The Day The Door Handle Met My Hand.

What seems to be quite a famous incident that is still talked about also left such a vivid and shared memory by all those who were present on a particular fateful day in 1990, at a particular boarding school for the deaf. On this day, which seemed to start out like any other school day, we went about our usual routines unaware of what would happen next.

Having just attended assembly, we all started to make our way back to our designated form rooms. My form room happened to be the one beside the Home Economics room, which was directly across from the assembly hall so there was no urgency or hike back to gather our books for that morning’s timetable. Momentarily, a couple of us paused in the communal area outside the assembly room for a quick “Hello”.

A classmate of mine had said something to me there and then and in annoyance I ran after him. He proceeded into our form room intending to close the door behind him but as I ran after him, I stopped the door from being closed onto me and tried to continue running after him. However, I could not, and I was being held back. I did not sense anyone holding me back so I could not understand what or who was holding me back. My arm seemed to be held into place – glancing down at my arm and then my hand. It immediately made sense – I could see the door handle protruding from inside my hand. “So this is what was stopping me!” I thought…. I could not contain my anger so screamed, shouted and kicked at the blooming door – for hurting me like that. Mind you, I was only thirteen years old at the time.

A couple of sixth formers came to my rescue, shielding me, controlling and deflecting the building crowd of onlookers who were startled by my screams. The headmaster, Dr Tucker suddenly appeared alongside the school nurse and Mrs Fenney, the cookery teacher. There was this brick of a mobile phone too. I do not think I had ever seen one before then except in the films – Dr Tucker was calling the emergency services who very quickly appeared on scene.

A mask was offered to me, “Breathe hard until it clicks” I had no idea what I was going to breathe in or what I would experience! There was a click and I soon drifted off to “sleep”.

As I was being sat down by supporting hands, the groovy effects from the gas and air wearing off – I was “waking up” again, looking around me to pinpoint where I was. I was somewhat disappointed to find I was still in the very same spot and turned towards the school nurse saying, “I thought it was all a bad dream”. She responded albeit with tears in her eyes “So did I”. Dr Tucker started to look overcome with relief.

I then found my right hand resting on a pillow, which had been placed on my lap – the door handle had been unscrewed away from the door. It was decided that the handle should be left inside my hand in case of any serious blood loss or nerve damage. The door handle had gone through my skin between the middle and ring finger and still protruded outwards, where the handle bends. It felt quite uncomfortable but not painful, at all.

Being wheeled outside of the school, I spotted an ambulance – I had never been inside one so I anticipated a great ride! So I thought. It inched ever so slowly down the country lane heading towards the motorway. Much to my dismay because ambulances to my knowledge were always whizzing around and here I was, having what felt like a race with a snail. It had to be so. Because the aforementioned door handle impaled my hand and they did not want any further damage to be inflicted. Bless them.

I learned afterwards, that my classmates were watching the ambulance carting me away, from their Physics lesson in the science block, in what one described as a “rather sombre mood” – I had got out of doing physics – go me! In all seriousness, one person was feeling extremely upset and overcome with guilt.

Two hospitals later (because the first was only very small with no hand specialist), armed with my x-rays, it was finally deemed safe to remove the door handle, from my hand. I watched as a nurse treated my hand like a pincushion turning the area numb and ready to be handled (pardon the pun!) – holding my hand upright, the handle was slowly being edged out. It came out cleanly with such care and ease. Was blood going to spurt out? Was it going to be like in the films? Blood spurting everywhere… Alas no, except a cavity was left behind, tissue had been pushed down upon meeting the handle. A huge syringe filled with sterile water washed out the cavity, of which was kept above my line of view so I could not peer inside. This massive curved needle suddenly made an appearance and was guided through each edge of the open wound, gradually closing it together. I had a new addition to my collection of scars – sporting six stiches!

As my hand was being bandaged up and arm then put into a sling – there was a message for me.

