Friday, April 25, 2014

Hitching a ride....not as easy as sticking out a thumb...

Since Gary has been going to the C.L.U.B. (Caring, loving, understanding and belonging), I have been taking him to Rancho Cordova Monday through Wednesday.  I take him in the morning and pick him up at 2:30.  All these days he has gone back to the college with me and sits where ever he can and reads motivational/inspirational books.  This is not a perfect situation because he often gets antsy around 5:30 or 6:00 and I am not necessarily ready to end my day.  We are now in budget season and things can get pretty intense.

About eight weeks ago I applied for him to get a ride on the Paratransit bus which picks up other CLUB members and takes them home.  Part of that paperwork had to be taken to Gary's doctor at Kaiser to verify that he is disabled. We had to wait for Kaiser to send the paperwork to Paratransit and for them to process.  Finally, about four weeks ago, the approval came in the mail.  I was so excited until I read the welcome letter.  It said he was unconditionally approved for a ride daily from any location in that region but the bus would not bring him home.  We live in a different city.   We had to apply to a totally different region for a second vehicle, E-Van, to pick him up half way and deliver him home.  Of course, the paperwork started over.....

So, we made another trip to Kaiser to drop off the paperwork and waited on them to mail the application to E-Van.  Two days ago, we received a second letter from a transportation company unconditionally approving Gary for transportation anywhere in the region as long as a reservation is made 24 hours in advance.  Sounds simple.  Sure.

On my lunch break yesterday, I sat down with all the paperwork and called Paratransit to ask a few questions and make Gary's first reservation for a ride home on Monday.  After being put on hold for ten minutes, the voicemail came on and said someone would call me back shortly.  Twenty minutes later the phone rang and it was a very helpful woman who explained how everything would work BUT, I had to call E-Van first since they would pick him up at the drop off point (Target).  I needed to make that reservation first, so Paratransit would know what time to pick up Gary at the CLUB.  REALLY??

OK. I called E-Van and got the same pleasant voicemail telling me they would return my call.  Three hours later, someone called. I explained the situation with the inter-region need and that I was calling to make a first reservation.  They gave me the time and pick up point and said, "This is for tomorrow, correct?"  "No, it is for Monday through Wednesday."  "Sorry, ma'am but we cannot take a reservation closer than 48 hours ahead. You will have to call back on Saturday. Also, make sure you buy a $125 monthly pass or have $7.50 cash on hand for each ride."

I asked if Paratransit was the same way and they replied that was standard practice and they do not take multiple reservations...for every reservation, we need to call 48 hours in advance. 

Find the positive Ada......find the positive in every situation.  So, that would be....I am thankful we live in a country that has special transportation for disabled people.  I am thankful that he has somewhere to go three days per week.  I am thankful for my job.  I am thankful for my husband.  I am thankful that he knows me and loves me. 

We'll see how his first experience goes on Monday.  After all, if one bus drops him off too soon, he will need to wait at the stop until the other bus arrives.  He will remember that, right?  Thank you, God, for resources.

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