Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Power to Ya

The panic call came Friday night. “We’re 70 miles from home and we forgot my husband’s power cord for his power chair.”

Our clients (we’ll call them Mary and Al) were overnighting in Baltimore and then flying to Houston Hobby Airport the next morning where they were going to overnight again before transferring to the port of Galveston to board Voyager of the Seas on Sunday. The added overnight stay in Texas before the cruise buys time (thankfully).

What are the options? Should they have someone break into their house to get the power cord and have it overnighted to the Houston hotel? Should they go out at night in an unknown city to a medical supply company if there’s even one open on a Friday night? Or do they risk waiting until they get settled in Houston and try to get to a medical supply company that’s open on a Saturday? Perhaps we should see if a medical equipment rental company can deliver one to the ship?

How long will Al’s power chair operate without a charge?

Granted, some of the options are better than others. Having someone break into my home wouldn’t be top on my list. But at that time, we’re considering options. I call the hotel which gives me the name and phone number of a local medical supply company. They don’t answer their phone. I use the hotel’s zip code along with “medical equipment rental” to search on the internet for additional companies.

Mike answers at the fifth company I call, Northshore Medical Supply. I explain to him that Al needs a two-prong power cord for his Invacare power chair and that these are clients who will be traveling through Houston on their way to a cruise.

Mike explains that the power cord needed for this and many (but not all) newer scooters and power chairs are the same power cords sold in office supply stores for tower “desktop” computers.

He sounds very familiar with power cords, but 30 years of often misquoted information tends to make me a bit skittish so I ask about their Saturday hours and location “just in case,” but Mike assures me that it will be much closer and therefore a lower taxi cost if Mary runs out to the closest office supply store once they get settled at their hotel.

I call the client back and relay the good news about how the cord is a much more available item than many of us realize. And I give her the “back-up plan” which is to arm her with Northshore’s telephone number, address and Saturday hours. I think they are happy that our Access Travel Team has a specialist monitor messages during “off times” when we have clients traveling.

I was happy to call Mike yesterday to thank him. Word got back to us that the clients obtained a power cord and were ready to have an incredible week of pampering.

If you are ever in need of buying or renting equipment in Houston or you need equipment repaired, I’d suggest contacting
Northshore Medical Supply at northshoremedicalsupply@gmail.com or 713-451-4462. They seem like a service-oriented family business. Oh yeah- they are open until 4pm on Saturdays and they’re about 15 miles from Hobby Airport.

~ Connie
and the Access Travel Team