Wheelchair Updates

I realize and understand that, Mike. Adan probably resorted to the original invoice too. That pretty much is my point. Your people can be looking at the wheelchair and still not realize what has been upgraded. I seem to be the one who recognizes the changes.

From: mikem@txmobility.com <mikem@txmobility.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 16:19
To: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Subject: RE: FW: Wheelchair Updates

Scott,

I just want you to know that whenever I order parts it is only turning Adan’s quote into an order after I receive authorization. I apologize if you are unhappy, but we will order the other parts and when we come out to replace them you will not be charged for another service call.

Mike Matkin

Service Department

P: 832-445-0956 ext 208

F: 832-777-7032

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Wheelchair Updates

Mike, I realize you passed this order to Adam, but you can see for yourself that I was pretty specific about which parts I needed. Yet, two incorrect parts were ordered even though you have the serial number for this wheelchair on file. This wasn’t the first time either. Do you not remember ordering the wrong forks after Adan made a diagnostic call and phoned in the order. That was an excellent example of how I know your insistence on separate diagnostic calls is bogus. You zap your customers (not all of us are sheeple) for $135 and then still get the order wrong. That doesn’t seem ethical to me.

Notice that the charge isn’t the issue; after all, I’m the one who suggested $135 as a compromise when you were demanding $175. The issue is failing to deliver the quality service that you want to charge for. Sorry, no. I’m happy to pay for services performed, but not even prostitutes are brazen enough to demand payment up front. The mistake I made this time was giving the person actually making the order too much credit for intelligence. I should’ve gone to Invacare’s online parts catalog and gotten the correct part numbers myself. Can’t say I enjoy that chore, but I’ve certainly done it.

As for not being able to order a joystick boot without ordering an entire joystick, yeah, that seems like a tactic Invacare would use. They have been trying to freeze out field techs for decades. Of course the pretense is liability, but it’s a classic instance of the healthcare industry fleecing America.

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Sent: Monday, January 1, 2018 18:42
To: mikem@txmobility.com
Subject: Wheelchair Updates

Mike,

I need a new seatbelt, all four tires, and a new rubber boot for my joystick. Yes, I know about the $135 trip charge. In fact, I believe I’m the one who proposed $135 as a compromise to the original $175.

Scott

Insurance Assistance

I regard hope as a double-edged blade. Yes, real hope can sustain through hardship, but false hope can prolong suffering beyond any realistic chance of recovery. The hardest part is being honest enough to distinguish between the two. I’ve had to do it a time or two so I know how difficult it can be. But then, I also understand that failure to recognize and act upon the difference is really not an option.

I sense that you’re more “progressive” than I am, and that’s fine. It’s considered noble to strive for equality. I’m almost Darwinian in my social view because I don’t see us reaching a post-scarcity society anytime soon, and trying to help the underprivileged in an environment that’s anything less necessarily places an additional burden on society as a whole. We take it on faith that such outreach strengthens society, but Nature and common sense beg to differ. I wouldn’t go to the Nazi extreme of euthanizing the disabled, but where’s any data showing how essentially making disabled people wards of the State benefits anyone besides the bureaucrats? Did you know there are school districts where Special Ed. teachers don’t even teach severely disabled children to read? The teachers say it’s frustrating and pointless, but how the hell are those kids going to be anything other than potted plants without literacy?

I still haven’t told you about my tax situation either. I owe the IRS over $100K all because the Democrats thought it the thing to do to screw certain “fat cat” Republicans who hadn’t been paying the employers’ portion of the Federal Income Tax for their children’s nannies. While it’s colloquially called the “Nanny Tax,” it applies to any domestic employee who isn’t a licensed nurse. I’m just fortunate that the IRS is prohibited from seizing a person’s primary residence or vehicle before they die.

So yes, you may investigate other assistance options as there’s no guarantee my plan is feasible. Just remember that I cannot receive any assistance that could be construed as income or an asset.

From: Michael Wrenn <michael.wrenn@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 9:06
To: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Subject: Re: Insurance Assistance

Scott, I greatly appreciate you sharing your tribulations with me. When I left your home on Monday, I was under the impression that you had given up hope and resigned yourself to an early termination. Now I have a better comprehension of your situation.

