Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Check Engine Light

This past Saturday, I had a few minor errands I had to run which involved my using my good old jeep to get to and from those places. I didn't drive far -about 10 miles, round trip, on one errand, at which time I had stopped at my son's house, briefly, before going on to the next stop on my list. (I shut the jeep down while at my son's house though.) After that, I proceeded on to a friend's house to pick up eggs that she sells and from there, back to home.

It was after that last stop that when I started the jeep up again, I noticed something that is very disconcerting to me.

That darned "Check Engine" light on my dashboard came on and stayed on!

I hate that light!

Why? Because it tells you virtually nothing.

I called my son and told him what was going on and then, went back up to his place so he could take a "look-see" and try to determine, if possible, something going awry with the jeep. However, because the jeep wasn't making any different noises, no obvious leakage, or broken belts and the other gauges were all registering at the correct levels, he learned no more about what was causing that light to go on and STAY ON than I would have been able to ascertain had I looked under the hood.

Actually, that light coming on and staying on as far as giving anything productive if it were me checking things out would amount to lifting the hood, looking at the engine and muttering to myself then, "Well, the engine is still there!"

He -and my ex-son-in-law, (the mechanic) both agreed that the jeep would have to be checked with some kind of sensor equipment in order to try to pinpoint where the problem lies and in all likelihood, according to those mechanical minds, it's probably just some sensor that has been tripped and nothing actually wrong with the jeep at all.

Still and all, it bothers me to see that light come on as soon as I start the old buggy up, ya know. Actually, it scares me cause even though they feel there is nothing going on there that would be harmful, causing the jeep to not function at all, I have this fear of going someplace and something happening then where I would end up stranded, ya know.

Now, to carry my theory though about this "check engine" thing a tad further, I was thinking too the past couple of days about other things that maybe should have some kind of check engine alarm system in place though which might possibly call attention, at least, to people that there's some kind of problem existing.

Take for example the things I have to deal with in order to receive certain supplies for my bodily and health maintenance. I have a colostomy and also, problems maintaining my blood sugar levels and to purchase the items I need for those areas and issues, I have to order my supplies through a company located a state away from me. I can't just walk into a pharmacy or medical supply place and make a purchase there, even though there may be a place within reasonable driving distance where I could purchase those things, unless they have a scrip from my physician, I can't go there and make purchases even though the colostomy is something that is, for me, a life-long item I need to exist, if I want my insurance to cover any of these necessities, I have to go through a medical supplies place. (Walmart carries the diabetic test strips and are for sale over the counter there, but my insurance won't cover that purchase under any circumstances through Walmart's pharmacy. Go figure that one out.)

Anyway, although the supplier I deal with has, until recently, been pretty quick about filling my orders and getting the things I need to me relatively fast, the last two orders I had to place with them took a lot longer than normal to get processed and delivered to me. Thank goodness with respect to the colostomy products, I always do keep tab on how much of those supplies I have on hand and don't wait till I am almost out of those before I re-order. I have no idea what on earth I would do if I were really low on those things and my order got screwed up and delayed and in the process, I depleted my last barrier or pouch! Boy, would that be a big mess, huh? At least, in a pinch, I could go to Walmart and purchase the diabetic test strips there but it would also cost me an arm and a leg to get them too, so I really do depend on this company to be fast and efficient in filling either of these type of orders for me.

But a week ago Friday, I had ordered test strips and they had told me no problem, my order was being processed and that I would receive said strips in 1-3 working days -which to me translated to being the following Monday or Tuesday of last week. And, since I wasn't out of those strips completely -just very low though -I figured I had adequate time till the shipment arrived.

But then, Monday a.m. I had a call from the supplier -a recorded message telling me that my order was being processed and if I had any questions, it gave a number in the billing department I could call to answer any questions I might have.

Now, if you got a call like that, what would you do?

If, like me, you were only interested in knowing your order was being processed, does this message indicate there is a problem with said order? I sure didn't think so! So, I ignored the call, figuring it was one of their many automated message things.

But when Tuesday rolled around and I got another call with the same message, I decided to call them to find out why there were making these rather confusing message-calls to me.

Good thing I did that too though as it turned out that they informed me that they needed a scrip from my physician to fill said order. Hmmmm. I knew my doctor had done that back in November or December when she first put me on this regimentation program of using the test strips to track my blood sugar levels daily because if she hadn't sent said scrip, I never would have received the initial order with the test kit and strips and stuff I had purchased back then.

Then I found out that they had somehow mixed up the two different doctors who had faxed them the necessary scrips I need on file to purchase the items I use. They had somehow decided that the surgeon who had sent them the scrip almost four years ago now for the colostomy supplies was also the one responsible for ordering the diabetic stuff I needed! Hmmm. How did that happen anyway? Seems they had somehow "misplaced" the scrip from my family physician for the diabetic supplies and put the surgeon's name in there instead but when they realized there was no scrip from that doctor for the supplies and they had contacted his office, they learned he was unreachable. Yep! That's because he moved to Florida almost a year ago now!

So, they said they would fax my family doctor to have her send them the necessary forms, etc., and all would be fine. Just to be on the safe side though, I called my PCP's office and told them they needed this scrip so the person in that office then said no problem and she would fax that order over to them right away.

