The Saga Continues

This is the second instalment to the saga of trying to get my driving licence back – see my post “Why make it simple when complicated is more fun?” Warning: you may find this boring!

Is it possible that my quest really is jinxed?

On Monday 9 March I posted the form asking for results of certain eye tests (in German), enclosing a translation and stamped addressed envelope, to the hospital consultant. It went first class and the post office clerk confirmed that the postage was sufficient. I heaved a sigh of relief and settled down to wait for a response. By the following Monday, I had heard nothing so on Tuesday morning I rang the hospital to find out the cause of the delay. My consultant’s secretary was off sick, but her replacement informed me that they hadn’t received any communication from me. Royal Mail had done it again!

I don’t have access to a scanner here so I couldn’t e-mail the form, but she gave me her fax number and off I scampered to the post office again, clutching my photocopies of the documents already sent. The postmistress shook her head: No, they don’t have a fax. Maybe the local library could help. I pointed out that the local library is closed on Tuesdays, and I didn’t have transport to go into town to the main library. I must have looked very woebegone, because she then said, “Wait a minute,” and took out her phone. After a brief conversation, she smiled and said, “I wouldn’t do this normally, but just for you – go across the road to my husband’s office, and he will fax it for you.”

Hallelujah! What a lovely couple! I could have hugged them both, but refrained and just blessed them. A couple of hours later, I called the hospital and the secretary told me she had pulled out my notes and taken everything down to the consultant. She would keep me informed, and try to get the completed form returned to me by Friday, which is the deadline I had set in order to be able to send it back to Switzerland in time.

A little later she rang to tell me that it wasn’t good news: the consultant had refused to fill in and sign my form, not because my sight isn’t good enough but because “the hospital doesn’t do these forms.” I was flabbergasted. She continued that I could have copies of all the correspondence with my GP, which gives the results of my tests. I explained that I already have those, which contain a lot of information but not the particulars I need. The Swiss Traffic Department is asking for very simple data: visual acuity, uncorrected and corrected; visual field; whether stereovision is affected; mobility and anomalies of the pupils. The reports sent to my GP don’t show these.

She said she’d get back to me. On Wednesday afternoon, she rang to say I should phone the Medical Legal Reports Department at the hospital. When I finally got through to them yesterday morning, they said they couldn’t help me: only the consultant was allowed to sign documents giving patient information.

I called the secretary back and asked if I could have an appointment, since I’m actually due for a check-up following the laser capsulotomy, and maybe then I could discuss the form with my consultant or his assistant. No, my next appointment isn’t due until April. I’ve offered to pay for a private consultation. So now I have to wait and see if that’s possible.

Who would have foreseen this obstacle? Today, when I called the secretary again, she was very sympathetic but couldn’t really offer much practical advice. The consultant’s reply to her e-mail explaining the stance of the Medical Legal Reports Department was that the DVLA would deal with it. The DVLA is the British licence-issuing authority, and has absolutely nothing to do with my Swiss licence! Round and round we go!

Meanwhile, I’ve written to the Swiss Traffic Department and asked if they will allow me extra time – I was tempted to add, in order to get blood out of a stone. Will they do that? Will the consultant sign my form? Will the deadline be met? Should I continue banging my head against a brick wall? Or should I just accept that the Fates are against me, and give up?

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10 thoughts on “The Saga Continues

  1. Never give up! I was just thinking the other day that to give up my car and hand in my driving licence would be “the end” for me. The freedom to travel not having to wait for trains and buses is paramount. I do use my bus pass and I do use trains but I so enjoy having the use of my little old car .

    • The irony is that I don’t drive in the UK where it’s all on the wrong side of the road! Maybe I should ask them simply to keep my licence on ice until I get home? Then I could just go and see my usual eye specialist and follow the usual procedure.

  2. My God, poor you. What a nightmare this is. Almost like a novel of a man trapped in a legal procedure for no apparent reason only to find he can not get out of the process. I really really hope this gets sorted out soon for you, because I cannot imagine how wearying it must be. Sympathies again 😦

    • Uta, I’m domiciled in Switzerland where I have lived since 1973, so I learnt to drive there and thus have a Swiss licence. I came back to England originally for 3 months in December 2011 when my mother became unable to manage on her own, intending to sort out some kind of care package for her, but that didn’t materialise and here I still am more than 3 years later! You aren’t the only one confused by it – my consultant has obviously not understood my situation, either!

  3. OMG Cat. Because you are one of those whose blogs fell off the WordPress radar for me, I have only just caught up with your dilemma. It does seem that everybody other than he consultant, is doing their best to help you. This would make a good scenario to start a novel if it weren’t so serious. Fingers crossed that the ultra sensible Swiss will allow extra time. What a muddle the NHS is in Hugs from here to there. :).

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