Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Give It To Me Straight

Beware the bureaucracy. Catchphrase of the new millennium.

A friend of mine had an interesting story to tell. He has power of attorney for his rich 91-year-old uncle. When the uncle felt he had to make an urgent trip to the hospital, he called my buddy . . . who told him to call 9-1-1 instead.

When he learned that an ambulance would come to fetch him, the uncle asked, “Now who’s going to pay for this?” Now that’s how rich people get and stay rich; they’re always looking out for the bottom line, even when they’re nonagenarians in medical distress.

Anyway, the story doesn’t end there. It’s just beginning. My friend was too busy all week to check on his uncle, but decided with his wife to make a trip to the hospital to see how he was doing this past Saturday.

When they arrived at the hospital, staff told him that his uncle was discharged on Thursday. My friend figured he must have made a speedy recovery and found a ride back home. Good for him. Then he got a call from his uncle’s daughter, who lives far away in Canada.

She had been trying to get an update on her father’s condition on Friday, the day before, but hospital staff refused her request, citing privacy restrictions. What?? The daughter was the uncle’s only remaining immediate family member. The daughter persisted and demanded to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor came on the line and finally relented, telling her that her father had passed away the previous day.

My friend was a bit perturbed at getting this news, particularly after having been told at the hospital that his uncle was merely discharged. To add to his consternation, besides having power of attorney, my acquaintance was the emergency contact.

Makes you wonder about the bureaucracy in this day and age, doesn’t it?

My wife and I had been waiting for a phone call of our own this week. They measured for our carpet, my son Greg and I tore out all the old carpet and we moved furniture in preparation for the arrival of the installers, then the installer left a message saying they would be in touch as soon as they received the carpet.

That was all last week. I had already informed my boss that I might need a day off this week when my new carpet was to be laid. On Tuesday, we arrived home from work to find a message on our answering machine.

It was from Home Depot where we purchased the carpet a week and a
half ago. Giving us an update, they told us the carpet was to be manufactured on Friday and would be shipped out next week. The earliest we could expect it to be installed would be between Christmas and New Year’s?

What??!! You mean when we placed our order, not only did they not have the carpet in stock, it wasn’t scheduled to be produced for another two weeks. Do you think this was news we could have had when we were originally in the store??!! That may have affected our purchasing decision, especially when we told the salesman that we wanted it in for Christmas.

Puts one in a very un-Christmaslike mood. Except in one regard. Our family room with bare floors, a few mean sticks of furniture and a Christmas tree will very much look like the Cratchit family home from a Christmas Carol.


Blogger Lynilu said...

First the carpet .... any more I always pinn them down ASAP, because I've learned that no one stocks thing like that. It ALWAYS has to be ordered, and honestly, if you're getting in that soon, you're lucky! A friend waited nearly 3 months!

As for the medical, uhmm, well, BS .... It is getting really hard to wade through the gobbledy-gook. I respect privacy, but it is often over the top. Important note: be sure to specify on admission records who information can be given to. Everyone you want to know about you must be on the forms.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

so sorry Dave. sounds like a bad week. I had a sad day of my own. Not as bad as the parents of the boy I wrote the obituary on, but sad having to try and invade peoples grief to fill out the story for a 20 year old who died needlessly and way too young.

Maybe we all need to let ourselves be a little Scrooge-like

8:14 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--I guess since we had relatives that got their carpet installed from the same place less than two weeks after they ordered, we figured on having the same luck.

Since I work in the medical field, I know all too well about all the gobbeldegook. Particularly when it comes to billing.

CARINE--That is sad, and another reason I got out of journalism. Just didn't have the nerve necessary to do the kind of work you're doing. Kudos to you.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

Blame bureaucracy on Louis XIV!

My youngest daughter (11) is reading A Christmas Carol presently. I'm still having a Dickens of a time accepting the Bowl decision.

Blessed Advent! See ya later, Gator!

7:59 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

You just happened to pick carpet that was not in stock. But at least you found carpet you both will like.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

YOGA IN MIRRORMONT--The BCS has as much respect for MSU football as Syracuse has for Spartan basketball. Heh, heh.

Your daughter should enjoy Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. Great cartoon, catchy music and it stays true to the Dickens' tale.

TECHNOBABE--The fact that they didn't have any samples in stock should have been a clue to use that the carpet itself wasn't available either.

3:52 AM  
Anonymous betty said...

That's an unbelievable story about the 91-year-old. I wonder what they did with the body, since they didn't bother to notify relatives about the death. They probably lost it.

I had a really bad experience with Home Depot when I ordered a shower door once. I will never use them for anything again which I can't walk out of the store with. Fortunately there are Lowe's stores here also, and they've been reliable.

I think everyone will be impressed with your Crachit Christmas decor!


5:58 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BETTY--I wonder what that hospital WOULD have done with the body if the daughter hadn't been persistent when she called.

Our Home Depot is just down the road from Lowe's. Home Depot had a deal going on for cheap installation and, ever the cheapskate, that's what sold me.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ What a darn nuisance ti have to wait for the carpet and it won't be down for Christmas.
At least you got your van all right.
I am sorry about your friend's old
uncle and the fact no one was told
about his death.
Sorry to hear your modem is acting up too. My new one is going well
Good luck learning some monkey tricks in time for your grandchild's arrival. I hope the weather isn't too bad for you. It is nice here, quite cool. Take care
my friend, Regards, Merle.

4:49 AM  

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