“In future, never run after the boys – let them run after you!” said the ambulance staff that had looked after me earlier that day. This witty remark somehow made my day.

My writing hand thankfully, was not seriously damaged. With physio and time – it would heal. To this day, whenever it aches, this lets me know it is going to rain heavily within the next 24 hours. My very own barometer.

Mrs Fenney who had stayed with me throughout, I will never forget her for her kindness and patience. My mother joined us and we decided to buy a box of chocolates – not for us but for one particular person. Arriving back at school, everything became a haze. People wanted to know what happened, how I was…. Then much to my surprise, the person whom we had given the box of chocolates came to see me, they had saved the very last chocolate – just for me. He was being such a gentleman. I will always remember the apologetic look on his face yet he had nothing to be sorry for because it was purely an accident and besides, he got a box of chocolates whereas I got a door handle!

The one and only.

The one and only.

The door handle was presented to me, with masking tape on it indicating the depth of the meeting that took place. To this day, I still have it and I write this for posterity.

Now you will understand why, all the doors at the Mary Hare School were replaced into much safer (push open) ones that especially had no door handles!

A heartfelt “Thank you” to all those of you who supported me on that very day x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

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Cyberbullies & Trolls.

A member of the Tree House shared a link with us as she knew some of us had been having difficulties in the past and at present. This video left her speechless and it certainly stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to share with you, the very same video in the hope that you too, will appreciate Shane Koyczan’s work as a spoken poet.

This video also has captions (Yay!) making it accessible to deaf people.

Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

I will never forget how people have made me feel over the past few years with their words, assumptions and insults. I have on occasion gone to the police who gave the other bully a warning, who as a result had me looking over my shoulder for quite a long time. That has now passed but new ones inevitably came along. One broke my heart terribly and subsequently others have broken my trust in people. Several openly bullied me online (I hope they are ashamed of themselves) while several tried behind closed doors then searching me out with fake profiles to continue their trail of bitterness.

Nowadays I do not know who I can trust but I do know my conscience is clear having done my best to do right by everyone whilst being true to myself except it is now time for me to stop being at the forefront of it all because people are once again minding what I do or say.

Dr Seuss’ quote “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind do not matter and those who matter, do not mind” is one of my all time favourites as one should never change for anyone else.

I contemplated giving up, simply because I had enough of all the ill feelings being inflicted upon and how people seemed to keep coming back for more. A friend once told me that I was a fighter not a quitter and I know once he reads this he will smile., knowing he is being remembered.

Apologies but you will not take another ounce of my strength, my positivity and my spirit which planted the seed of this wondrous Tree House. The dwellers from within will continue to nurture it regardless, helping it to bloom and grow with all its goodness while the bad apples left are outside, to rot.

A bad apple

A bad apple.

Thank you to all of those who have supported and kept me going lately. I know some of you will continue to do so, come what may. Love you all – so much. You are not getting rid of me just yet! 😛

Positivity rules! Onwards and upwards…..

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Disabled Parking.

Some of the troubles the deafblind have to face – that even we are not aware of just as much, ourselves.

Parking like this is a hindrance, endangers and disables pedestrians using their guide dogs from safely walking on by.

She says whom I quote:

“I have asked my husband to film this for awareness to show how blocking pavement affecting us and evidence. The great way to raise awareness about parking on pavement blocking us, it’s forcing us to get on the road. In the fact, I’m deafblind I’m never able to know if another car is about to come, my guide dog refused to go through the gap because it’s too narrow, it’s very unsafe for visual impaired people with guide dogs, and other people with any assistant dogs, prams, wheelchair. Please be considerate and be kind not to park your cars on pavement. Feel free to share video thank you.”

Disabled Parking.

Disabled Parking.

Hence the title, “Disabled Parking” simply because they cannot park – correctly.

