Whatever happened to intelligence?

Ok, yesterday was fair. Who am I kidding – it was frustrating. A simple thing, really. The order of a replacement part. How many of you have every had to order a replacement part? If you haven’t, you will have to at some point, believe me. I think my first replacement part was about 30 years ago when my oldest child’s crib had a brace recall before he was even born, and I had to order the part. Quite simple, really. Fill out the form or call the 800 number and wait for delivery.

But that was before. This is now. Sometime between 1984 and now, intelligence has left the building. In many cases. Especially when it comes to medical parts and services. My husband is dependent on his wheelchair. We actually have 2 – the wide one, and the one that fits through the doorways in the house. Needless to say, he uses the one that fits through doors. About early May of this year, I noticed his seat back was ripping. Coming apart at the top, and thus he didn’t have a lot of support on his back. So, of course the first thing we did was check at the VA. They didn’t provide his chair, but we thought maybe they could point us in the right direction (and that is where we were when I noticed the tears). The answer was simple – talk to who you got it from. Cool!!! That was easy – oh no, wait a second, I remember where you got that chair. That’s the one that was ordered when you came home from the nursing home. Maybe this won’t be easy.


So we get home late, and the order has to wait. Meanwhile I’m remembering when the chair arrived – barely a year before. Let me state here my husband is a big man, and his assistive devices are what are called “bariatric”, which simply means will handle a higher weight limit. So when he was discharged from the nursing home, a new wheel chair, shower chair and potty chair were ordered. Got the discharge handled, took him home, got him settled and called the place where all this equipment was coming from. I was told to come pick up his things, so off I went. I get to the business, and they have the potty chair (pretty much a must) – a nice, sturdy large model. The don’t have the wheelchair – but they will deliver it. They don’t have the shower chair – but they will deliver it. Ok fine. So here comes the delivery man (the next day, or something like that – I know it wasn’t long). Here is where intelligence comes in. You ordered, for this patient, a bariatric potty chair. Delivered. You ordered, for this patient, a bariatric wheel chair, which you are rolling into my house. You ordered, for this patient – a STANDARD shower chair! STOP!!! What is that little stool for???? Oh, that’s his shower chair?? Seriously??? You expect me to allow my husband to sit on that in the shower – you know, the place where there is water, soap and its SLIPPERY – when my toilet seat is wider???????? So I look at the sticker – weight limit 250. Cue the buzzer here – epic fail. So we send the shower chair back, and after some serious adjustments to the bill (trying to make me pay for equipment they took back), all was well. The wheelchair was awesome, the VA came through with a proper shower bench, and we went on about our lives, making adjustments, but in general just happy that we still had each other, and that we didn’t have to go through this company for anything else.

So back to May of this year, when I called for a replacement back. Should be covered under the warranty as far as I’m concerned, because he hasn’t had the chair a year! I call – and its my friend, Lacko Intelligenceo. Same guy. I tell him the seat back is tearing. He says let me check the dates – comes back on the phone and tells me the warranty expired YESTERDAY, but he will honor it (this is important). Cool – please order the seat back. He says, ok, I will call you when it comes in. Good deal – mission accomplished. Yeah, right. The following week, we just so happen to be about a block from this place, so I decide to swing in and see if the new chair back is there. Answer – “Well, no, its not here, you see its a BARIATRIC seat back and so it may take it a while to get here”. Let me paint this picture for those of you who have never looked. A wheelchair seat back is a piece of vinyl/leather with two metal bars running in a seam on the sides, with holes for the screws to go through the bar and the wheelchair. It would take a good seamstress with a proper sewing machine about 2 hours to make one. Maybe. Ok, so what choice do we have. We wait, May turns to June, we wait. No call. I check – no its not there. So yesterday, I call, and miracle of miracles, its THERE! Yeah! I have to go to the grocery store anyway, so I’ll go by, pick it up, go grocery shopping, come home and we can put it on the wheelchair, right? Yeah, ok. In your dream world maybe, but in Lacko Intelligenceo’s world it doesn’t quite work that way…….

I go and walk in to the business, tell him why I am there. He goes back in the back, comes out with a package and says here it is, pushes a few buttons on his calculator, and says “$38.50”. I say “No, I don’t think so, this is a warranty replacement”. “It is?” (I see intelligence running a world record mile to get out the door at this point). So he fills out a receipt and gives me the part. I leave, go do my shopping, and head home. Get the groceries unloaded, and I start putting them away while hubby and youngest son set up to “fix the wheelchair”. Ok, I’ll just put the rest of the food away and start supper and let them do their thing, right? WRONG. Because, my brilliant son the college student does something his overly trusting mother didn’t even think to do – he reads the LABEL! Says right there on the plastic – “SEAT”. So we think, well, it LOOKS the same – maybe they are interchangeable. The old one comes off, and it becomes apparent right away – they aren’t. So, I call my friend – and I use this term in the most sarcastic way imaginable. He answers (I think he is the only one who works there), I explain the problem, and he says, “Well are you sure? Cause I know I ordered a seat back. I’m pretty sure I ordered a seat back. I think I did, maybe they sent me the wrong thing. I don’t think I ordered a seat – you didn’t need a seat, did you?” REALLY???????????? Looks like intelligence is in the Bahamas for a week. Make a long story short (which is impossible at this point) he promised to re order a seat back for me, and I am taking him the seat the next time I go to town – cause I’m sure not making a special trip!

So, hubby still has a sagging wheel chair back, I have a few more gray hairs, and am expecting a few more if and when the real part actually comes in. Note to self – when it does come in, maybe take the wheelchair with you to pick it up and get ol’ Lacko to put it on for you (he did offer) – it might provide good comic relief………..

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