Crunch Time

I feel a bit fed up today.

A few months ago, daughter – she who has caused so much trouble in the past – passed her driving test and bought herself a clapped out old banger. She offered to take me up to Oxford today, to see an old friend. Against my better judgement, I agreed – I haven’t seen this friend since before the stroke.

I got a text at 7am this morning. I won’t be able to take you to Oxford, somebody hit my car.

I guess the main thing is that she is okay.

She spent the night at a mate’s house, somewhere close to here. The car is still driveable. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable in it, but daughter and I are very different creatures. I’m an early-bird these days so I was easily up and about when daughter arrived here.

From what she says, she pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The other vehicle was just driving along the road, so had total right of way. For me, that’s the end of the story. Her fault, 100%.

Such-and-such obscured my vision. Tough.

The other driver was speeding. Prove it.

The other driver had been drinking. So, did you call the police?

I guess technically it was my fault. There’s nothing bloody technical about it!

They exchanged details, she says the other car (a van, actually) wasn’t damaged much. If I were them, I’d be on the phone to the insurance company no matter how little the damage, just because it’s plain enough that the other person is at fault. Her saving grace is that it is probably a commercial vehicle whose driver won’t want it to be off the road.

Her car most certainly is damaged. There’s a big dent in her car, suspiciously close to the petrol cap. Close enough for me to think about fuel leaking. It’s also deformed the wheel arch so it’s nearly touching the wheel. She says she’s going to try to fix it with a hammer today – good luck to her.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m not overly upset. Daughter causes shit, that’s hardly news. I’m a bit disappointed that I don’t get to see my friend – we were going to go to a vegan market together. I’d like to go and see her, I’d go under my own steam, but the public transport going north is terrible from here.


Another thing which has annoyed me is my mother-in-law, and in fact if anybody has any advice, I would be grateful.

My poor old mother-in-law is 81. She is in hospital at the moment, she was taken in just after New Year. We live about 2 hours away from m-i-l, so every free minute, my wife has had to travel over there to see her these last few weeks.

M-i-l has always been a Luddite, refusing to go near any kind of mobile phone. They’re too complicated, she says.

We did think that afer this episode, she might have had a rethink. She went into hospital as a result of a 999 call (I’m sorry, I don’t know the US equivalent for ambulances -is it 911? It’s 112 in Europe, I think). An emergency, anyhow. I’d have thought she’d want a mobile not just for that, being able to contact someone in an emergency. But also….. when my wife goes over there, she arrives at the house and the first thing she hears is the messages on the machine. Where are you? Are you ok? So there are all these people who are interested in how she is. Not least, my wife.

Frankly, she doesn’t realise how lucky she is having people care about her. A lot of the people I speak to have family who never call.

But she still doesn’t think it a good idea that any of these people – daughters included – should be able to contact her.

She has had both of the arguments put to her, both for her own safety and for other people’s peace of mind, but she just dismisses them. What would you say to her?

[Addendum: In response to a couple of comments, this is somebody who has rejected the idea of a mobile phone outright, even one that is bought-and-paid-for, even one specifically geared to her physical condition. The answer has to be one where she agrees to carry amobile phone, willingly.]

It’s funny but I am expecting a Caramel Crunch to come along in a few hours (which at least because my plans have changed, I might have time to answer) but here is a Stroke Survivor Crunch! Doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?


Lastly, we were looking at key-safes this morning, again for wife’s mum. I thought that one might be a good idea for this place too, actually. Just to save us from carrying keys everywhere. We could leave them in the key safe and just remember a code. So I thought I’d contact the insurance company to get a list of approved key safes – after all, there’s no point fitting one, only for somebody to break in and for the insurance co to say tough. Does anybody want to hear my rant about how difficult they make it to contact an insurance company? No, I thought not, so let’s just leave it there.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Formerly Stroke Survivor UK. Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

18 thoughts on “Crunch Time”

  1. Crikey, you’ve had a busy time of it. At least your daughter is safe — Hopefully that’s her first (you have to have one as a new driver) and last accident. I’d only been driving my first car 3 weeks when I was driving on a busy main road when a meals-on-wheels van came darting out from a side street on the left. No problems, insurance sorted etc. My dad says, och, aye, if ye’d been a wee bit more experienced, you might have seen the van coming…… Huh! I needed that but nowadays, I get him.

