Elusive Sleep

Candice Nolan / Dec 13, 2019

Elusive Sleep

I haven’t been able to sleep since it happened. One minute I was driving without a care in the world. And the next, I literally held my life in my hands.

wheel nuts from my left drive wheel: one popped out, the other broke and was left holding the wheel in place

The anxiety is back. It happens when I don’t get enough sleep. I had a whole routine going. In bed by 9pm. Now, I lay awake thinking about the other day. Last night I was in a suspended state between wakefulness and sleep. Grinding my teeth. Sweating. Worrying.

I don’t know if I will be able to get behind the wheel and drive on the freeway again. You just never know. So here I am, dealing with all the familiar demons once again. Screaming in my head. Going around in circles. Unable to move on.

It’s as if I confronted my own mortality and realised how fragile it is. The things we all take for granted. My mind is racing with “What if’s” and “If only’s”. And then its back to self doubt and self blame. And on it goes.

And then there’s the not so minor matter of how I was treated in the wake of all of this. Dekra conducted a roadworthy inspection a week ago. I went back there after the incident and the lady behind the counter was flippant to say the least. “So?”, she enquired after I told her what happened with my wheel.

She made me feel as though I had loosened the nuts myself in a bid to claim a refund. That’s just nuts. But I did want a refund. So maybe it was my fault. Right? And a new cycle of self blame, fear, anger, anxiety etc begins. And then there was my treatment at the dealership.

They passed the buck. They insisted that they hadn’t removed my tyre (thus they were not responsible for the loose nuts). The only other people who worked on my car was a mechanic who sorted out some pothole damage to my undercarriage. They can prove that the vehicle arrived at the workshop with only three nuts on the front wheel and was returned the same. And they too insist that they didn’t remove my wheel in order to fix the splash cover.

But the mechanic quickly apologised for the failure on his part to notify me of the missing nuts. So I returned to Audi. Just abit of a back step here. When my car was towed to the dealership, they repaired the wheel and made me pay for the parts. I was in a state of shock and there they were demanding payment, insisting that I could get refunded by the mechanic.

I went back to the dealership and spoke to their manager, Theunis Kok. He insisted that the fault did not lie with his technicians. I pointed out the obvious fact that the technicians would have noticed the missing nuts if they had checked my brake pads when I brought the car in on Monday.

He later promised to refund me the money for the parts. But it’s not really about the money. They are clearly not being responsible with the servicing and maintenance of vehicles. How can they allow something like this to happen in the first place. And it’s not even about how the wheel nuts came loose in the first place. It’s the fact that once loose and missing, it should have been detected and fixed immediately. Otherwise it amounts to gross negligence.

Emails remain unanswered. So, I turned to social media. Finally someone from Audi SA got back to me to follow up on my complaint. But I have heard nothing from Dekra. They refused my refund request, insisting that their technician was not at fault. So?

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