On Wednesday, I got a call from the supplier -an actual call, with a real live person on the other end of the line (not a recording) and that person said not only do they need this scrip faxed to them but my doctor also needed to phone them personally and give them verbal confirmation of the medical need for these things too. And they said they had tried to fax the forms they needed from the PCP but they had had no response from their office.

So, back to calling my PCP's staff again and telling them this is what is going on, what they need, etc., etc. And my PCP's staff informed me they had faxed the order over the day before but the supplier said they had never received that plus my PCP's staff said they never received any fax or information at all from the supplier that day.

So, round and round this went until eventually things got to what is really the root of this whole problem with the supplier.

It seems that with the initial scrip my PCP sent them, they never received a form from my PCP stating the medical necessity for me for these things and therefore, they couldn't process my order because it wasn't in compliance with my insurance company and this problem had been existing since the original order was placed to them back in November or December of last year!

And since this problem is still on-going since I have yet to receive my order and probably won't get it till tomorrow at the earliest now, I've been thinking maybe they need some kind of "Check engine" alarm someplace in their work place to alert them to a problem that has existed for now over 5-6 months that they haven't been able to receive the co-payment from my insurance company for these supplies.

If you had something on hold that long, waiting for payment, etc., wouldn't you try to get that straightened out? If they had contacted me back in December, this all could have been avoided although they were calling me virtually every other day (or so it seemed) asking me if I was needing to order more colostomy or diabetic supplies! Go figure!

The more I thought about this "check engine" thing, the more I thought of other areas in which such a signal might also come in handy.

I thought that maybe if each of us had some kind of alarm system like this within us, maybe it would help us to be aware of other things which might be in need of some attention.

One thing that came to my mind really quickly was with respect to problems so many people have that knowing various signs, signals could alert them that there could be a need for the individual -or a family member or friend perhaps -to seek out drug and alcohol treatment centers. Now I suppose some folks would say that when someone needs care for an addiction type problem they should already be aware of that need without an alarm of sorts going off for them, but unfortunately, that isn't usually the case. The addict may know they are abusing drugs or alcohol but not really see it as the problem it is and family and/or friends are often totally unaware that they are guilty of enabling the condition to remain. Thus, no one does anything about the situation until things reach a point where things are really, really untenable. It's not as easy a thing to contend with as many people may believe it is when it comes to getting help for the person in need because so many people don't understand the full ramifications of their actions.

And then too, I thought about myself and wishing that perhaps some kind of check engine light had been available within me throughout my lifetime.

Oh, we all have these alerts that do signal there are physical ailments present although many of us also ignore them too, like the jeep's check engine light as being a sensor that has gone awry and will eventually reset itself, ya know.

But I'm thinking more about something that would have been nice to be in place that would have shown me -maybe -ways to move about more easily along the social spectrum involved in our lives. Something that would have beeped at me to say "don't say that!" Or, an alarm that would have gone off to give me more insight as to how to find problems and correct them that pertained to my worklife -how to determine correctly little signals and nuances that many people see automatically but others, like myself, manage to overlook somehow.

I dunno! Maybe things like this already do exist but, like my grandkids, I'm maybe just more than a bit naive about seeing them, hearing them, when they do sound an alarm and am great at just ignoring them in the end anyway.


Jocelyn said...

What a journey you took me on in this post--there is the courage of living with a colostomy, the fortitude to track down the problem, the frustrations so admirably dealt with, and the final reflections that take the whole thing to a larger scale.
Jeni, you are something else.

Sandee said...

I hate that check engine light too. I think we all do.

As for the other place? They need to get their act together soon. Good grief.

Have a terrific day. :)

... Paige said...

sensor light - the boys are right. a garage with a computer must hook up and tell ya what ails ya. could be as simple as your gas cap is not on tight enough.

we switched to the Reli-on tester & strips, $20 for a box of 50.

good luck with the jeep

Anonymous said...

I think the medical insurance "check engine light" is a great idea. But as far as alcohol and drug abuse go, most times, I think it's fairly obvious without a light ... we're just great at denial. We'd ignore the "check engine light," too, don't you think?

Trisha said...

Disturbed to know that you cant buy your meds directly from where it is closer to you. Sounds like medical aid is a complicated thing in the US. I wonder what happens to those without insurance. Found you on FB and sent you a friend request too - that account is in my real name, but once you are on the age you wd see my blogposts and know it is indeed me. There are pictures of friends and family and workplace there too if you wish to look.

Look forward to talking to you again soon, Jeni

O and you are so gorgeous :) That profile picture is lovely.

Jeni said...

The D&A thing, as enablers go, we may be very aware of what's happening but don't realize much of the time, the ramifications of those things, the physical ailments that mental stress can bring on us. And then somehow, somewhere, someone comes along and lights a candle, pointing us in the direction of a wonderful thing -that lovely 12-Step Program -that shows us a path that, if followed, can lead us back to a bit of sanity. But it's a hell of a long, hard walk at times to find that someone with that darned candle!

terri said...

I'd pay money for an internal check engine light! I'd want one that forewarns of a bad day ahead so I'd know to just stay in bed and start over the following day instead.