On Monday, March 13, I took my orthotic inserts to Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics near my house to have them refurbished. It's been more than ten years, and they're literally falling apart, in that the rubber is disintegrating in places.
The guy I talk to takes a look and says, "Sure, we can do that for $50. But you'll have to bring them back next week because we're remodeling the office this week."
"So . . . come back Monday?" I ask.
"Better make it Tuesday," he says. "That'll give us time to get everything put away."
On Tuesday, March 21, I took my orthotics back to them along with the long-since-removed factory-installed insoles of my shoes, so they'd have a template. The lady who took them put my name on them with a sticky note.
Later that day, I got a call saying that I needed to pay them. They wanted me to give them my credit card, but since they called me and I was in the middle of something at work, I told them I'd call back. Which I did,
even later that day. I gave them my credit card number . . . but their machine wouldn't take it. She tried several times. Then called me back and tried a time or two more. Then said, "I guess someone didn't set something up right. I'll call you back when the machine works again."
On Friday, March 24, I get a call saying that they were able to process my payment and would now begin working on them. I thought to myself, "Begin? But you've had them for three days! With my card number!" But I didn't say anything. Because I am too damned polite.
It should be noted, at about this point, that the last time I had any work done on these orthotic inserts, it only took a couple of days. I'm sure you can all hear the ominous chord already, so there's no need for me to <ominous chord> . . . oops.
On Friday, March 31, I called them again to see what was up. Because it has now been an entire week since they said they were "starting" on my refurbish. They basically said that they were still working on it and would let me know when they were ready.
Today, April 13, I realized it has now been nearly three weeks since I dropped off my orthotics, and I still have heard nothing from them. So I called them. "I need a date when my orthotics are going to be ready." The lady acted like she had no idea what I was talking about, and had to look me up in the system. She put me on hold when she noticed that I'd dropped my stuff off on the 21st of March. When she came back, she said she'd call me back when she found out where my orthotics were. Take note of that.
An hour or so later, she calls me back. Turns out, my orthotics aren't in Lawrenceville at all. Oh, no. No, they're in Athens. But the guy working on them will be coming back "maybe Wednesday of next week?" and if I want her to, she can call me when they're ready for pickup. The only time they have called me during any of this was to get my credit card number, and then to tell me it finally went through.
I want to digress for a second and explain that (my) orthotics are designed to perfectly fit a particular pair of shoes. That's what the rubber covering is for. It is trimmed to just the right size so it fits snugly and doesn't move around in the shoe. Mine have high arches to support my feet (different for each foot), and my right insert also has an extension that supports my big toe to alleviate the pain of arthritis, which a podiatrist more than ten years ago prescribed. It is (to my knowledge) the only arthritic joint in my body, but it does hurt, at least a bit. So these orthotics 1) fit my Z-Coils perfectly, and 2) are designed to minimize any pain I might experience from day-to-day walking around.
Since March 21, I've been using an older pair of orthotics that the current pair — the ones that are, right now, in Athens, GA, for no reason I can discern — replaced. The older pair perfectly fit a pair of shoes I no longer own, and are therefore too short and slide around a bit. I use them in a pair of New Balance shoes that I wear from time to time when the Z-Coils are too clunky. They also do not have the arthritis extension under my right big toe. This means they are mostly effective, but not completely. It still hurts to walk for extended periods, and when I take the shoes off at night, I can tell that the inserts have slid forward in the shoe. I can also feel the seam between the hard plastic and the rubber as I walk, and once I notice it, it's all I can think about, thanks to my brain.
Have I mentioned that I've increased my daily Fitbit step-goal from 5000 to 6000 and then to 7500 during these same four weeks? So that instead of decreasing my activity, I've increased it?
I have explained all of that to Hanger the last two or three times we've spoken.
So . . . I called Athens. I explained who I am and asked them if my inserts were there. I might as well have asked her "What is the square foot of kumquat?" She said she had no idea what I was talking about, and that the Lawrenceville office must have meant that the person who does the refurbishing spends part of his time also working in Athens, and he took my orthotics "home" with him to finish . . . but she had no idea. And he . . . is not reachable.
I said, "Find out where they are, and I'll come get them. I'm sick of this run-around. I'll gladly drive the two hours to just have my inserts again." (It's a 53-minute drive to the Athens Hanger from my house.)
I can only imagine that, right now, Athens is on the phone with Lawrenceville complaining about what a nuisance I am, and why can't I just wait until Wednesday?
I will note that next Friday evening, I leave Atlanta for a week, during which I will drive to and spend time in San Antonio, TX, then drive back. If they don't have them back to me on Wednesday of next week — and at this point, I have no reason to believe that they will, given how lackadaisical they've been to this point — it will be May 3 before I could hope to have them. Or, alternatively, if there is some issue with them — and again, I have no real faith that there won't be, at this point — I'll have no time to get said issue looked at before I leave and spend a week in San Antonio walking around.
I'm beyond frustrated and crawling rapidly toward hostile at this point. If I don't hear from them before 4 PM, I'm going to call both numbers and get them to talk to each other and resolve this.
I'm sure people who work in medical offices wonder why patients are such asses. And it's because of things like this. No calls. Nothing at all to tell me what's going on. A procedure that should not have taken more than a couple of days is now stretched out to three weeks at least, and who knows whether they'll be ready by next Wednesday? Who knows if they're ready now? Who knows, in fact, where my inserts are physically located? Lawrenceville? Athens? At the unreachable guy's house? In his car, possibly somewhere in the Adirondacks on vacation? (Speculation. I have no idea why he's not reachable.)
This. This right here is why people go from being polite to being That Guy™. I am now That Guy™. I don't like being That Guy™. I would rather not be him. But the only way to get any satisfaction is to become him.
— That Guy™