I can appreciate your desire to remain independent. It is a proven fact that once a human loses their independence, their mental state and health quickly decline. I certainly do not want to see you come to that end either. I feel that you have plenty of years ahead of you and Good Lord willing, you will be able to stay the manager of your own care. And of course, none of us will live forever, and some of us have no desire to live any longer than necessary. I won’t drag you into my own issues with this world. But those issues are between me and God and the two us will have a long (or short) discussion about WTF was he thinking! (o:

I am willing to help you out in any way that I am able. I’m happy to research more options. I’d like to say that it would be hard to believe that our country doesn’t have assistance for those with your unique disabilities. But then again, this is the American government. If it doesn’t get them re-elected, it’s not important.

So, please don’t give up hope. I’ll continue to keep you and the dogs in my prayers.

At your service,

Michael Wrenn – K5WRN
Sugar Land, Texas USA
michael.wrenn
www.kiltedcowboy.com

http://about.me/michaelwrenn

On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 9:25 PM, Scott Royall <royall> wrote:

Michael,

That is not a question easily answered because there are so many factors involved. On one hand, you don’t want to discourage the friend who is legitimately trying to help. Yet, you also have an obligation to make him understand that so much of the “crap ton of information out there” is completely inapplicable to the specifics of your situation, because you do not want him wasting effort on dead-end rabbit holes.

The crux of the matter is that public assistance programs like Medicare are set up to deal with the typical scenarios. A severally disabled person with high mental function who has a home and is determined to retain what social interactions he has left isn’t typical. We’re probably rare enough to be statistically insignificant so finding assistance that even acknowledges that such a scenario is possible is the first hurdle.

Then there is the question of what type of care is offered. So-called professional caregivers only help with the ADLs, eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring. That’s all Medicare covers, and I certainly need help with them. However, that’s merely existing, not living. Unless I’m prepared to just sit there not going anywhere, watching everything fall apart around me, and my dogs starve, I unfortunately need more assistance than the usual sources provide. This is why it has been so essential that I have managerial authority over my care. I’ve operated this way for thirty years, and I genuinely think it is the only way for someone in my position to have anything like a life.

Although there are other considerations, I’m going to save them. As I said, I have an idea that could more than offset the end of my long-term care insurance. It’s based on the earnings capacities of my parents’ assets. Apparently, they are several times the $55,000 in caregiver expenses I have annually. What I need to do is write a very detailed email to the financial planner and my brother, John, who is basically the trustee. They are largely unaware of the details of my situation, and I first need to confirm my understanding about the earning potential of the assets, and then get John to agree to my plan. That’s going to be a long email so I’m not planning on writing it until June. John has so much else on his mind that I think the email would sink into the noise if I wrote it sooner. As it is, my insurance will last until February. It’s fine with me if you want a copy of the email.

You need to recognize I don’t intend to live forever. I will be satisfied if I stick around long enough to let Leia live out her life. Beyond that doesn’t appeal to me, because I learned very early that group care is dehumanizing no matter how beneficent the intent. I volunteer Leia’s time for pet therapy at a local nursing home, and every session is a stark reminder of why I plan to end my life on my own terms. I definitely don’t plan to hang around long enough to become any more disabled than I already am. If you can accept that and still want to investigate other care options, I appreciate it. Options are good.

Scott

From: Michael Wrenn <michael.wrenn>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:52
To: Scott Royall <royall>
Subject: Insurance Assistance

Good Morning Scott,

I’ve done some cursory research on state and federal assistance. However, there is a crap ton of information out there. So I’d like to know if you are open to allowing me to help you out. If so, I need to know what insurance you currently have, and what avenues you’ve already investigated and the results of said investigations.

Don’t give up. Help is out there.

At your service,

Michael Wrenn – K5WRN
Sugar Land, Texas USA
michael.wrenn
www.kiltedcowboy.com

http://about.me/michaelwrenn

Van

Ah ha, now I get what my poor mother was talking about. In typical male fashion, I didn’t read all of Tim’s last email so I was a little concerned when she talked about me writing a glowing article. Now I understand!

