Last summer (sometime in July 2006) I completed the forms required to re-register for our provincial MCP (medical care plan).
At that time, I couldn’t find Katherine’s MCP card. In fact, I’m not sure she ever actually had one. I know she had a hospital card (got one when she was born) and was registered with MCP, but I’m pretty certain that we never had an actual physical card for her.
Anyway, as I said, I was filling out the forms and couldn’t find her card. So I dialed the handy-dandy number provided and asked the kind and harried folks on the line what I should do.
“Just fill in what you do have,” they said, “we’ll call you to straighten out any problems.”
Is it just me, or do other people have twitching spasms when someone in government says to wait for a call?
So I waited. In March 2007, I had heard nothing and was somewhat worried. Maybe my application had gotten lost? Maybe I was legally dead? Who knew what could be up.
I saw that the application deadline had been pushed back to July 2007, so I figured they were both inundated with applications and had completely lost track of the entire system. So I called.
“We’re still processing applications. There’s a backlog…..” silence.
“But I submitted in July of last year…?”
“A…… well…… a somewhat large backlog.”
And we left it at that. It’s May now. I just checked the mail and found a letter with two cards, mine and John’s. There was a note saying that Katherine’s hadn’t been processed because the date I listed for her birth date didn’t match their records.
I double-checked and, sure enough, I had miswritten her date of birth. Don’t ask me how I did it or why. All I knew was that a wave of nausea, the kind that precedes dealing with large, unwieldy bureaucracies, was washing over me, dragging a pounding headache along with it.
To remedy this situation, the letter continued, I was to provide an original copy of her birth certificate as well as copies of all correspondence to MCP. Never mind that they had actually filled in the correct birth date on the form. Never mind that we are the ONLY Taylor-Hood family in the country. Never mind that they were the ones that filled in the actual MCP number for Katherine on the form. They sent me an edited copy, you see. Complete, with the information I’d left out or gotten wrong penned in.
So I phoned, hoping against all hope that I wouldn’t have to spend a year in vital stats and $20 getting a new birth certificate.
“No ma’am, you have to return the correspondence with the birth certificate. An original birth certificate.”
We bandied back and forth briefly over the wherefores and whys of how one department couldn’t get that information from another until she finally passed the buck, “Maybe you’d better talk to The Supervisor.”
The Supervisor wasn’t in, so I left a brief message admitting that I was a complete tool for miswriting my daughter’s birth date and wasn’t there some sneaky, underhanded beaurocratic way around this without not making boneheads like me wade through the governmental quagmire that is Paperwork?
Five minutes later, a chuckling fellow calls and says just to send back the form, complete with note about the mistake made and they’d fix it, sans birth certificate. There were no sneaky tricks that would work in this particular quagmire, he declaimed. Quite nobly, he refrained from confirming my status as bonehead.
If I wanted, he mentioned casually, I could drop over to their office and they’d fix it on the spot tomorrow and print off my card right then and there. They rarely have a line-up and it’d take about five minutes.
Apparently this happens dozens upon dozens of times a day.
Today’s lesson, boys and girls, is always deal with a supervisor in any situation that isn’t completely, 100% normal. The drones will kill you every time.