    The telephone, just mil a cheap one and say she has to use it cos your sick of worrying about her — job done?

    Don’t talk to me about getting through to anyone like insurance companies, phone or utilities etc….. They’re okay when they want your money, but anything else……………

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mil has unfortunately just refused. She has had a phone bought for her before and just left it in the drawer where it eventually ran out. It’s gotta be something she will buy into.

      Yeah, a bit of daughter’s inexperience coming through. He should have slowed down when he saw me. Er, no. As far as he was concerned he was just driving along the road. As you say, she is safe – to create more havoc somewhere else!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh and re insurance, I could not find a list on their site. The only way I could find of contacting them was via some chat thing. I asked them to point me to a list of approved safes, and they asked me for my policy number. I didn’t think I was asking them for anything client-specific so I reminded them of their obligation under the GDPR and closed the window.
      They are obliged only to ask for the information they need.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. She will not carry a mobile, period. It has been tried! I’m at the point where I just shrug, but of course my wife won’t/can’t do that. It is not at all clear what my insurer’s requirements are! I have seen products labelled “police-approved” but unless the insurance co also approves them, that label is meaningless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How about a lifeline personal alarm system? Just a necklace with a push button that alerts one or more numbers that help may be required. They come in various formats, some with two way communication. Works in home and garden. Daily charge. Disadvantages are that if confused a user could trigger lots of false alarms. See Age UK.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes the weird thing is that she has agreed to have a lifeline, But a lifeline will not allow her to talk to various people. I’m aware of the Age UK ones but from what I can tell, they are one of the more expensive options, I wouldn’t automatically choose them. A couple of my clients (at Age UK!) have them. Age UK must just lease their name to someone, the staff in an Age UK office don’t have any idea about them, except that they exist.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. About your mother in law, how does she communicate usually?
    Does she have nurses or some kind of people who are helping her when she is at home?
    Don’t they want/need to contact her? Best would be to introduce a big authority that tells her that she needs the mobile phone.
    I’m also very very bad with the phone. I don’t like it and I find it intrusive. I like to vanish sometimes from the planet. Pierre loses his hair over this, cause I’ll disappear for a few days. Mostly low days.
    I got a new phone, which works better. I call him more and text him more now. He knows that I’m ok and I know he’s ok and I don’t get disturbed. Sometimes we arrange a specific time to call that suits us best.
    So maybe she would be willing to call/text/send a pigeon every morning or evening or when she’s drinking tea. 1 time a day and then she’s free from the phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Currently (i.e. before New Year) she lived alone, with a landline. She is intending to go back there when she comes out of hospital. She might find things like climbing stairs impractical, but she is stubborn so will return home and then find out for herself.
      Wife phones her every weekend already, but she will not call wife. (Explain to me the psychology of that!). I think my sister-i-l calls her every few days. That might be as good as we get.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Psychology would be she wants no intruders in her life, doesn’t want to be seen as a burden or someone who isn’t coping as she did.
        She holds on to what she can. I would go back to the authority. If a nurse would be needed or someone to help her clean, doing groceries. Anybody that will be entering the home, introduce the mobile. The help needed needs to be able to reach you. I would put it like that. I don’t know her, don’t know the situation, that makes it difficult to give advice. I hope they can help her in the hospital and that her health is going to improve.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That sounds very familiar, except for one thing. She expects wife to call, even berates her when she does not, but the shoe does not fit the other foot. Your idea about an authority figure might be a good idea. Wife is a nurse herself but I do not thing m-i-l views her as “authority”, because she is her mother.

          Liked by 1 person

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