Wheelchair Woes.....Still

August 9, 2010

Back in April of this year, I posted about the woes of trying to maintain Lauren’s wheelchair. That was four weeks after our original meeting with a provider to discuss some repairs and order parts. Lauren’s chair needed new armrests, tires, and a footplate needed repair. At the end of May, the provider scheduled a time to come to our home and make the repairs. Then he cancelled. Three weeks later, I called to find out when he was going to reschedule. He wanted to wait because they didn’t have all of the parts, and he didn’t want to make two trips. Hello? Why were you coming a few weeks ago to make repairs with parts that you now say that you do not have?

Fast forward to last week, the provider is scheduled once again to come and make the repairs. He calls to say that he will arrive at three o'clock. He arrives at two o'clock. Unfortunately, at two o'clock, Lauren has just arrived home and has “flooded” her wheelchair cushion as well as assorted other pieces of clothing. So when the doorbell rings, I am running to the laundry room trying to find her clean seat cover (oops, still in the laundry basket – no clean cover), and throwing a chux over the gel pad while the caregiver is changing her clothes. AND, while all this is going on I have all of the doors open in the house, despite the air conditioning being on, to clear out the smoke and stench of burned potato. (As I mentioned last week, sleep-deprived me had totally forgotten I had put potatoes on to boil two hours before.) So, the provider walks in to utter chaos. He says, “Do you want me to come back?” “NOoooooo” Can you imagine? Lord, knows when he’d come back. Just give me a minute, I tell him.

I settle Lauren into her recliner and ask him where he’d like to work on the chair. He takes it outside to his truck. Ten minutes later the doorbell rings. Wow, he’s good, that was really fast. Oh, no, no, no. He very gingerly tells me that the parts that were ordered were the wrong ones – wrong size tires, armrests too small. “If it’s any consolation, the woman who orders the parts is no longer with us.” I’m sure he means no longer working for them and not dead, and no, it is not a consolation. He promises to order the parts as soon as he gets back to his office and is gone. A few hours later he calls with questions. What kind of tires does Lauren have now? What kind was supposed to be ordered? Um, I think you’re supposed to know all of this already, and now you’ve figured out that they don’t make those for that wheel. I’m very confused. It is almost five months since we started this process. Why do “we” not know what we’re doing yet? Now if you recall in my last post about this subject, I mentioned that the provider wanted the money "up front". Does anyone see something wrong with this picture?

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