“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” ~Phyllis Diller
I made reference to this incident in a previous post. Let me review …
The school calls, her wheelchair is stuck in a fully reclined position. Too dangerous to transport, I walk her home (not far). I call the durable medical equipment (DME) people who we deal with and bought the chair from. Sheila answers, as always. I tell her that the chair is broken and my daughter cannot be fed nor transported in it, the tilt and space piston has seized and I need a new one (being an expert in things that seize …). She tells me it will be three to four weeks. “Is there anything you can do? I don’t care what it costs.” “No, three to four weeks, there is nothing we can do.” I explain that my daughter will be bedridden for that time, no doctor appointment, I don’t know how I will feed her, etc. “There is nothing I can do.”
I remove the piston, go to Home Depot, get some one inch pvc, a one inch hole bit, some cable ties and jury rig a fix for the chair. It won’t tilt but is safe. No problem, I am sure any of you could have done that, right? Insane.
Next day I call Sunrise Medical, the manufacturer, they tell me the part number from my serial number, they tell me to call SouthWest Medical who drop ships the part, for a total of $128.00 and I get it two days later. All done, out of pocket, but done. Not three to four weeks as Sheila insisted.
Fast forward to this week. After lots of issues with this woman, not returning calls, not scheduling as she should, telling untruths to me and her own co-workers, etc. I complain, partly here. After all this time, the regional manager calls yesterday. It appears his intent was to tell me that his office is actually full of compassionate people. His words. He did not address their complete incompetence, only my assertion that most of the employees simply don’t give a hoot. (Trying to keep this clean).
I went through the above story. I implored him to imagine someone telling him his kid, his wife, his mother would be bedridden for three to four weeks for want of a $128.00 part and nothing could be done about it. No explanation, no help, just simply, “no.” His response, “Sheila does have compassion.” He finally told me it would be illegal for him to sell the part to my daughter unless insurance first rejected the claim. “So, sell it to me, not her.” “No, because I know you would give it to her.” I’d like to give it to him …
I sent him a follow-up email:
I found my notes. I originally called Sunrise Medical, discussed with them the serial number of the chair and the exact part numbers I needed and then they sent me to Southwest Medical who drop shipped the next morning.
To which Mr. We-Have-Compassion writes:
That sounds right. As I said they should not be selling direct. It’s a good option if needed.
Note that the manufacturer gave me the part number and told me who to purchase it from. There are no legal, moral or ethical issues here. Especially note what Mr. We-Have-Compassion wrote “they should not be selling direct.” As my childhood friend Jim used to say, “Everyone is entitled to their own stupid f-ing opinion.”
It is his opinion that my daughter should be bedridden for three to four weeks for want of a $128.00 part.
My final email to him, copied to the COO …
I understand that you think they should not be selling it direct, but maybe they believe it would be cruel for my daughter to be bedridden for three or four weeks for want of a $128 part.
This stuff never ends. Buy local, not National.
You might be keeping it “clean,” but I’ll say it: Good Fucking God. (And I hate that expression) — this is truly a level of Dante’s Hell, so absurd that I really can’t find words. You just can’t make that shit up.
Enough potty talk. Keep writing it down.
Absolutely unbelievable! Jerry rigging wheelchairs is an age old passtime, however, in this world. See, an engineering degree does have an up side! My husband learned to do it from fixing guitars…he also is a master user of expletives.
Claire: I first read your comment as “… from fixing guitars … he is also a master use of explosives” and I got all excited. I was ready to give him a call … then I re-read it. Bummer, we have an abundance of expletives here …
Elizabeth: You are my heroine of the day!
I’m late coming into this one, SD.
Perhaps selling wheelchair parts off-insurance is illegal in your state, but I’m inclined to think that is a crock.
Do you have some satisfaction in being able to take care of it yourself? (My Hubby would. Loves to fix things.)
Our local Sunrise Medical guys are pretty good – competent as well as compassionate. Oh, dear. Now I bet you have DME-envy.