Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas "Fun"

We had a very nice Christmas and hope you did too. Christmas Eve didn't go as planned, however, because Jack's ventilator decided to stop working just as Mark was getting ready to bring him to my sister's house. The other kids and I went to Christmas Eve Mass and the plan was that Mark would meet us at my sister's house for dinner. Mark called me because the vent wasn't working right -- it wouldn't deliver any breaths when it was hooked up to Jack and it wouldn't turn off at all. Mark put Jack back on his other vent and then called Apria Healthcare and told them to bring out a replacement vent. Well, for my friends who also have to deal with Apria on a regular basis, does it not surprise you that Apria tried to get away with telling us they would bring a replacement vent the day after Christmas. Wrong! The RT told Mark "you do have one working ventilator sir". HELLO, we have a back-up vent for this very reason. We asked him what we were supposed to do if our back-up vent went out and we then had no back-up? We stressed the fact that we pay for two vents for a reason and he'd best get us a new vent now. We then got a call telling us that they didn't have any ventilators in their warehouse. Okay, so the only company that provides the entire Phoenix area with ventilators has NO back-ups in their warehouse? Mark's exact words to the guy were "that's B.S.!" Supposedly, they had a vent in another office, clear across town and he didn't have a key to get in the office. Let me get this straight ... the RT who is on call has no access to the only facility that allegedly has the only back-up vent in the entire valley. Are you believing any of this? Me neither. After multiple phone calls and our refusal to budge on the issue (and me already mentally composing my letter to the newspaper, the Department of Health, and every other conceivable person I could think of) ... the guy finally agreed to bring us out a back-up vent. (I'm not sure how one magically appeared.) Needless to say, he didn't have much of a Christmas spirit when he arrived at our house at 11pm on Christmas Eve! The really scary part is that it took over an hour for someone to return our phone call after reporting that we had a malfunctioning ventilator. If we were strictly Medicaid and didn't have private insurance, we wouldn't even get a back-up vent, so we would have been bagging Jack for over an hour before we even got a phone call and who knows for how long before they would have gotten us another vent. Apparently, Apria doesn't understand that a ventilator is LIFE SUPPORT and requires immediate action. Anyway, we survived our Christmas Eve crisis and everything worked out in the end, but Mark and Jack missed out on spending Christmas Eve with family.

Thankfully, Christmas Day was relaxing, fun and uneventful. Here are some pics:

Jack and his cousins and sister hanging out at the park after Christmas dinner

The cousins playing a little basketball

Christmas Eve -- hanging out in Jack's room wrapping all the gifts (and waiting for the Apria guy)

Eric leaving his Aunt Joan's house -- so happy about the size of his gift


Anonymous said...

Oh my that must have been very frustrating and scary. Good grief they call it life support for a reason. It isn't like a vent is an accessory.

So glad that it all ended well.

That Mary is one beautiful young lady.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had equipment agnst, and I'm glad it was finally worked out. Poor Jack! It sounds like your Christmas was filled with family and fun. I hope 2008 is uneventful!

Nikki, Zachary's mommy said...

Now that just makes me angry! Apria is an absolute joke! We have a backup as well and am about to start throwing a fit on them tomorrow. The vent Zachary is using right now doesn't even alarm when I take him off to suction. I'm like..HELLOOOOO your not even hooked up!!!! I think its absolute negligence not to have a backup available when they take so dang long! Glad you had one to use!!

p.s. love Jack's new room!!

julie w said...

Ooh, that would have made me soo mad. That guy would certainly have been on the wrong end of a tongue lashing from me (no, that isn't something rude, just British ;) ) And believe you me, you don't want to get on the wrong side of me (ask John!). Glad it finally got sorted out, but it sucks that Mark and Jack had to miss out on Christmas eve.

Rachel Marini said...

I just have to shake my head at that story about Apria. Recently Gabe's humidifier on his ventilator was malfunctioning, so I called our company, Mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately it was a weekend. I relayed to the answering service lady our problem. She said she'd get someone to help and call me back. She called back 10 minutes later, once I had Gabe on the back-up ventilator, and told me I could go to the pharmacy and get another humidifier. What? Apparently she had no clue what equipment I was referring to. Scary to think the RT probably told her to say that... She also asked me if the ventilator was from Mid-Atlantic. Helllo!
Glad Jack managed to have a Merry Christmas. :)
With love,
Rachel M.

PS- Gabe's page is at and page name is: GabesSpecialPlace