I have no problem writing a positive review on Google, but I have to tell you most guys don’t read reviews. I think it’s the same genes that keep us from reading manuals or asking for directions. In any case, I still think I need to pay more than a measly $350. After all, you read what a tech entered about needing to replace the in-tank fuel pump for 250-350. No doubt that was just for parts. I’m on the fence about whether or not a working gas gauge is worthwhile, but we can talk about the total cost of that repair while I’m paying some more on this epic repair. Let me put it to you this way. I voted for Trump so you can imagine my views on charities and such. Oh, those things have uses, but I’d much rather still be working and earning my keep.

B van

Tim,

Ah. This is always the awkward part where a simple “thank you” seems so woefully inadequate. Yes, I realize you’re not donating labor for the praise, but it’s always comforting to see kindness appreciated. Kindness is becoming almost extinct it seems so we aren’t sure how to respond to it when we do encounter it.

Of course, I will probably still have to pay off the parts bill in installments, but that will be a far smaller mountain to summit. Labor is always at least half of the cost when it comes to tearing down something as complicated as an automatic transmission (I still don’t really understand how they worked long before electronics). Hopefully, I will be able to pay off the parts bill without having to suspend training for my service dog as I would have to to pay off the full bill. Believe me, Leia, my dog, was not going to appreciate that at all!

One other thing, while you have Bessy up on the rack to drop the transmission, would you please check the differential for signs of wear? No, I’m unaware of any issues there, but that’s an area I suspect your techs don’t even think about during the semi-annuals. Let’s face it, my van is nearly as old as some of your techs, and comments are occasionally made that suggest to me that a few haven’t been totally comfortable examining a vehicle that doesn’t have a CAMBus port they can simply plug into. Put another way, it’s comforting knowing my transportation is currently in hands experienced enough to remember life before the mad proliferation of the CAMBus and ECUs with dubious software. J

Scott

From: Caleb Greissman [mailto:caleb.greissman@helfmandodge.com]
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2016 11:05
To: ‘Scott Royall’ <royall@conchbbs.com>
Subject: RE: B van

Scott,

Tim has the job approved and you will only pay for parts (Helfman will donate the labor) and we will overhaul it. I will let you know more as soon as we get the trans torn down. This is excellent news.

Kind Regards,

Caleb Greissman

Helfman DCJR Service Advisor

7720 Katy Freeway

Houston, TX 77024

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2016 2:51 PM
To: ‘Tim McLean’
Cc: caleb.greissman
Subject: RE: B van

Tim,

First, a couple of questions and a request. Does this particular transmission have a PCM? If so, what diagnostic codes is it giving? Also, would Caleb please prepare two estimates, one for replacing the transmission, and one for its overhaul. The final numbers will probably be what determines which course is more feasible.

On one hand, you have a right to know why my payment options are so limited at this point. Yet, one the other, I refuse to use the emotionally manipulative tactics employed by organizations like the ASPCA use in their minute-long commercials featuring animals freezing in the snow. Such blatant manipulation just galls me. Helfman is a business, and businesses have to be paid for services provided. I understand that, but my payment options are going to be severely limited from here on out. There was a time when I could count on financial assistance from the maternal side of my family, but nowadays they struggle to pay for their own caregivers and bills. In a way, I am more fortunate than they are, because my caregivers are paid for from a long-term care insurance policy I was able to enroll in a few years before Shell Oil decided to shift the bulk of its information technology operations to Malaysia. However, that LTC policy runs out of funds in mid-2019 (which tells you why I won’t be needing my van after that point).

The only personal income I have left is Social Security Disability, and that’s under $2K a month. So I can forget the possibility of a bank loan. The van has no resale value left, and I don’t have any other unencumbered collateral. The IRS has a lien on my house because I owe them around $100K in employer taxes (the LTC policy pays for my caregivers, but not the associated employer taxes). About the best I can do is pay Helfman in installments of $400-500 a month, and neither one of us probably has any influence over whether or not they will accept that. Even if they do, it will take me about a year to pay off the bill and interest. We will have to pray that nothing else major breaks in the meantime.

