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Bob came home from Burwood Hospital's stroke unit on 17th December 2015, and last week - yes, last week just a mere seven-to-eight months since discharge - the powers that be within the Canterbury District Health Board sent out a replacement safety belt so that we could return the original belt to the hospital.

Well, that isn't going to happen!

Bob is still re-learning to walk, so the belt is used for catching and stabilising him when necessary during walking practice and for hoiking him up after any tumbles (he's had a couple of falls when I wasn't within reach). So this belt is worn all day, every day. And will continue to be worn all day, every day, for a while to come.

The original hospital belt is a plain simple webbing belt with a couple of handles. It is light. It is thin. It is plain black and discreet. And it does the job just perfectly.

The replacement belt... Well... it's a supersized safety belt on steroids. It's a fashionable sickly fluorescent lime green, bright enough catch everyone's attention and not match anything in Bob's wardrobe.

It's at least twice as wide as the original. It's thick. It's padded and has flash handles and loops and stops just short of flashing strobe lights.

It would be perfect for belaying Bob off the edge of the cliff, suspended by his midriff... but it is far from perfect for everyday use, and I don't think the Health Board had mountain climbing in mind when the sent it out.

 

Come on health professionals. Would you want to wear this? Would you wear it outside the privacy of your home, or even in your home? Would you wear it to the shops? Would you accessorise it with a lime green hanky, floro hat, and lime green sneakers and wear it to the mall?  Why on earth, then, do you think someone else will want to wear it - all day, every day?

Bob already has a skin reaction caused by the constant heat and rubbing from the thin belt - and that is in winter. Imagine the reaction to the new supersized belt in summer!

Please stop and think. A stroke itself is enough of an affront to one's personal dignity. And people within the health profession, particular those dealing with people in the process of stroke recovery, should know better than to send something they'd only consider wearing to a Halloween party as an option for Bob to wear every single day.

 

 

Thanks for the replacement belt we didn't particularly ask for. It must cost a whole lot more than the original, perfectly functional, belt. Thanks for couriering it out to us all at the tax payers expense. We don't want it. We won't be using it... and we certainly won't be returning the original belt just yet.

If you wouldn't mind, we'd like you to collect the offending item so we're not burdened with the cost of couriering it back, or the two hours time plus travel costs involved in returning it something we didn't ask for and don't want.

 

If you'd like to support Bob and Shaz in their rehab journey you can do so below. Thanks for reading.