The Samantha Years

What is the protocol on this one?

I love good customer service….

Ask me how my day was, thank me for my business, return my calls and I am putty in your paws.

Ever since Samantha, companies have to follow through on what they promise. It’s a matter of her health, her livelihood, and in some cases the difference between being at home and a hospital stay.

One time a company delivered 30 blood-glucose monitoring kits instead of 30 cans of ketogenic formula. I was panicked and quite unhappy. In retaliation, I learned how to make our own ketogenic formula.

We have ordered a hospital bed for Samantha. She needs to have her upper body elevated at night and as she gets bigger I need to have a bed we can raise and lower.

We have been working with insurance and a DME (durable medical equipment) company for 18 months to get said hospital bed.

I am not a patient woman by trade…but I am trying. Really…..

A couple months ago I called the DME company to see what the status was. Our rep…Mr. L, was not in so I left a message.

A week later, I never got a return call so I left another message…waited….no return…another message…waited…no return….you see a pattern here don’t you?

Every message I left got a little snippier. I tried to keep my cool but really, we’re waiting 18 months on a bed and our rep doesn’t return my calls?

After three weeks of one-way phone tag, I called and asked to speak to the manager.

“Yes, I’m trying to get the status of our bed order. I’ve left numerous messages for Mr. L. and he hasn’t returned my calls. Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of this.”

“Oh,” said Miss Manager. There was a long pause on the other side. “I am so very sorry. Um….Mr. L died three weeks ago.”


My heart stopped. All those messages I left; those snippy messages….talking about the importance of good customer service….Mr. L. had died.

I felt like an ass. Should I feel like an ass? I didn’t know. What is customer service protocol when someone dies?

I took a deep breath and a step back from the situation. “I am so very, very sorry.”

We talked about Mr. L and what had happened. We talked about how awful I felt leaving messages. Finally, I had the nerve to say it…..

“You know….it’s been three weeks, perhaps you should forward his phone so people won’t leave messages expecting to get a call back.”

“Yes, I know. We need to do something but we’re just so sad.”

I never knew Mr. L personally….only a phone call or two but I felt like I should send flowers or something.

I did abandon my original plans to pull the order all together. So, they still have my business and we still wait for the bed.

Some things you just have to let go. Rest in peace Mr. L.

6 thoughts on “What is the protocol on this one?”

  1. Oh! Oh my. You did the right thing – I probably would feel like an ass too, even though you probably shouldn't. After all, we moms are pretty used to the one-way phone tag thing, and for no good reason at all! It's not like it's unheard of!


  2. First…I am pondering which DMG company this is 😉 Next, I will say YOU ARE tolerant. Death, not good but speaking in business terms – when did capitalism ever pause for something as human as that? In my warped mind I am snickering because I can't recall one place I have ever, ever done accounting with, for, etc that would have waited a day to forward those calls!Somedays it is nice the tragedy lies in others hands!


  3. Oh Heather…I so love reading your posts. You have such a way of nailing the poignancy of everyday life and giving it a wink. Thank you for always giving me a little shot of perspective…Alissa


  4. Have you gotten your bed yet? If not , where are you located? I work fir a DME billing service in Florida and wehave companies all over the US. It should never take that long to get any kind of DME delivered when it is medically necessary. Please feel free to email me at ronip@arc4dme.comand I will be glad to point you in the right direction and get that beautiful little girl what she needs!


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