Making a phone call is not as easy as one would think.

Today I spent another day over with Pop and Mum.
Yesterday I spent almost 7 hours, mowing, weeding their garden and attending to Pop when he needed to get out of the chair. Today I was over there at 9am, sleep is not coming to me and I worry about how mum is coping trying to help him. A neighbour visited who normally mows their lawns (something I have told them that I shall do from now on) yes they protest, they would rather pay someone to do it. They try to pay me, I don’t accept their money, though mum has on more than one occasion slipped $50 into my handbag without me knowing, until I get home. I also broke down into tears telling them I need them to seriously think about going into Care, or buying another smaller place in a Residential facility that has 24/7 help. Pop’s reply we don’t want to buy something else and spend your inheritance…

I also tried to organise a NEPT (Non Emergency Patient Transport) pick up for Pop who has an appointment in the morning to be assessed for a Physio class once a week not far from home. His neighbour has kindly offered to take him, but I suggested that he needed perhaps medical personnel to be on hand in case he fell. Neighbour agreed.

One would think it an easy thing to do, ring the phone number (from the Net) that stated you must have a doctors referral to book…..
Phone call 7.50am to doctors surgery – “Can I get Dr blah blah to phone me back I need a referral please for my father for transport”.
“I shall pass the message on”.
Almost 3 hours later no phone call.
I phone again “I left a message this morning..no one has called me back..I need to get this organised soon if possible”.
“Can you hold”
“Yes”.
Neighbour, mum and dad all looking on at me strumming my fingers on the kitchen table.
Receptionist comes back on the line.
“Sorry we don’t know about the patient transport, we have taxi vouchers”.
Me… “So do my parents, but my father requires medical supervision as he is having trouble walking”.
“Hold”.
I wait.
“No sorry we cannot help, we don’t know about this transport service”.
Me… polite but angry frustration – you ARE a doctors surgery aren’t you?

“Thank you, I shall try and find out more”.
Look up website again and retrieve number of Ambulance Victoria.
“What do I need to book transport, thought it was simply a doctors referral – but his doctor won’t talk to me (not going in to pay him money that is) and isn’t aware of the procedure”.
“You need to get the facility where he has the appointment to book it”.
“Thank you I shall call you back if needed”.
Phoned the ‘facility”.
“No we don’t do that, never heard of it before, can give you a volunteer patient transport number, but they aren’t medically qualified so they will probably say no”.
Can you see my anger by now?
“I’ll get back to you”.
Phoned Ambulance service again, a different person answered.
“Sorry for the run around, but you do need to get your doctor or registered Nurse to make the booking”
Pulling my nails across their kitchen table.
Phoned Doctors surgery again.
“I believe a doctor has to authorise, can I please speak to Dr. Blah Blah”.
“Hang on I’ll see if he is free”.
“Hello Jenny it’s Dr. Blah Blah how can I help?
“I need you to phone Ambulance Victoria to advise that dad needs a patient transport pick up in the morning, he needs to be there by 9.15am”.
“Ok I shall do that for you”.
Gee thanks.
Me “Can you phone me back to confirm that the booking is made please?”
“Yes I shall phone you back”.
30 minutes pass.
Phone call.
“I have organised the pick up, but please for your peace of mind ring and confirm the booking (as I may not have done my job correctly)”.
Yes I haven’t anything else I had to do today.
I phone.
“I believe Dr Blah Blah has authorised the pick up of my father by the NEPT for tomorrow morning and wish to confirm?”
“Yes he has, we are picking him up at 9.15am”
“No his appointment is AT 9.15”.
“Oh…let me check..hmm the doctor didn’t say that, ok tell him to be ready from 8.15 onwards, if we have an ambulance with wheelchair access we will send that, if not it will be a stretcher, so can you tell him not to be alarmed?”
“Thank you”. (I think)
“What will the cost be?”
“I have to put you through to Head Office for that”
Head office…”No I shall put you through to accounts department”.
I am surprised I have any finger nails left.
“Accounts Dept, no if he shows his Pensioner card, it won’t cost him anything”.
Finally some relief.
Then a phone call to the facility.
“I have arranged for dad’s transportation for the morning appointment, you need to call them though when he is ready to be picked up please”.
“Oh ok…we do that? Yes alright that shouldn’t be a problem”.
Not unless you want an 86 year old sitting in your reception for an entire day..not a problem at all.
Hang up.
I phone back the Ambulance Service.
“Will we have to do this each time he requires transport”?
“Yes afraid so, or the facility can phone us to say he is requiring and we will book in”.
Phone the facility back.
“Sorry but for the future with the Physio appointments, you will need to book the transport each time”.
“Oh…ok guess we can do that”.

Can you imagine the elderly trying to organise this mess? Why in this country are things made so difficult, to have the run around and countless phone calls … they have paid their taxes…they should be entitled to a decent system or perhaps even a system that medical personnel know exists. I can only hope they turn up in the morning!