Posts on the blog have been a bit sparse this week. It’s been a full on week, with lots of unexpected twists and turns, worry and relief.
There was Tuesday’s trip up to Mallusk to drop my car off for an MOT service. Driving anywhere near Mallusk before 10 o’clock in the morning was a major mistake. And the closure of the Hightown bridge made nipping across to Jordanstown all the more cumbersome too.
On Wednesday night I flitted across to Stansted, and picked up a hire car to drive to Ipswich. Pouring rain. It was a bright yellow Peugeot 1007. The yellow I can cope with. The 1007 was more of a problem.
The doors don’t open out on a hinge. Instead they slide back along the side of the car. Slightly surprised by the unusual mechanism, I ho9pped into the car, and sat in the drivers seat, with the rain belting in the open gap where the door used to be. But could I find a button to trigger the door to close. While it’s a neat idea - and should save a lot of door prangs in car parks – the layout of the controls on the 1007 leaves a lot to be desired.
Thursday morning found me talking in front of a lecture theatre. But knowing I’d be wearing a radio mic for most of the day introducing presenters and doing the links between the different talks following my session, I’d silenced my phone and taken it out of my pocket. Gets rid of that annoying doot doot doot over the PA.
So I missed the call at noon telling me that my daughter was being admitted to hospital, and only picked up a text about an hour and a half later. Time to try and get back to Belfast earlier than the 21:30 easyJet flight that would have got me home sometime after 11pm.
Making quick arrangements to get other people to cover the rest of the afternoon, made a hasty exit, got the earlier 18:30 flight, and made it to the hospital for 20:00. Of all the days to be aware.
There’s a whole blog entry – could be a whole Nolan show! – describing this particular hospital’s car park policy. Imagine you’re a parent bring a child to Accident & Emergency. You park, go in, your child is examined, and is unexpectedly admitted immediately. You spend the night in the same bed as the child, looking after them and comforting them in a new and unusual environment.
Problem is that your car is still sitting in the hospital car park. People come and visit, bringing their cars in and out, but yours is still sitting lonely and unloved. So when you’re discharged or are allowed to take your child home for a few hours, the hospital expect you to pay parking for the days that your car has unexpectedly been loitering in their car park. On top of caring for your child, you’re meant to organise someone to drive your car home – third party? – to avoid racking up charges.
Oh, and there’s a rumour of an exemption certificate that will waive the charges. But neither A&E nor the wards seem to hand them out. They recursively point to each other. And the security team’s script just says no.
Moral of story, get a taxi to A&E. It’ll work out cheaper if you’re admitted.
But I can’t bicker too much. The staff provide an excellent level of care was good, and overnight the little one’s temperature slowly dropped off to a normal level, and other than popping in three times a day for injections of antibiotics, she’s enjoying being at home, and even starting to get an appetite back.
And in amongst the drama, I got my car back from Mallusk – only took half an hour to get there, switch cars and get back home at Friday lunchtime. It passed its MOT, and its doors swing out like doors are supposed to!
This week has been a reminder that the best made plans and schemes are easily thwarted. And a reminder that life is precious. Humans are built quite sturdy. But we do break. And it’s a reminder that trusting God isn’t a part time decision when times are rough, or success is on our lips, but a decision that needs to span every day, and every circumstance.