Saturday, December 16, 2006

No I Won't Back Down

On Thursday night, we were giving Zane a rescue breathing treatment in the middle of the night when there was a “clunk” from the nebulizer (the machine which administers the breathing treatment). Then the motor of the nebulizer seemed to grind a bit for the rest of the treatment.

No problem, I told SRH. I’ll call tomorrow and get a new one. It was about time for this one to wear out. The last one stuck around for about a year, and this has made it a bit beyond that. I’ll make sure to call the place tomorrow and get a new one. I bet that they are ruing the day that they gave the RH family a nebulizer – we always have to get it replaced before the warranty runs out. We’re a losing proposition for that company.

Do you hear the blitheness in my tone? The confidence in my voice? The supreme indifference with which I agreed to take care of things?

Famous last words.

Of course, had it been just so easy, I wouldn’t be writing this particular post. So come with me on the “getting a new nebulizer” journey that I embarked on Friday.

We start our journey here:

Step 1: I called the number on the cover of the nebulizer – which happens to be a national number. After entering my zip code numerous times and talking to two different people, I get referred to the local supplier number.

Step 2: I called the local supplier and have an argument with the operator who insists that the problem is the filter of the nebulizer. I insist that this is not so, since we had the same problem with Zane’s last nebulizer, and we were told that it was not possible for it to be the filter. After arguing for a few moments, the woman-whose-salary-must-be-determined-by-the-number-of-
nebulizers-she-keeps-in-the-warehouse agrees to “look it over” if I will bring it in.

(I puzzle over this for a few minutes feeling frustrated and powerless as I’m sure that I’ll take it all the way across town, they will replace the filter and send me home with a non-working nebulizer. None of which would be a huge big deal except that it’s Friday afternoon, and Zane CANNOT be without a nebulizer for an entire weekend.)

Step 3: I determine to get a new nebulizer. A ha and Eureka! I figure out that the last one was paid for by our previous insurance company, so I haven’t used the “nebulizer benefit” with the new company. Therefore, I can get an entirely new nebulizer without hassle from the insurance company or having to fight with the last stingy nebulizer supplier.

Step 4: I call Zane’s pediatrician to get a prescription for the new nebulizer.

Well, crud. The doctor’s office is closed because they are moving. Yep, the one time they move the office in 15 years, and it’s the day we need a new nebulizer.

Step 5: I am not beaten. Zane has another doctor – one of the hidden benefits of having a child with multiple health issues is the relationship with a variety of doctors. So I call the allergist’s office and get them to write a new script. The nurse offers to send it in the mail, but I tell her that I’ll come and pick it up since we need a new one by the end of the day.

Step 6: I call our local mom and pop pharmacy to make sure that they are covered by our insurance. The very helpful pharmacist says that they are indeed covered. So great, I ask her to make sure that they have nebulizers in stock. But wait, while drugs are covered by my insurance, durable medical goods at that particular pharmacy are not.

So now I have to find a pharmacy which sells durable medical goods AND is covered by our insurance.

Step 7: Call the insurance company to find said pharmacy. After explaining my need to two different people, I am told to call another line for the information.

Step 8: Call the other number –which happens to be an automated line. So while I can find out which pharmacies are covered, it can’t tell me which ones have durable medical goods.

Step 9: Call my insurance company back. I re-explain the exact information that I need. They are very apologetic about sending me to the wrong number – and promptly send me to a website for information.

Step 10: Get the list of durable medical good pharmacies – there are only eight in the entire city – and find the one closest to us.

Step 11: Call the durable medical goods pharmacy to make sure they have nebulizers in stock and check their turnaround time. (I am determined to have that nebulizer by 5pm. A weekend without a nebulizer, when we are doing at least two rescue treatments in addition to his two regular treatments a day, is not inconvenient, it’s dangerous.)

The pharmacist assures me that they have nebulizers, pediatric nebulizer cups and masks, and that they can fill the prescription immediately upon receiving it.

Well, fuck yeah.

Step 12: Get Zane up from his nap so that we can get to the allergist’s and then to the pharmacy before the close of business.

Step 13: Drive across town to the allergist to pick up the script.

(Zane gets distracted by the video of Cars playing at the doctor’s office and refuses to leave).

Step 14: Promise Zane that we can rent Cars tonight and have a family movie night if he will only leave the doctor’s office already.

Step 15: Drive back across town to pick up the nebulizer at the durable medical goods pharmacy.

From this day forth, there are two types of pharmacies in my head: those rare, gem-like pharmacies where one gets nebulizers, walkers, and elevated toilet seats and those that merely supply the life-saving medications that we use daily.

Step 16: Oh, blessed relief. Get the nebulizer from the pharmacy.

We end our journey here:

It only took 4+ hours to get this all done. Just in time to give Zane another breathing treatment.

Sometimes Zane’s health concerns give rise to acute crisis situations that must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Other times, a mama just needs a goodly supply of perseverance and determination – and hardheadedness to get it done.

In summation, sixteen simple steps and 1/6 of a day will get you a new nebulizer – but only if you really want one.


S. said...

Geez, talk about jumping through hoops! Glad you got one, though.

zingerzapper said...

That is some hard core advocacy. Have you ever thought of doing that for a living?

jw said...

Bravo zany! 16 more reasons why you have that "S" emblazoned across your chest...

SRH said...

Most days I stand in awe of Zany Mama (some days I sit in awe), but Friday was one of them that was very awe inspiring. I never would have been able to do that.

Dustin said...

So pretty much what you need is a "friend" in the medical supplies business. I "know a guy" who "finds things on the street" sometimes. I should "give him a call."

Wait, you're not a cop are ya?

Zany Mama said...

Thanks. I did begin to feel that the fates were conspiring against me. Stupid fates.

Yeah, I tried that once. The pay was crap and the people were crazy. :)

Thanks for the kudos.

I'm so glad you didn't say I had an S & M on my chest, cause that would have meant something else entirely, and I'm totally not down with that.

(But if you are, that's okay with me. You know that Ohio is the home of the national leather association.)

How about less awe and more jewelry buying?

I'm just saying.

Where were you and your "friend" when I needed you on Friday? I was totally in need of a black market breathing apparatus.

I'll keep you in mind next time my supplier flakes out on me.

allrileyedup said...

I second the motion for more jewelry buying. Maybe your insurance covers it under the mental health section of the plan.

In other notes, it's absolutely ridiculous that you should have to jump through that many hoops for something this important to your son's health. You should demand they provide you with a backup nebulizer to have in your house at all times in the case of a nebulizer breakdown on a weekend or something like that. Just sayin...

You should also buy Cars.

belsum said...


Zany Mama said...

Now, that's a brilliant idea - an extra nebulizer. I can't imagine what I'd have to go through to get one of those, but I mayh just try it.


L. Noelle said...

HI there. Just another mom here with a blog, reading through some other's and came across yours. I love a good sense of humor! I love your blog also. I'm sure this is a duh? question, but do you regulate his diet carefully? So much of our allergies are diet related. Does he have a good allergist/holistic doctor who knows all about nutrition and immune system problems? I research nutrition and health, and have been through things with my own 2 year old. Please contact me if you feel like exchanging info. Noelle

Zany Mama said...

Thanks for stopping by! We do, actually, work with our allergist very closely on the whole asthma/food allergy thing. My partner also had life-threatening food allergies as a child, so everyone is taking the nutrition aspect of Zane's life very seriously.

As an aside, we just realized that Zane is still allergic to oranges and bananas, so that kind of stinks, but at least we're not in the throws of food allergy crisis like we were in the first year of his life.

Your jewelry is gorgeous!