Thursday, 21 March 2013


We have two empty oxygen cylinders. It happens from time to time; I can predict when, because I can't predict when Mog will need to use them.

Anyway, we had one empty one, but, well, we have the concentrator, one big one and four full small ones, so swapping it wasn't top priority. And then we had two, and it seemed to be worth making the phone call and arranging to be in all day.

I phoned on Friday, and delivery was arranged for Monday. A little bit of confusion; they thought we only had one cylinder, I explained we have five, and end of call.

On Saturday the oxygen man turned up. With one cylinder. Can't swap two - policy. Frustrating but fine; we swap one cylinder and I plan to phone again on Monday.

On Monday a different tech phones as he needs to do an audit. He turns up, replaces the other cylinder, counts all the bottles, and inspects the concentrator.

The concentrator works fine, but fails the test, as it does not have a shiny sticker on the front with the supply company logo on. It must be exchanged.

I ask whether we can simply put a sticker on the concentrator, but apparently that is against policy. These concentrators are not kept in stock; one will be ordered and then an appointment made to swap them over.

On Wednesday the tech rings back; he will bring the shiny new concentrator "about 1ish".

At 3pm the oxygen van pulls up outside, and shiny new concentrator is brought inside. It needs charging but checks out fine otherwise. Usually we charge it for a couple of hours, it can then run off battery for a good few hours, or slowly and silently discharge itself until we charge it up again. Charging is not silent.

The tech leaves, we carry on with life as usual, ignoring the irritating whine from the charger. Finally it reaches 100% and I unplug it.

As I get the girls to bed, I am plagued by an intermittent beep. Smoke alarms all fully functional, ventilators and monitors all charged; I track it down to the concentrator. Every 43 seconds, pip. Silence, 43 seconds, pip. Repeat until I plug it back in. Whine.

Fair enough, perhaps, despite reading 100% it actually needs a full day on charge?

I leave it alone overnight and check again in the morning. Pip. 43 seconds, pip. Etc. I turn it on; it runs fine when plugged in but immediately switches itself off when unplugged. Not actually that transportable then.

So I phone the oxygen company, and explain that they have removed a fully functional bit of kit, replacing it with one which does not work. The person at the other end of the phone appears to be having difficulty with this concept, but eventually concedes that we do, in fact, require a concentrator which works properly. She goes away to consult the tech chappie.

Tech chap rings again, and makes arrangements to return with fully functional concentrator later today.

He returns with our old concentrator, still minus the magic sticker. I dig out the manual, I demonstrate the issue. He plugs in the previously fully functional concentrator. Which immediately displays an error message and refuses to charge.

I may have muttered rude things at this point.

Two concentrators dismantled, batteries checked, new charger exchanged for old, known to be functional charger. Old concentrator decides to start charging.

I suggest removing sticker from new concentrator and pasting it onto front of old one. Can't do that - policy.

It is the battery in the new one which is not working. I suggest swapping batteries. Can't do that - policy.

So, after four phone calls and four visits, we do have a full set of cylinders, and a fully functional but against policy concentrator. Oxygen tech will now have to order new transportable concentrator, and will phone when it is in, to arrange delivery.

I explain that Mog - and therefore her concentrator - will be in respite for a couple of days next week. That's ok - he will phone first to check we are home. But - and if the rest hasn't had you wandering cross-eyed in circles yet, then you haven't been walking in our world long enough - if Mog is not here, he will have to visit anyway, in order to drop a card through our door. Because if a visit has been scheduled, then a missed visit must be "carded", whether or not the tech knows it is an unsuitable visit time. Policy.



Anonymous said...

Have to chuckle--Gotta love policy--Ugh isn't it quite frustrating at times. But when I start getting irritated etc. I have to remind myself that the person I am talking to is the middle man and not the one to whom I should express all my frustrations. Love it how the ones in charge hide behind others.

Tina said...

Bet you wish you were back with AL. Lol

Lisa B said...

Wonder how long 'policy' would work if it was one of their own that this happened to. It must be so frustrating for you.

Unknown said...

:-S All just completely crazy.


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