Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Bed Story

My Bed was stuck on high.
it was the wee hours of the morning and i couldn't get in.
I spent an hour or so, looking for the manual crank,
moving the piles of tools and project bags around my bed.
Then the dressers and at long last, I found the crank, but weary from all the moving and
rearranging, I was fading.
The buttons didn't respond.
For months, if I held the cord a certain way, I could get it to move
up down, lift my head or legs, now, no longer.

I gave up on trying the crank at the head of the bed, then i tried the foot.
It's a fitted tube that goes over an inset piece...
and it kept popping out. There some positioning but finally I cranked the bed down,
my shoulder ached.

On awakening, just to see I pushed the buttons and they worked!
But that night, Sunday, returning to bed, I had to hand crank
it down again as the down didn't respond,
only the up did.

So what to do?

I was proud that it took me just one minute to find the Invoice
for my bed from 5.5 years ago. I needed it
because after looking on line for information
I needed more than the name of my bed -- I needed a model number and serial number.

There was none on the invoice-- the letters and numbers
on the invoice didn't correspond to anything on the
Invacare site, and I was unable to crawl under the bed to find anything.

But perhaps Invacare could help anyway--- the thing that wasn't working
was called the IVC pendant. It's a part and it seems on some models,
it's removable. When my aide came, I had her look under the bed
and we could see where the pendant entered the motor, but a couple
of cautious tugs did not remove it.

Invacare has a help/ answer site, that charges money -- that varies
with the urgency of your need, for the answer. When i refused to
pay, then a screen popped up, offering me the answer, but in a day.
( Two weeks later, I still haven't heard from them).

I called the firm that got me the bed. They told me that I could get the bed replaced within five years
-- of course this is 5.5 years, right on time, to not be able to get free help.
A lovely person there said that she would contact her supervisor to see if they could
find my patient sheet to get information on the bed model and serial number,
they would have to go through paperfiles-- which they might not have any longer as this information
was not in the computerized records. YEah we'ret alking back in 2006, they hadn't bothered to note
the model number or serial number of the bed.

I called the medical supply arm of my clinic who said they didn't know whether or not they did
that kind of thing, and it took four days for me to find out if it's even the kind
of repair they do.... i hate when i have to ask whether i can ask the question.

So then I had the idea of asking those who have electric beds. I called the
closest hospital who said they do it in-house and named different manufacturers
than mine. Then closest nursing home who said the same thing. The next closest nursing home
told me to call tomorrow to talk to maintenance -- their day was over. Over?
I was talking to them at 3:30. Turns out their day ended at 3 p.m. (YIKES! poor residents,
no wonder the place only had one star out of five in their ratings)

I called an electrician firm from the yellow pages -- I asked if they gave free estimates.
The phone answerer didn't know if they did ( their ad said they did, but my strategy for first contact is
to confirm simple information) and said she would have them call me tomorrow (This
was at 3 or so and they were already gone). BTW, they never called back.

I write this latest sorry saga this as a kind of reminder and rebuke, for all the "you need to advocate for yourself"
blather , to offer up my thanks for still having my mind, but my fervent wish to not have to use it
or my energy in this way, my wish to walk again, so I could work on stopping the tar sands
disruption, stopping the threat to our watershed that frackking poses, writing something

I asked everyone local if they knew of any electricians, explaining that my bed wasn't working.
Maybe they still don't understand what paralysis means and how being able to get in and out of bed
without inordinate difficulty would be a nice thing, especially as I live alone.

But only one friend responded within 24 hours.... another lesson for me in who I cannot count on.

The universe heard my silent cries of anguish. When I was finally able to speak to the woman designated as the one who would know if the medical supply firm might even undertake repair
she said maybe but needed the information I had been unable to find or get -- the model and serial number.

She had a truck in the area she said and could be there shortly. Yes -- No -- I was stuck in bed and it would take me a least a half hour to wriggle /slide out and into my chair.

When the truck arrived, I explained to the wonderful woman that it was the pendant that wasn't working not the bed. Turns out she had a pendant on her truck and she crawled under the bed to undo
mine. Turns out it has a cable/phone type clip on the end that was lodged firmly in place...a little
screw driver pressing assistance and it was removed and a new one was placed it.

The model and serial number was on the leg of the bed, so I had that at last for future reference.
So after five days of fear and dead-ends, everything was done within 45 minutes of an answered
phone call.

And about an hour after this the lovely young woman from the distributor called to say they had been unable to find the information I wanted but that it should be on the leg of the bed, reminding me of how
little use my aide is to me, but I remain grateful for small things.

She at least gets most of what is my computer-print out with illustrations shopping list which is
better than five other people the agency uses.

I can't go anywhere or do anything but I can, once again, get in and out of bed with less fear.

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