Friday, 22 February 2013


I came across some new terms this week; I.R.L. or its cooler brother, A.F.K.

Now I understand what they mean.

I.R.L. stands for ‘In real life’, while A.F.K means ‘away from keyboard’. They are the same, sort of, except A.F.K. is used by people who believe that what happens on the net is as real as any other kind of experience while the I.R.L. people feel the net is only a virtual world.

Either way it means dumping the computer and talking/meeting real people instead of just doing things on the net.

Today, by accident that’s what I did, I bumped into someone I know who is going through the same complaints procedure with St Peter’s as I am. It’s fair to say that her complaint about her late Mother’s treatment is a lot more serious than mine is. It’s being dealt with, just the same, however.

I’d been feeling low and was depressed about the final letter I’ve just had from the Chief Executive. I’d been offered the chance of a meeting with “patient experience” to answer any questions I may have. I had pretty much decided to pass and just go ahead with other ways of fighting them. I was worried about losing my temper, getting upset, losing it.

These meetings are a formality – nothing is going to change their minds or the decisions that were taken, after all they didn’t discuss any of it with me.

Instead, we talked it through and she gave me a morale boost, an injection of something solid into the old backbone, describing how she had got through the ordeal of going back and having it out with them. She still has another meeting due and is building up to it.

I feel good about it now, I need to go back there and face them. I need to confront them with what they have done and will do so. I’ve got questions and I need answers. I’m not prepared to let them do this to anyone else and making them face a real live patient (with a real live ankle) is important.

It’s good this I.R.L.

Mind you, I still think I should take ‘The Ankle Rankle’ with me and read it out to them. It’s becoming something of a mascot for me.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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