised Ambulance Transport signed in order to have the Specialist appointment.
I don’t know what they do, but I receive the transport service from Senior Citizen’s Centre in their passenger car, instead of Ambulance.
After one of their drivers got angry at me because I had my own wheelchair and the wheelchair had to come home with me, I became extra careful to mention that my wheelchair has to come with me on the form. I just don’t want to get bullied for the reasons I have no control.
Receptionists at the local surgery are very good at preparing the form for me. And this time, she ticked “stretcher”, so that it indicates I need to be horizontal during the transport.
I phoned the Senior Citizen’s Centre the day before and checked the pick up time. It was 12:45 pm. I managed to get ready before 12:30. To me, it was an amazing achievement.
The driver arrived early while I was in toilet. Since he didn’t come to the door, I didn’t realise he was here. When I opened the front door, I saw an unhappy driver standing at the gate. To make the situation worse, Basil run to the gate and barked at him and didn’t come back to the door. So, I had to walk the half way to the drive way, picked him up and locked him inside the house. I walk very slowly, and it felt forever to complete the task since the driver was staring at me the whole time with his cold eyes. I slowly walked up the drive way, using my wheelchair as a rollator. He was still staring at me. He never said a word, just staring. He made me nervous and very uncomfortable.
When I finally reached at the top of the drive way, he asked with a very cold tone if I was taking the wheelchair to the appointment. I said yes. Since it is clearly stated on the authorised form, that shouldn’t be a problem.
He got angry and told me off why I need the wheelchair if I can walk. It upset me deeply. I just don’t want argue with any driver about my wheelchair anymore especially when I have the medical authority for it. He clearly don’t understand the necessity of wheelchair for severely ill people. He was refusing to take my wheelchair despite of my careful preparation. I just couldn’t believe it was happening.
So, I fought back telling him that I can only walk a very short distance and I will collapse without a wheelchair, and that’s why my doctor authorise the transport. In my head, I was shouting to myself that I don’t have to explain my medical condition to a stranger.
He didn’t care and told me that it’s awkward.
Well…, what am I supposed to do now? Neither of us moved. He was not going to take my wheelchair. It means there was no point for me to get in his car.
I argued that my wheelchair has not been problem with other drivers. This is not the first visit to the clinic. And other drivers never complained about the wheelchair, instead, they assisted me and supported me through the trip. I just don’t understand why he has to be so mean to me.
He said it’s okay when we go to the hospital, but not where we are going. I couldn’t understand his logic. My illness doesn’t go away depends on where I’m going or when it’s not convenient. I became angry, but didn’t know where to address the anger at.
He rolled his eyes and told me I didn’t have to cry and reluctantly packed my wheelchair. I wasn’t crying! I was angry!
He sat in his driver seat and kept his hostile attitude towards me. He got a phone call from his office, and he shouted to the phone that I have a wheelchair. He was angry, too…
I knew I didn’t have to, but I apologised for getting upset because I couldn’t bear his hostility anymore. Of course, I didn’t get apology from him… Nobody ever apologise to me…
He explained again that it’s okay when we are going to hospital, but not going to the clinic in the busy traffic. His logic still doesn’t make sense to me. Well…, his logic is wrong. It is more like he was angry that he has to take me to the busy street where finding a parking spot is a challenge. My dignity may have been just a collateral damage of his ego. It’s still not fair and I shouldn’t be treated the way he does.
I explained to him that the clinic has an agreement with the near by shop, so that we can park there. And I needed him to push me in the wheelchair into the clinic. He became clam. But, I still didn’t get the apology.
We kept silent. After a while, I realised he may not picking up any other passengers. So, I asked for his permission and put the seat down to be horizontal. It saved me from getting distressingly unwell.
The trip itself was smooths. There was no traffic jam. When we got closer to the clinic, I pointed out the clinic for the driver. Guess what? There was plenty of street parking spots and he parked right in front of the entrance. He pushed me into the building, and quickly left while I thanked him.
The trip back home was pleasant. We didn’t get caught in traffic and the driver was friendly and supportive.
Since he had an oversized passenger at the front, he had to push me to the traffic side to get me in his back seat. Once I was safe in the car, he packed my wheelchair, and off we went. The driver never ever complained. Instead, he kept genuine smile and was very supportive. It makes such a big difference.
The other passenger remembered me from the local surgery. I felt bad that I don’t remember the conversation we had… But, it didn’t bother him. I asked how’s Dr TL. He said he hadn’t seen him for a while.
When the driver dropped off the fellow passenger, I realised he packed two wheelchairs in his car boot. I never thought it was possible… There was not even a hint of complain from the driver. I felt I’m a decent human being again. Such a difference between 2 drivers…
The upsetting encounter with the first driver made me anxious about the next time I need their service.