Friday, June 27, 2008

What's the worst time to get stuck in a lift?

I ask this question because my father-in-law managed it yesterday on arrival at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London. He was there for an operation to implant a cochlear device that acts as a bionic ear. It's the first time this major teaching hospital has performed the procedure on an adult and Mrs W's dad has been told he'll therefore be a bit of a celebrity. Well, a celebrity in Tooting at least.

Anyway, imagine the scenario. You're completely deaf and - for various reasons, too difficult to explain here - you're arriving at the hospital unaccompanied. You walk into the lift, which promptly gets stuck between floors. You ring the alarm bell, which connects you with the outside world. And you wait for the instructions or rescue plans to be delivered over the intercom.

There is, of course, just one small problem. You can't hear the intercom. So I think it's fair to say that this must have been a pretty scary experience all round. In a few weeks, when the cochlear implant is switched on, maybe we can start to have some sort of conversation about it.

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