Life Going Down the Pans. Part 4. Mum gets locked in the car – The Podiatrist.

In which I try to show another day’s worth of why I don’t have the energy to complain to Victorian Plumbing about their non-flushable toilet pans.

Tuesday Morning . I think the Prochloperazine situation is sorted now, after another conversation the following morning with a Doctor, a new Doctor, and actually a very nice Doctor. Can’t wait to see what happens with the August prescription.

10.15. I arrive at Mum’s. She has an appointment with the podiatrist at Surbiton Hospital at 11.00. It’s a fifteen minute drive at the outside, but we need to start to leave 45 minutes before the appointment as it’s difficult for Mum to leave the house, and get in and out of the car.

“Have you been to the loo?”


I notice she is struggling to walk with her frame, and as we are in a hurry, I take her to the loo in her wheelchair.

10.25. At the back door. I’ve taken her so far by wheel chair, but now she will have to get up and step down two steps, using the rail that Occupational Therapy have put in. She just manages the steps and I get the wheelchair in behind her again and wheel her to the car.

10.30. It’s very difficult for her to lift her leg into the car. I have to remove the wheelchair, and support her weight with my body behind her, as she transfers. I throw the keys over into the driver’s seat so that I have my hands free. It takes a good five minutes.

10.35. When she’s in, I shut the door. The car alarm goes off immediately. She’s locked in the car somehow and the alarm is horribly loud. PAAAAAARPPPPPP

She looks at me. She can’t hear anything.






“THE KEYS!!!!LOOOK!!!!” I circle the car, and point, madly, at the keys.


She struggles to lean over, and picks them up and drops them. She looks at me, smiling. She’s a bit deaf and the alarm probably isn’t bothering her the way it’s bothering me.


She persists and this time picks them up and looks at them.


IMG_2085She’s still looking at them. It’s a big bunch of keys by any standard. I often look at them and wonder what half the keys are for, but the other half are for the car, my house, her house, the house in France, two possible keys that don’t work for the postbox to the house in France (I get the letters out with a bent wire coat hanger), bike padlock key, Waitrose card fob,  and most bulkily and uselessly, a mobile control which doesn’t work, to the burglar alarm for her house.



She looks at it. Car keys have changed since she she last drove a car.


I mime pressing a button. The next door neighbour comes out with a crying, sick-looking child in her arms.

“Is everything alright?”


‘I’m really sorry!”

Mum looks at me, waves at the neighbour’s crying child, and drops the keys again.


She picks them up and presses buttons on the burglar alarm remote.

Eventually she presses a button on the car key. That magic click happens and all is quiet and possible.

11.00 We leave.

11.15. The traffic is heavy, and we arrive at Surbiton hospital car park, already fifteen minutes late for her appointment. All the disabled bays are full.

11.20 We have a similar trepidatious transfer from car seat to wheelchair seat, with me taking Mum’s weight as she swivels around, but finally we are in the lift at Surbiton Hopital. “Life going up.”, says the lift.

11.21 I check in on the screen, and also explain to the receptionist that we are late, and ask if we are too late?

“No, no, you will be fine. Lots of people have been late today because there has been an accident on the A3. Just sit down and wait and you will be called.”

Various clinicians appear and call people in to have their fungal feet fumigated, hard skin filed, corns plastered, bunions caressed. Or whatever it is podiatrists do to bunions. Bunted maybe. Bunions bunted.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

11.41 I ask the receptionist if he is sure that we are ok for our appointment. He is very nice and reassuring. Yes, he is sure, don’t worry, it’s because lots of people were late because of the accident and everybody is being seen late.

12.00 I go back to the receptionist. One of the clinicians is standing at his side. “What’s the name? But you are so late! Your appointment was at 11.00! I called you twice, the last time, I am sure it was 11.15. I am really sorry but you have lost your appointment.”

I explain why were late and that we have been waiting for forty minutes on the advice of the idiotic but nice receptionist whose ears I mentally box for not telling the podiatrist that we have been here all that time.

12.05. The podiatrist agrees to see Mum, and in five minutes of deft know how she cures mum’s painful big toe, caused by a corn under the toe-nail, which has been bothering her for YEARS, (I never knew corns under the toe-nail were even a thing. Did you?), and praises Mum’s feet as good feet, which Mum really loves. We all like to think we’ve got good feet.

12.15 “Life going down.”, says The Lift. “She said I’ve got good feet,” said Mum.

3.30 I see Almaz, the carer, at Mum’s after I have done the shopping. She says it would be good if there was a commode on wheels. I phone up the Occupational Health department to ask for one and also for a ramp for the back door.

“Is your Mum in a wheel-chair?”

“Well sometimes. But she uses a frame mostly.”

“We only install ramps for people in wheel-chairs.”

“She will be in a wheel-chair soon enough if she has to get over the thresh-hold with that frame. It’s a real risk. I’m always frightened she’ll fall.”

“Alright, I will put her on the waiting list. 9 weeks.”

“Thank you.”

Well, that was progress……but there was more…..

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