It has been just over three months since I took delivery of my all-singing-all-dancing-super-Ninja-shit-kicking bed … and now it’s broken. Bollocks.

This morning I woke up at just past 9 o’clock, reached for the control, pressed the button to raise my legs and lay there for 5 or 10 minutes. When my back had eased sufficiently, I pressed the button to lower my legs and … nothing. Well, it made a ‘click’ noise first (which it always does) but there was no motorised-leg-lowering action. After a few experiments I discovered that the back rest and the “raise the bed as a whole” buttons still did something but the main “sit you up and turn the bed” button didn’t – part of that process involves lowering (or raising) the legs and as that seems to be the broken bit, I couldn’t get out of bed. Usually I would be glad of extra snooze time but only when it’s my choice – being trapped against my will makes me angry and, after while, I get claustrophobic. Fortunately, N was on hand so she helped me into my hoist (because my legs were up so high I couldn’t lean forward to get the sling behind me) and lifted my legs off the bed.

After my morning bathe/dress/coffee routine I dug out the literature that came with the bed and searched for the telephone number to call if there was a problem. Before I found it I spotted a troubleshooting guide, so we tried that first – it consisted of:

  • unplug, wait 15 seconds, plug back in;
  • check that cables to and from motors are plugged in;
  • reset device (hold down certain buttons on the control);

According to the law of Sod, none of this made any difference, so I carried on looking for the number. When I found it, I was halfway through dialling when spotted what could be a potential problem – the sheet of paper said:

… This phone-line is manned Monday to Friday 08.30 – 17.00. Out of hours please leave a message on the answer phone.

What. The. Hell? An emergency help-line with an answer phone? Brilliant … just what I needed to really cheer me up!

After a brief period of swearing, gnashing of teeth and wanting to punch someone (preferably the salesman who sold me the bed) I got a grip, rang the number and left a polite but firm message explaining my problem. Then I tried to relax and calm myself down.

Now, usually I am a calm person: I’m easy going, I don’t get wound up easily and 9 times out of 10 I can see the other person’s point of view and arguments are avoided; but since it’s been getting slowly more difficult for me to live my life, when it comes to my mobility I’ve become quite … what’s the word I’m looking for? … fierce. I understand that health officials (i.e. occupational therapist, physiotherapist etc.) are there to help and I’m lucky to be looked after by a group of professional and damned nice people who are good at their job. When it comes to the companies who provide the equipment, however, I’ve come to realise that they’re here to make money, end of story, and it pisses me off.

So, I called the salesman who demoed and eventually sold me the bed and told him about it – I wasn’t rude or anything, just told him what had happened and that I couldn’t believe that the “emergency” phone number was part-time. He was agreed that it should be a 24 hour thing but basically said there was nothing I could but wait until Monday morning and call them back. Super.

After putting the phone down from the salesman, I started getting angry about it again. What would I do if this had happened on Friday evening? I wouldn’t be able to use the bed all weekend, that’s what! As it is, tonight N’s going to put my memory foam mattress on the floor and I’ve got to sleep on that – I could get back into the bed with her help, but the feet section is stuck in the highest position and I can’t lie like that for more than half an hour or so.

So, if you’re considering buying some equipment from Theraposture, bear in mind that they only expect you to be disabled during office hours. Their slogan is:

We won’t sell it and forget it!

But it should be something like:

We won’t sell it and forget it … unless it’s outside of office hours and in that case you’ll have to sit in your own piss* until we turn up for work!

I just needed to type all this out to make myself feel better.

Note: I didn’t piss myself, I just thought it sounded better!

Hooray! It’s been fixed!

I spoke to the service manager at 8.35am: he was very apologetic and informed me that they were sending a man named Ray out to sort my problems. Ray turned up at about half past 11 (he’d come from Bath, just over 90 miles), informed me that the foot motor was busted, replaced it and then checked everything else – he was a nice bloke and N plied him with coffee and biscuits.

I’ve written a letter to the service manager thanking him for their (eventual) quick response and have pointed out that for items that people rely on this much, i.e. equipment that they can’t live without, ought to be covered by more than a phone line that’s only manned during office hours – as I said originally: if my bed had broken at half past 5 on Friday evening then I’d have had to spend three nights sleeping on the floor. As it was I only spent the one night but I did very little sleeping.