Playing Who's on First with the Medical Supply Company

I paced outside in the heat.  My cell phone speaker gurgled with a running advertisement for Savannah's doctor's office while I waited on hold for thirty minutes.  When the nurse finally answered, I explained that my medical supply company needed a faxed prescription from the doctor for Savannah's formula.

"We faxed that over this morning, sir,"

"Excellent," I said, "Thank you."

A few days earlier when I had talked to the rep from the medical supply company, she had told me, in her East Texas drawl, that she wasn't sure which formula Savannah needed.   She asked, "Does she use formula X or Formula Y?"

"Um, those don't sound right?" I said.  "I thought she was on Formula Z with Fiber."

"Are you sure about that, sir, because that's not what I have here?"

"I'm pretty sure it's Z with Fiber," I said with hesitation.  It was the sureness in her voice that made me question my information.  It's like a teacher who asks, "Are you sure that's the right answer?" as they glare at the solutions in the teachers' manual.  And you want to change your answer.

"I'll check on that for you," she said.  "By the way, we'll need a prescription renewal from her doctor.  We faxed that over, but have not gotten anything back."

"I'll call the doctor.  So, will you send the other supplies?  The diapers and such... I need those as soon as possible.  We're running out of feeding bags."

"No problem, sir.  We'll go ahead and send those out and you'll get them on the 29th.  We'll send the formula later, once we get the prescription."

"Ok.  Thanks."

I thought after talking to the doctor's office, and learning they had faxed the prescription, we'd be done.  Oh, how wrong I was.

The 29th came and went with no shipment.

I called the medical supply company and told them that the supplies had not arrived and that I was going to have to reuse the sterile feeding bags for more than one day, which is contraindicated.

"Sir, we're still waiting for that prescription for formula X."

"But the doctor said she faxed it."

"We don't have a prescription for formula X."

"Is that the new formula you've changed her to, formula X?"

"What do you mean, sir?  Says here in my case notes that Dad wants her to switch to Formula X."

"No, no, no.  I'm Dad, and I never said that."

"Yes, sir"

"She's on formula Z with Fiber.  A few days ago someone was confused about her formula.  I figured you'd discontinued using it and needed a new prescription.  Do you still have Z with Fiber?  Is that what the doctor faxed, an order for Z?"

"Will you hold, sir?"

I paced.  I hate the monthly ritual with the supply company.  They used to be so good.  I used to brag about how efficient they were.  I was on a first name basis with the woman who handled our order month after month.  Now, I got bumped around to rep after rep and they were perpetually bewildered.

"Sir, everything is fine.  No problems.  We'll get that shipment out right away."

"The supplies and the formula Z with Fiber?"

"Yes, sir."

The next day the supplies arrived.  Our home health nurse, Nurse C. unpacked the boxes.  "There is only one feeding bag in here," she said.

"What?  The others must be in another box."

We rummaged through all the boxes again.  Nothing.

I called the supply company.  "I just got my supplies and the packing slip says we're supposed to get thirty one feeding bags and I only got one."

"You got one bag, sir?"

"Yes, the box of thirty bags must still be on the truck."

"We'll call you back, sir."

The next morning they called me back:

"Sir, I have a note here that you need thirty boxes of feeding bags?"

"No, the packing slip says I'm supposed to get thirty-one bags.  I got one bag.  I need thirty-one."

"You got one bag of bags?"

"I got one bag."

"One bag of how many?"

"You don't understand," I said, trying to keep calm.  "I'm going to speak very slowly now:  I got one bag total, as in the number one, which is less than the number two."

"Oh, I thought you were asking for thirty boxes of bags."

I laughed.  This is how absurd my life has become.

"We'll get that right out to you, sir."



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