A few days ago, I went Christmas Shopping. I went to pay for my parking ticket once I was ready to go home but the machine swallowed my ticket. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

So there’s a button to press when you are in need of assistance. I looked around, unfortunately the foyer was empty (unusually) and I really didn’t fancy trekking all the way to the entrance of the multi-storey to get to the office when I had a pushchair with me and my car was at the top!

I’ve been in this situation before. I’ve pressed the button and talked into the little holes next to the button which I assume is the speaker;

“Hi, um, I am Deaf so won’t hear you if you respond, but could you please send someone up to the Level three ticket machines as I can’t get my ticket back out!”

Speaking that into what feels like thin air, in a public space, with no idea if they’re talking back at you or even if they’ve “answered” the button call can make you feel like a right banana.

I heard some sort of noise back. But no one came. In the end I did a bit of a sightseeing trip around the car park to find them, only to find out they’d told me what to do in reply! Which part of “I am Deaf” did you not understand?

This time, fortunately, in the nick of time a lovely couple came into the foyer to pay for their ticket and I asked them if they’d do the listening for me and I got out without trouble, but it did remind me of the above occasion and made me wish once again that there was a text service at intercoms. Perhaps like MSN or internet online chatting services you can get, after all they put Braille on buttons don’t they?

I’ve encountered intercoms too much in my lifetime that I care for. I have a Hearing husband which helped when I arrived at the Maternity hospital, in the full throes of labour in the middle of the night, faced with an intercom before gaining entry. What if he had been deaf too? A Deaf woman could potentially be left waiting longer to be let in, while a member of staff made their way to the door to check who it was after hearing “Please let me in” but not getting an answer to the question “What’s your name please?”.

I don’t get the consistency of machines coming in-between people these days. Whatever happened to just driving up to the window at the drive thru for a MacDonald’s or KFC for example, to make your order? Why do I now have to use an intercom to order and then drive up to the window and give my money to the same person I’ve just been talking to anyway? They tell me I can just bypass the intercom and go straight up to the window, but have you done that and then come face to face with a grumpy looking teenager who despite me talking into the intercom hoping that he could hear me “I am Deaf, I’ll order at the window” is incensed with me for some reason and talks to me looking in the opposite direction. Defeats the point of the object really. I may as well have ordered my Big Mac and Happy Meal back where I started. Some Deaf Awareness training really wouldn’t go amiss.

Then there was the time when an Audiology department kept trying to phone me to arrange an appointment. They had my address, they had my e mail address, but no, each and every time they’d phone. My husband would always take the call, and they’d always ask to speak to me. An AUDIOLOGY department! Confuddled? So was I.

So this is the big week. I find out on Wednesday what The.Deal.Will.Be.

I already know quite a lot though. I’ve had communications via e mail to confirm that my funding has been approved, (wow! How quick!) and they’ve pencilled me in for the 22nd December. Wednesday’s appointment will provide me with answers to my (many) questions, and hopefully they’ll tell me what the results of the various tests were. I’d particularly like to see the scans for a start!

I can’t commit 100% that it’s really happening. But Oh.My.Goodness, what a turnaround! I think 2010 is going to be a good one :-)