As a pulmonary fibrosis patient, being on supplemental oxygen 24/7 is quite a challenge. There is a lot to adjust being tied to a cannula all the time, which I’ve written about in a prior column. There are also lots of challenges when dealing with our oxygen providers, as we rely on them to provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe.
Over the last three years of being on supplemental oxygen, I’ve learned a few things about keeping my oxygen provider happy. Why, you ask? Shouldn’t they be worried about keeping me happy? Well, yes — but this is the real world.
Most providers have a difficult job
They don’t make a lot of money on their contracts, and most of their customers are mad at them. The drivers are often given way more deliveries to make than possible. This results in them being late and most of their customers being mad at them.
I decided early on that my goal was to keep both the office staff and drivers happy. These are the people I want on my side. Over time, I began to do things to let them know I appreciate them. I truly do. There are lots of things my husband and I can do to provide for the special needs I have as a PF patient. However, getting oxygen delivered to my home is one thing I must rely on my oxygen provider for.
Here’s what I do:
I have treats and a cold drink for my drivers
I use liquid oxygen, and my drivers have to haul three 160-pound tanks up six steps every week into my home. They are given way too many deliveries to handle and are exhausted. It is common for them to injure their backs hauling these tanks. I always thank them and do not complain if they are late. They are doing the best they can, and I appreciate them. They like me a lot because I don’t chew them out — which happens with some other customers. They, in turn, go out of their way to help me.
I thank the office staff anytime they help me
There are constantly things I need help with from my oxygen provider. I recently had to get a third liquid oxygen tank and some supplies. I made sure to thank the gal who helped me via email and cc’d her boss. I can tell they don’t get much encouragement, and always appreciate being thanked.
I send a thank-you email to the corporate office
I do this via the “contact me” form on their website anytime an employee goes out of their way for me. There have been times I needed extra help while traveling, had trouble with equipment, or had other oxygen-related issues. I compliment the employee by name and share exactly how they helped me. The corporate office is used to getting complaints, and a thank-you stands out.
The wonderful result of all this is that they get a little bit of encouragement, and I get good service. It’s a win-win. Now, you may not have trouble with your oxygen provider, but these principles ring true for those who help you in other areas, such as doctors and caregivers. We all need encouragement and appreciation for what we do.
I’d love to hear from you!
What jumped out at you from this column? What do you do to encourage your oxygen provider, doctors, or caregivers? What kind of a difference have you seen it make? Is there anything you’d like to stop doing?
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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.
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