Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, January 28, 2005

i'm the kind of person who doesn't get really angry easily. But when I do, if I start to cry, I've gone way over the angry limit. I've been known to bury pencils in walls. I actually left one in the wall for weeks, to remind me not to do that. Today I cried.

Our son in Oregon has graciously offered to buy us airline tickets so we can see our three grandsons, two of whom we have yet to meet. He IM'd me last night and said the tickets would be over 1500 dollars. I told him I'd check on this end and see what I could come up with.

I spent more than four hours on the telephone today, just trying to get some information. When I got it, I wanted to kill something. Minor background information, for those new readers who don't know, I'm an oxygen patient. I'm supposed to be on oxygen 24/7. Now, I know you're not allowed to take oxygen tanks on the airplanes. So I'm trying to find out the procedure for traveling.

I found out the tickets, round trip from here to the town he lives in, are 380 dollars each. Much better than the 1500 he was quoted. However, the oxygen complicates things. Since you can't take oxygen on the plane with you, you have to arrange for the airline to provide it. And they will, on the plane only, for a minimum of one hundred dollars... for each leg of the trip. This is not a joke. The flight from Springfield MO to Minneapolis MN (!) to Portland OR to Redmond OR would cost 380 for my ticket, 380 for Sir Mugley's ticket, and 400 for oxygen while I'm sitting in the plane seat. And the kicker: the plane from Portland to Redmond does not have oxygen provisions. So it's either fly without the oxygen for about an hour (providing there are no delays), or have someone pick us up in Portland and drive across the state to Redmond.

At this point I'm on the verge of tears, I'm so ticked off. Then comes the conversations, after long stretches on the phone listening to my "choices", with Medicare and Medicaid, to find out how much help I could expect from them on the oxygen charges. After about an hour and a half, I discover Medicare covers equipment only, on the ground only. So I try Medicaid, because we're low enough on the poverty scale that Medicaid pays what Medicare won't. Well, they won't cover it either, because the airlines provide their own oxygen, instead of going through an oxygen provider who might be contracted with Medicaid.

So what it boils down to is this: I can stick my son with almost 1300 dollars just in travel expenses, or try to find another way to get there that would be cheaper. I did call Amtrak, but they are more expensive, and it would have taken three days to get there and three days back. This would leave about 12 hours to visit with the kids. No good.

As Howard Dean would say, "AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!"

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