This morning started out well enough for a random Thursday in November. For the first time in a few days there was some blue sky, the coffee hit the spot, and there was minimal kid drama in the house before heading off to school. Not bad at all.
The day ahead was supposed to be ok, too. I needed to take Mom to a doctor’s appointment, and given the distance and other logistics, it would take most of the day. No big deal. I had cleared my calendar, so I was ready. And I had Mom ready, too.
Not So Fast
Just before hopping in the car, it occurred to me that the doctor’s office hadn’t called to confirm the appointment. Strange. So I called them. The very kind sounding person who took my call said the appointment wasn’t scheduled for today. In fact, it wasn’t scheduled at all. They had Mom marked down as a no-show from back in October. She also told me that they’d sent a “No-Show Letter” to Mom. Then she asked me, still kindly, if I’d like to reschedule. For February.
I swallowed my frustration and tried to speak calmly, “Where was the ‘No-show letter’ sent?” It was an important question, because as Power of Attorney (POA), I manage all of Mom’s every day affairs. To do so, I receive all of her mail. So I was surprised to learn the letter was sent to her old address, which I’d changed, with this very office, on three different occasions. Oy.
While we were talking, I had found my notes regarding my call in October to schedule today’s appointment (the date, who I spoke with, etc.). I mentioned this information to the very kind person on the phone. The tone of her voice told me she felt for me and the situation (and I appreciated that), but her words told me there was nothing she could do–except reschedule. For February. And when we come in February, I’ll need to bring in the appropriate documents to change the address. Again.
I called right away to tell Mom that we didn’t have an appointment for today after all. She initially thought she did something to mix it up (which always stings), but she seemed satisfied when I said it wasn’t her fault–and moved on with her day. Phew.
I had just started thinking about what I could get done with the rest of the day when an email popped up from Mom’s assisted living facility. I make it a point to read all their email immediately, but wished I hadn’t read this one. Some procedural stuff related to Mom’s residence had to be done. And it needed to be done…today.
As Mom’s POA, taking care of any insurance, financial, or healthcare related tasks is pretty much a pain in the a#%. Like any son or daughter would, I do it without giving it a thought, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a pain. It’s not the fact that I have to do the tasks, it’s what it takes to deal with these institutions. Maybe I’m lazy or idealistic (or both) but it always seems more difficult than it needs to be. Kind of like going to the DMV. That’s how it feels. Do you like going to the DMV? I don’t either.
Oh well, the mission today was to the Social Security office, so off I went. Where I waited. And then waited some more. And then spoke to a kind person in that office. After a couple of hours, that mission was (almost) accomplished–and hopefully will be 100% done with a follow up call tomorrow.
Not a Huge Deal
The reality is that none of this is the end of the world. I know that. The people I spoke with at the doctor’s office and Mom’s assisted living were (as always) very nice. But all the nice people in the world can’t make up for the unpredictability, bureaucracy and sheer repetition involved in dealing with these institutions (don’t forget the right forms!).
Sometimes it feels good to rant. So thanks. I’m good now but am continually surprised by how quickly the day can go sideways. Maybe you can you relate?