The only other option Helfman has is probably to scrap the van, and I couldn’t really blame them for doing it. I would only ask that the junkyard grant it a quick end in the crusher rather than make it endure a slow demise rusting in a stack of vehicles. Machines aren’t alive, but they sometimes do take on certain traits. This one has served me to the best of its ability for over two decades, enduring far more than you know, so I can’t help the sense that it has earned a quick death.

Hopefully, things won’t come to that for a while, because I really need the van back ASAP. There aren’t any other reasonable options around Houston for a somewhat active disabled person who still needs transportation on short notice.

It is what it is.

Scott

From: Tim McLean [mailto:tmclean]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2016 13:58
To: ‘Scott Royall’ <royall>
Cc: caleb.greissman
Subject: RE: B van

Yes of course .

It looks like KD band material delaminated. There is also a metallic slurry in the fluid.

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:00 PM
To: ‘Tim McLean’ <tmclean>
Cc: caleb.greissman
Subject: RE: B van

Yes, I see the debris. I hope you don’t mind if I use the images to get a second opinion.

I assume the cost of an overhaul is comparable to replacement, right?

From: Tim McLean [mailto:tmclean]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2016 12:14
To: Scott Royall <royall>
Subject: Fwd: B van

Scott I’m sorry for the bad news it’s worse than I expected there’s nothing we can do either has to be overhauled or replaced

B van

Tim,

First, a couple of questions and a request. Does this particular transmission have a PCM? If so, what diagnostic codes is it giving? Also, would Caleb please prepare two estimates, one for replacing the transmission, and one for its overhaul. The final numbers will probably be what determines which course is more feasible.

On one hand, you have a right to know why my payment options are so limited at this point. Yet, one the other, I refuse to use the emotionally manipulative tactics employed by organizations like the ASPCA use in their minute-long commercials featuring animals freezing in the snow. Such blatant manipulation just galls me. Helfman is a business, and businesses have to be paid for services provided. I understand that, but my payment options are going to be severely limited from here on out. There was a time when I could count on financial assistance from the maternal side of my family, but nowadays they struggle to pay for their own caregivers and bills. In a way, I am more fortunate than they are, because my caregivers are paid for from a long-term care insurance policy I was able to enroll in a few years before Shell Oil decided to shift the bulk of its information technology operations to Malaysia. However, that LTC policy runs out of funds in mid-2019 (which tells you why I won’t be needing my van after that point).

The only personal income I have left is Social Security Disability, and that’s under $2K a month. So I can forget the possibility of a bank loan. The van has no resale value left, and I don’t have any other unencumbered collateral. The IRS has a lien on my house because I owe them around $100K in employer taxes (the LTC policy pays for my caregivers, but not the associated employer taxes). About the best I can do is pay Helfman in installments of $400-500 a month, and neither one of us probably has any influence over whether or not they will accept that. Even if they do, it will take me about a year to pay off the bill and interest. We will have to pray that nothing else major breaks in the meantime.

The only other option Helfman has is probably to scrap the van, and I couldn’t really blame them for doing it. I would only ask that the junkyard grant it a quick end in the crusher rather than make it endure a slow demise rusting in a stack of vehicles. Machines aren’t alive, but they sometimes do take on certain traits. This one has served me to the best of its ability for over two decades, enduring far more than you know, so I can’t help the sense that it has earned a quick death.

Hopefully, things won’t come to that for a while, because I really need the van back ASAP. There aren’t any other reasonable options around Houston for a somewhat active disabled person who still needs transportation on short notice.

It is what it is.

Scott

From: Tim McLean [mailto:tmclean@helfmandodge.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2016 13:58
To: ‘Scott Royall’ <royall@conchbbs.com>
Cc: caleb.greissman@helfmandodge.com
Subject: RE: B van

Yes of course .

It looks like KD band material delaminated. There is also a metallic slurry in the fluid.

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:00 PM
To: ‘Tim McLean’ <tmclean>
Cc: caleb.greissman
Subject: RE: B van

Yes, I see the debris. I hope you don’t mind if I use the images to get a second opinion.

I assume the cost of an overhaul is comparable to replacement, right?

From: Tim McLean [mailto:tmclean]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2016 12:14
To: Scott Royall <royall>
Subject: Fwd: B van

Scott I’m sorry for the bad news it’s worse than I expected there’s nothing we can do either has to be overhauled or replaced