Another friend remarked how the other day, after seeing the above video which demonstrates one of the daily frustrations the deafblind community faces:

There was a van parked on pavement of a quite busy road, there were a chap who lives near me who has blindness and uses a guide dog, last night I was walking Boris and I saw his dog refusing to go anywhere, I asked if he’s alright, he said the dog won’t go further or go in a different direction (because he only knows this specific route to home and he uses this route every day), I said there’s a van on the pavement and he said “But the road is very busy too!” So I assist him different way of getting home without having to go through the traffic. He was very grateful, I left a note explaining the situation and said if it happens again the police will be called on the van (and photo taken with date on it!”

Show us you care by being aware!

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Making a complaint regarding NHS and/or Government services.

Sharing some mutual concerns that these days there are quite a few organisations and charities which potentially have good intentions but they are misleading when they can make one think they have power to make a change within the NHS. So please, be aware of those. This gives us another reason why the UK needs an approved governing body for deaf issues.

The ones who can actually make a change would be the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who I recently contacted as they did not provide any videos in British Sign Language (BSL) Eventually they replied with a link to their YouTube channel which was not good enough for the deaf community as the access via their website did not provide this. So once again I contacted them via Twitter…. eventually they provided me with a link much to my delight, now showing equal access to their context just as the other needs were met. Thank you CQC, for adding this format to make your context more accessible for BSL users too.

They the CQC, as a regulator, a major part of their job is to monitor services’ performance against national standards such as:

  • treatment, care and support provided by hospitals, GPs dentists, ambulances and mental health services.
  • treatment, care and support services for adults in care homes and in people’s own homes (both personal and nursing care).
  • services for people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.

CQC    CQC

Another service one could choose from is the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombusman whose role is to investigate complaints that individuals have been treated unfairly or have received poor service from government departments and other public organisations and the NHS in England. They too have added a BSL video on their website “make a complaint”.

There is another alternative which is potentially Healthwatch. Who state on their website, are the national consumer champion in health and care. They have significant statutory powers to ensure the voice of the consumer is strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services. Here is their video “What is the Healthwatch Network” which is in BSL and subtitled.

Also there is the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who commission most of the hospital and community NHS services in the local areas for which they are responsible. Commissioning involves deciding what services are needed, and ensuring that they are provided. CCGs are overseen by NHS England, which retains responsibility for commissioning primary care services such as GP and dental services, as well as some specialised hospital services. All GP practices now belong to a CCG, but groups also include other health professionals, such as nurses. (You will need to find your local CCG to contact them.)

Services CCGs commission include:

  • most planned hospital care
  • rehabilitative care
  • urgent and emergency care (including out-of-hours)
  • most community health services
  • mental health and learning disability services

Please contact the CQC, Ombusman, Healthwatch, CCG and your country councillors (as one or more is delegated to liase with the NHS) via their website links as provided on this blog to make your complaint and voices “heard” otherwise, how will they know the deaf / hard of hearing community exist? How will they truly make changes to meet our needs for equality and full inclusion? If we cannot share our experiences directly to them and that we too have a voice of our own (which others may be taking advantage of for their own gains).

There are those who do have genuine intentions and want to bridge the communication barriers between both the hearing and deaf worlds – I tip my hat to those but nevertheless, please keep your wits about you and look outside the box, to see which service will and can make a change, for the better. For inclusion and equality within the NHS and government services on an united basis.

Please take a moment to remember those in developing countries especially where there is evidence of corruption, bribery and lack of rights for the residents there. Those who face difficulties and challenges a hundred fold due to their disabilities. I have seen with my own eyes how their governments have neglected them and believe me, some people in this country take for granted just how lucky they are. To have roofs over their heads, warmth, comforts and food. Free NHS and plentiful medicine. I have no issues with those who want to strive and improve on what we already have in a positive sense. Yet we should not rest on our laurels. It is important to keep the people in charge in check otherwise the standards will inevitably drop. Imagine what it would be like, if you could not express yourself via spoken word or sign language, being unable to read or write?

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)